The city of Ferguson, Missouri, has been on the national radar since the shooting of unarmed teen Michael Brown by former Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson this past August. The resulting protests and rioting has caused a serious budget crisis in the city as police and fire services were deployed. The city has responded to this crisis by ordering the police to write more tickets and make more arrests.
Ferguson’s finance director, Jeffrey Blume stated, “There are a number of things going on in 2014 and one is a revenue shortfall that we anticipate making up in 2015. There’s about a million dollar increase in public safety fines to make up the difference.”
This directive to make up for millions in lost revenue is sure to inflame already tense emotions regarding policing in the majority minority city. In 2013 alone, the city of Ferguson earned $2,635,400 in municipal court fines. The breakdown on this revenue comes from Ferguson courts’ handling of 12,108 cases and 24,532 warrants in 2013. That means on average, there were one and a half cases and three warrants per Ferguson household. The new directive will surely increase this amount.