Florissant, a St. Louis suburb, will pay nearly $3 million to settle a lawsuit accusing it of violating the constitutional rights of residents by jailing them and forcing them to pay fines and fees amounting to millions of dollars, often for minor traffic violations, the AP reports. The settlement was approved by a federal judge on Tuesday; it resolves a class-action lawsuit filed in 2016.
Florissant was among several St. Louis County cities whose policing and court practices were scrutinized after the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown, 18, in nearby Ferguson. Funds from the Florissant settlement will be distributed among more than 85,000 people who were jailed or fined between Oct. 31, 2011, and Feb. 1, 2023. The settlement requires Florissant to forgive unpaid fees from traffic violations between Oct. 31, 2011, and Dec. 31, 2019, and to take other steps, including ensuring the right to an attorney for anyone brought before a municipal judge.