Read the PDF of our statement here.
LDF Statement on Proposed Independent Monitor Team for Baltimore Consent Decree
Yesterday, the federal judge overseeing the policing reform agreement between the city of Baltimore, the Baltimore Police Department, and the U.S. Justice Department issued an order requesting a meeting with the proposed independent monitor team that will help the court ensure that the city complies with the agreement. The parties proposed a hybrid of two monitor teams – Exiger/21st Century Policing, LLP and Venable – and added the Baltimore Community Mediation Center, a Baltimore-based organization, which offers mediation services to persons who file complaints against police. Monique Dixon, Deputy Director of Policy and Senior Counsel at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) issued the following statement in response:
“We are eager for city officials to move forward with carrying out the extensive list of policing reforms required by the consent decree, however, the monitor team assembled for this process raises some important concerns that we encourage the court to address. We note, for example, that 40 percent of the 22-member independent monitor team is comprised of former law enforcement officials, a high percentage compared to teams assembled in other cities such as Seattle and Cleveland.
“It is also unclear what steps the Baltimore Community Mediation Center will take to monitor the community engagement mandates of the agreement. We urge the parties and judge to continue to work toward building a more diverse independent monitor team with a clear plan for regular community communication and engagement. Before this process proceeds to the next phase, we encourage the court to fully brief residents on how the independent monitor team will fairly evaluate implementation of each required reform, and provide residents with a plan for ongoing participation in the process.
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Founded in 1940, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) is the nation’s first civil and human rights law organization and has been completely separate from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) since 1957—although LDF was originally founded by the NAACP and shares its commitment to equal rights. LDF’s Thurgood Marshall Institute is a multi-disciplinary and collaborative hub within LDF that launches targeted campaigns and undertakes innovative research to shape the civil rights narrative. In media attributions, please refer to us as the NAACP Legal Defense Fund or LDF.