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"The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund is simply the best civil rights law firm in American history." -- President Obama

LDF's Cristian Farias: Baltimore Cannot Reform its Police Alone

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Sessions has acted on that belief by trying to scuttle police reform in Baltimore. The city, its mayor, and police commissioner had implored the Department of Justice in October 2014 to assist them with their troubled police department, and the Obama administration responded with a damning federal investigation and a mutually agreed consent decree. All that was left was for a judge to hold a hearing and sign off on the path forward, but on the eve of that hearing last April, Sessions’s lawyers insisted the government needed more time to review these measures. At the hearing, John Gore, the federal government’s acting civil rights chief, told the court that Sessions had “some grave concerns” about whether going ahead with a court-enforced reform plan was in Baltimore’s best interests.

But in Baltimore, where officials had already lost control of their police department, U.S. District Judge James Bredar was having none of it. “The problems that necessitate this consent decree are urgent,” the judge wrote in an order in April. “The parties have agreed on a detailed and reasonable approach to solving them. Now, it is time to enter the decree and thereby require all involved to get to work on repairing the many fractures so poignantly revealed by the record.” 

The rot in the Baltimore Police Department is well documented. A 164-page reportfrom the Justice Department in August 2016 chronicled how for years its police officers abused the public’s trust—as well as their right to be free from unjustified stops, from the needless use of force, and from discrimination on account of their race, socioeconomic status, or the neighborhood where they lived. By enforcing the consent decree, Judge Bredar heard Baltimore’s cry for help.

Read the full article here.