Baltimore residents call on judge to approve police reforms decree

Freddie Gray

Freddie Gray

As expected, Sessions took a major step toward dismantling another piece of the Obama administration's legacy recently when he ordered an extensive review of all federal agreements negotiated by the Department of Justice to reform troubled law enforcement agencies.

The consent decree had been signed in the final days of the Obama administration, which viewed federal oversight of local police departments as a priority. This puts Sessions at odds with the Baltimore Police Commissioner and the city's mayor, both of whom are highly supportive of the consent decree and spoke out against a possible delay in implementing it.

Department lawyers asked the United States district court in Baltimore to put off approving the consent decree for at least 30 days so the new administration could review it.

A federal judge on Friday signed a Baltimore police consent decree mandating police reform. Thanks to Messrs. Cardin, Van Hollen and Ruppersberger for resisting President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee and other items in his agenda. The Obama Justice Department opened roughly two dozen investigations into police departments and 14 of them ended in consent decrees, in citieslike Chicago; Ferguson, Missouri; Miami; Cleveland; Albuquerque, N.M.; and Newark, N.J.

Baltimore Solicitor David Ralph said Thursday that the plan was created to help police fight crime while also protecting residents' rights and repairing trust between the community and the department. But the locals, in this case, have embraced the DOJ consent decree, which came about as a result of intense civil unrest following the death of Freddie Gray in police custody and a devastating report, produced by investigators in the DOJ's Civil Rights Division, on unconstitutional policing in Baltimore. "The citizens of Baltimore deserve to see a real and lasting reduction in the fast-rising violent crime threatening their city".

He also said Attorney General Jeff Sessions is concerned over whether the decree "will achieve the goals of public safety and law enforcement while at the same time protecting civil rights".

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".

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Kenji Scott, a longtime community activist, asked the court to delay the implementation of the consent decree.

They argued the decree would make effective policing more hard, but city officials and police want to move forward with it to improve trust with the community. Gray's death prompted protests and rioting throughout the city.

"I'm not interested in having any delay tactics from having it move forward, and I think this is just a delay tactic until it dies", said Lauren Redmond, a city resident.

Gene Ryan, president of the Baltimore police union, has complained that the agreement was rushed and that the union wasn't involved enough in the negotiations.

The National Fraternal Order of Police said it a statement that it was unhappy with the judge's decision to move forward.

The consent decree to reform the Baltimore Police Department requires better handling of calls for people in distress. Neither Trump nor Sessions will let something as trivial as the Constitution get in the way of police officers' ability to operate with impunity. "Like I always say, I want Officer Friendly to come back", Johnson said.

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