JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Today, Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt announced that his lawsuit with the city of Diamond has been resolved. Schmitt filed the lawsuit against the city of Diamond in April, alleging that members of the city’s police force were enforcing a traffic ticket quota in order to generate more revenue for the city. The settlement agreement stipulates that the city of Diamond will have to implement internal policies and procedures to ensure compliance in the future, and host a mandatory training for the mayor, members of the board of aldermen, and the chief of police regarding the requirements of relevant state statutes.
“One of my most important actions as a State Senator was to help pass Senate Bill 5 and curb taxation by citation, an abusive and overreaching practice. Today, one of my most important duties as Attorney General is to enforce all laws of the state of Missouri, including Senate Bill 5, to ensure that Missourians aren’t being treated as ATMs,” said Schmitt. “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. This lawsuit and resolution should send a clear message to cities and municipalities: my office will be vigilant in ending taxation by citation — we will not hesitate to take action.”
In early April, Schmitt filed a lawsuit against the city of Diamond for allegedly enforcing a ticket quota to generate revenue. In pictures taken by a whistleblower familiar with the operations of the city of Diamond and obtained by the Missouri Attorney General’s Office, instructions on a whiteboard in the city of Diamond Police Department’s office read: “We R $5,000 B hind issue some tickets RFN (RFN meaning ‘right [expletive] now’).” An additional message on the whiteboard read “way behind on highway safety enforcement.”
In the settlement agreement resolving the lawsuit, the city of Diamond admits to the enforcement of a ticket quota. The agreement states, “WHEREAS, the City of Diamond admits 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 Missouri Revised Statutes Sections 304.125 and 575.320.1(6).”
The settlement agreement stipulates that the city of Diamond is required to implement policies or other operating rules to ensure the city is in compliance with Sections 304.125 and 575.320.1(6) RSMo.. The Attorney General’s Office is working diligently with the city of Diamond to ensure that compliance is created and certified in a timely matter.
Additionally, the agreement mandates the city of Diamond to develop and operate a training program to inform participants both of the legal requirements of 304.125 and 575.320.1(6), RSMo, and the requirements and purpose of Senate Bill 5 in 2015, Senate Bill 572 in 2016, and Senate Bill 765 in 2016. The mayor, the board of aldermen, and the chief of police are required to attend the training. The training must be developed and implemented by July 29, 2019, and certification of completion must be presented to the Attorney General’s Office by August 12, 2019.
The settlement agreement can be found here.