DOJ has 'grave concerns' over Baltimore police reform plan

DOJ has 'grave concerns' over Baltimore police reform plan

The Justice Department told US District Court Judge James Bredar in court Thursday that Attorney General Jeff Sessions had "grave concerns" about the proposed decree and asked for 30 days to review.

(CNN) - A federal judge in Baltimore on Thursday heard nearly four hours of public testimony from dozens of passionate voices, almost all with an identical message for the court: sign off on sweeping police reforms now.

"The primary goal of this hearing is to hear from the public; it would be especially inappropriate to grant this late request for a delay when it would be the public who were most adversely affected by a postponement", he wrote.

A surge in filings under President Obama means there are 14 active consent decrees, and more investigations underway. They shouldn't be. Consent decrees provide training and tools that help officers do their jobs more safely and professionally. The constitutional and civil rights of those they are sworn to protect and serve?

In their written comments, residents largely expressed support for the consent decree and reforms to the police department.

The mayor and police chief in Baltimore say they are committed to better policing and that there should be no delay to review this decree, but there are clear departures from many proven principles of good policing that we fear will result in more crime.

Acting City Solicitor David Ralph heads to federal court to oppose the Justice Department's motion seeking to "pause" the Baltimore police reform consent decree.

Initial agreement between the Obama DOJ and Baltimore police was reached in January, following the April 2015 police-involved death of Freddie Gray, which sparked days of Black Lives Matter protests and civil unrest in the Charm City.

Gray's death was one of several incidents in the last few years in US cities, such as Ferguson, Missouri, that sparked racial tensions and a nationwide debate about law enforcement.

More news: Lawyers: Don't rush Arkansas executions decision

That decision alarmed civil rights advocates anxious that Sessions and U.S. President Donald Trump might pull back on efforts to curb police abuse.

That consent order brought improvement, reform and greater transparency to the State Police, before it was eventually dissolved in 2009. T.J. Smith, a spokesman for the Baltimore Police Department, echoed that sentiment in a statement to the media.

Baltimore's solicitor David Ralph said at a public hearing on Thursday that when the city, police department and federal government negotiated the plan, it was created to fight crime and protect civil rights. And Bredar said it would be "problematic" to delay the agreement.

Booker, a former mayor of Newark, saw firsthand the effects of such consent decrees.

Many of us continue to understand the role of the police. Last year, the Justice Department published a scathing report outlining widespread abuse including excessive force, unlawful stops and discriminatory practices.

"I'm afraid the consequences are worse when the police are present and that's not healthy for me and my family", she said, also supporting the consent decree.

Sessions' statement suggests he is wary of the comprehensive oversight of the city's police department mandated by the decree.

"The consent decree needs to be passed for us to feel we can call on the Baltimore Police Department without them making us into the criminals when we are the victims", Shane-jah McCaffity, a black high school student, said.

Related Articles

  • Bulls early surprise of playoffs after taking 2 at Boston

    CELTICS GUARD Isaiah Thomas said the days since his younger sister was killed in a auto crash have been the hardest of his life. But perhaps the most encouraging sign for the Bulls is that the Three Alphas played with chemistry and consistency in Game 2.
    Nintendo Discontinues NES Classic Edition Globally

    Nintendo Discontinues NES Classic Edition Globally

    The console was great, as the gamer did not have to worry about any software update, day-one patches or compatibility issues. Presumably, it would be tiny like the NES Classic Edition - a smaller, near-identical version of the original hardware.

    Mark Hamill: Carrie Fisher Star Wars tribute is 'therapy'

    The actress won't be recreated digitally, but unfortunately, that also means Leia Organa won't be a part of the story. With that said, here is everything we learned about Star Wars: The Last Jedi at Star Wars Celebration.
  • Real, Atletico Madrid renew Champions League hostilities

    Real, Atletico Madrid renew Champions League hostilities

    The reigning European champions Real Madrid will play city rivals Atletico Madrid in the Champions League semifinals. Monaco last met Juve in the quarter-finals of the 2014-15 season, where the Turin side ran out 1-0 aggregate winners.

    Massive US bomb death toll rises to 94

    But former President Hamid Karzai accused the United States of using Afghanistan as "a testing ground for new and unsafe weapons". He also said that the operations were being conducted with care taken to prevent civilian casualties.
    Real Madrid ace Gareth Bale ruled out Bayern Munich clash

    Real Madrid ace Gareth Bale ruled out Bayern Munich clash

    Real last kept a clean sheet against minnows Alaves on April 2 and have not looked solid at the back all season. Bayern has only managed two wins in 12 matches against Madrid at the Bernabeu.
  • Oil falls after failed N Korean missile test, U.S.  rig count gains

    Oil falls after failed N Korean missile test, U.S. rig count gains

    With European growth still "anemic", she said the US market is one of the main contributing factors to the price of oil. Prices lost 53 cents to US$52.65 yesterday, the lowest close since April 7.
    International Monetary Fund  ups forecast for Kazakhstan's GDP growth

    International Monetary Fund ups forecast for Kazakhstan's GDP growth

    Also forecast to contract is Kuwait - by 0.2 per cent, compared with a previous forecast of 2.6 per cent growth. However, Obstfeld said the global economy seems to be gaining momentum.

    Russia Relations May Be At An 'All-Time Low'

    But he said Moscow and Washington had agreed to continue co-operating to try to find a political solution for Syria. Lavrov said he emphasized the need for a wide-ranging OPCW probe during Wednesday's talks in Moscow with U.S.
  • Google reportedly building ad-blocker into Chrome

    Google reportedly building ad-blocker into Chrome

    Chrome already blocks window-spawning pop-up ads, but the move to block even more ads would still be a counter-intuitive one. Google experimented with generating income without showing display and banner ads on publisher sites in the United States.

    Russia- 'Trump is more impulsive and unpredictable' than NK

    Trump recalled former President Bill Clinton and former President Barack Obama's efforts to deal with the North, pointing out that they've "all been outplayed" by Kim dynasty.
    Cleveland shooter Steve Stephens could be in MI , according to police

    Cleveland shooter Steve Stephens could be in MI , according to police

    In the video , Stephens said he snapped because of a woman, and then later claimed to have killed more than a dozen other people. They had no comment on the search in Philadelphia, other than to say every lead is being followed to find Stephens.