Baltimore residents tell federal judge they're all for police reform
Apr 09 2017 by Larry Hoffman
Mr. Gray's death in police custody likely was the result of injuries he sustained after officers did not buckle his seatbelt after arresting him and placing him in the back of their van. A judge on Wednesday, April 5, 2017, denied a request to delay the hearing, calling the Trump administration's request a "burden and inconvenience".
"Justice delayed is justice denied", said Kevin Parson, invoking the words of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.to criticize the Department of Justice's attempt to delay the decree.
Speaking on behalf of the city's mayor and city council, Acting Baltimore City Solicitor David Ralph called the agreement "fair and reasonable" and "a heavily negotiated document". Officers are outfitted with body-worn cameras, the use-of-force policy has been updated and recruits are required to undergo twice the number of training hours mandated by the state.
The National Fraternal Order of Police said it a statement that it was unhappy with the judge's decision to move forward.
Vanita Gupta, the former head of the DOJ's Civil Rights Division, accused the Baltimore Police Department of unconstitutional and discriminatory practices in August after a yearlong probe.
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.
"I'm very heartened to see that the new attorney general, Sessions, is taking a look at the Obama-era consent decrees and the burdensome issue that they have placed on those police departments", Sutton tells OneNewsNow.
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A Baltimore judge heard from concerned citizens, the police department and the Trump DOJ as to whether the Baltimore police should go ahead with the reforms, reports the Associated Press.
"This decree was negotiated during a rushed process by the previous administration and signed only days before they left office", he said.
"I have grave concerns that some provisions of this decree will reduce the lawful powers of the police department and result in a less safe city". There were tales of children killed, domestic violence survivors living in fear - and of those with mental-health challenges being abused by Baltimore police.
Next, an independent monitor must be chosen to oversee the consent decree.
While Gore acknowledged the "crucial need for police reform and for restoring public confidence in law enforcement in Baltimore", he nevertheless said the department was looking into whether there are "better ways" to achieve those goals.
"The decree may not be what some people want, but it is a good faith step in the right direction", he said.
The Obama administration entered into several agreements with police departments across the country, including those in Ferguson, Missouri, and Cleveland, to improve the relationship between law enforcement and their communities.