Published: Fri, April 21, 2017
National | By Traci Kelley

Trump objections don't stop overhaul of Baltimore police

Trump objections don't stop overhaul of Baltimore police

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.

Around a dozen metropolitan police departments were pushed into such agreements during the previous administration of president Barack Obama, amid a surge of police shootings of unarmed black men.

But Chicago had a crime problem long before talk of consent decrees. "He had to relieve himself right in front of them", Harris said.

A government attorney weighed in on the proposed consent decree at a public hearing Thursday as about 50 Baltimore residents lined up to endorse the reforms and complain of deep-seated racism, abuse and deadly force at the hands of the police.

"With Judge Bredar's signature on the Baltimore police consent decree, the City of Baltimore will continue to move forward in reforming the Baltimore Police Department and building the bond of trust that must exist between the community and our police officers". 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. Gray's death ignited the worst rioting in Baltimore in decades.

The stand represents the start of what appears to be a retreat by President Donald Trump's administration from the federal consent decrees that have been put in place in several US cities in recent years to root out racism, excessive force and other abuses against minorities.

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That consent order brought improvement, reform and greater transparency to the State Police, before it was eventually dissolved in 2009. Hundreds of Baltimore residents are expected to show up to offer commentary, critiques and recommendations regarding a proposed agreement to overhaul the city's troubled police force.

"These lawsuits undermine the respect for police officers and create an impression that the entire department is not doing their work consistent with fidelity to law and fairness, and we need to be careful before we do that", he said during his Senate confirmation hearing. Obviously we are going to do everything we can to push it down the road that more accurately reflects the idea of being accountable to community.

Sessions went on to cite a spike in violent crime and homicides in the majority-black city, and he questioned whether the mayor and police commissioner were serious enough about reform.

Gore argued on behalf of the agency's motion for a 90-day pause in the consent decree process, a delay he said was needed to fully review it.

"Baltimore can not flourish without effective and lawful policing, and this consent decree represents the first step towards that reality", Sherrilyn Ifill, president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund said in a statement. Claiming the decree would make the city less safe, Sessions' efforts were akin to the lame I know what's good for you better than you do argument.

The attorney general said the consent decree was rushed and could hinder Baltimore police from doing their job as they try to stem a rise in violent crime.

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