DIAMOND, Mo. — A state lawsuit against the city of Diamond alleging the imposition of a traffic ticket quota has been settled.
Attorney General Eric Schmitt announced the settlement Tuesday in a press release. Officials with the city of Diamond could not be reached for comment Tuesday afternoon.
According to the settlement, the city of Diamond "admitted that certain actions taken by its chief of police constitute having a policy requiring or encouraging employees to issue a certain number of citations for traffic violations" in violation of state law. The settlement requires the city to:
• Immediately comply with a recently passed law that bans such ticket quota programs. It was to provide documentation of compliance on Monday.
• Have its mayor, board of aldermen and chief of police attend a training program about the law's legal requirements, with a deadline of implementation on July 29. Documentation of the program's completion is due by Aug. 12.
• Be subject to fines of $100 a day for every day the city does not comply with the law.
The law at the center of the suit was one that Schmitt said he helped pass as a state senator in 2015, according to the release. That bill, passed in the wake of protests in Ferguson over the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown, banned the establishment of any program that called for a ticket quota to raise revenue for a city.
"One of my most important actions as a state senator was to help pass Senate Bill 5 and curb taxation by citation," Schmitt said in the press release. "I'm optimistic that this settlement agreement and mandatory actions will ensure that citizens of the city of Diamond will not be used solely to generate revenue for the city in the future."
Schmitt filed the lawsuit in March against the city after a whistleblower contacted the attorney general. The whistleblower sent photos of a message allegedly written by Chief Michael Jones on a whiteboard in the police station. The message said municipal revenue was behind by $5,000 and instructed officers to immediately "issue some tickets."
The whistleblower also reported that Jones listed the ticket counts of individual officers and "followed up with officers" for not issuing enough, and that Jones sent regular reports of ticket counts from individual officers to Mayor Brenda Schmitt (no relation to Eric Schmitt) and City Council members.