Black Politics

Trump’s Objections Won’t Stop Regulation of the Baltimore Police Department

BY: DANIEL PETERSON

Just recently a federal judge passed an agreement negotiated during Obama’s administration to regulate the troubled Baltimore police force, and ignoring objections from Trump’s Justice Department.

Jeff Sessions –President Trump’s attorney general, quickly warned that, that agreement might result in “a less secure city.”

The so-called consent decree was signed by James Bredar –a U.S. District Judge, a day after a hearing to appealing comments from Baltimore residents, who called the plan “detailed, comprehensive and precise.”

At the initial hearing, a Justice Department attorney showed “grave concerns” about the policy, aimed at eliminating racist practices.

This consent decree was discussed during the last days of the Obama’s administration following a federal investigation that found extreme abuse by Baltimore police, like the use of excessive force against African-Americans and unlawful stops.

The act was motivated by Freddie Gray’s death (at 25)  in 2015, a black man who had his neck broken during an unstable ride in the back of police’s van after he had been left unbuckled. Gray’s death resulted in the worst rioting ever in Baltimore.

In a recent memo made public, the Trump Justice Department said that it might retreat from the consent decrees, which have been adopted over the past few months in cities like New Jersey, Miami-Cleveland; Missouri; Ferguson, and Newark.

Jeff said in a statement that the Baltimore agreement indicates “clear departures from many proven and adopted principles of good policing something we fear will increase crime rates.”

He added. “While the Justice Department continues to fully backup police reform in Baltimore, I‘ve grave concerns that some of the provisions of this kind will reduce the police department’s lawful powers and result in a more unsafe city.”

The City officials, including Kevin Davis–the Police Commissioner, have shown their support for this agreement.

Mayor Catherine Pugh disagreed with the notion that the decree will harm the war against crime.

“I believe it makes Baltimore safer,” Catherine adds. “I think by training and building our police officers in ways to work with our communities, to de-escalate violence, have the right kind of tools, and to have cultural diversity training, they need to understand what they can do in some regions of our community … I think that it has improved policing.”

The rate of homicide in Baltimore immediately hiked following the riots over Gray’s death.

However, the soaring crime rate hasn’t reduced. In the first quarter of 2017, Baltimore recorded 79 homicides, higher than 56 for the same period in last year.

Baltimore’s agreement advocates for additional training for police officers and discourages them from apprehending residents for minor offenses like loitering or traffic infractions. It also says that officers can no longer arrest someone simply because of being in a high-crime region.

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