Federal judge approves Baltimore police consent decree

Federal judge approves Baltimore police consent decree

The Trump Justice Department expressed "grave concerns" about an agreement the Obama administration reached with the city of Baltimore to overhaul its police department in the wake of the racially explosive Freddie Gray case. The Trump administration had asked Bredar to delay signing the decree to give them more time to review the plan created to root out racist practices in Baltimore's police department.

He says everything was about race to Holder, and he used the department to root out what he perceived as racism within law enforcement with a vengeance.

The court's approval of the consent decree drew praise from the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, which had requested the court's permission to intervene if the Justice Department walked away from the consent decree. I welcome this consent decree because it is a step in a positive direction. "And though some might think these two things are opposed; they are not", Ralph said Thursday.

Baltimore city and police officials support the proposed agreement, while the National Fraternal Order of Police said Justice officials needed more time to review it.

Lawyers representing the city of Baltimore as well as the Baltimore police department filed a motion opposing the DOJ's request, arguing it "would only serve to undermine, not build, public trust in the reform process".

Baltimore is far from the only city whose law enforcement agency was subject to federal litigation and reform under Lynch. Since the mid-1990s, the Department of Justice has signed 40-some agreements to reform police agencies, including Seattle, Portland and Los Angeles. He said that he had come to see their usefulness in making justice equal for everyone, and making the city police department more effective in fighting crime.

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The ruling found similar discrimination in five other counties across the state: Dallas, Bexar, el Paso, Nueces, and bell. The panel included two Republican appointees.

The hearing was an opportunity for the public to have its say, and almost 50 community members stepped forward to tell their stories.

Indeed, it is unclear just how many of those consent decrees already finalized could be affected by the Sessions-ordered reviews. Last year, the Justice Department published a scathing report outlining widespread abuse including excessive force, unlawful stops and discriminatory practices.

Almost all residents who testified Thursday voiced strong support for the consent decree and urged the judge to sign it swiftly.

Many of these agreements were part of reform efforts crafted in places where there have been problematic shootings in recent years involving police officers and unarmed black men. New mayor Catherine Pugh campaigned around the idea, as did almost every other major candidate, and new police commissioner Kevin Davis is a reform supporter as well.

"While the Department of Justice continues to fully support police reform in Baltimore, I have grave concerns that some provisions of this decree will reduce the lawful powers of the police department and result in a less safe city", Sessions said in a Friday statement. "The simple answer to both questions is 'yes.' It is clear that the requirements of the consent decree dramatically changed the culture of the Bureau of Police".

The DOJ, now under Trump-appointee Sessions, had sought to delay or modify the 227-page decree, which sets out extensive regulations of police conduct and calls for a "Community Oversight Taskforce" to monitor officers throughout Baltimore.

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