Is Jeff Sessions' Justice Department Trying to Kill Police Reform in Baltimore?

A federal judge in Baltimore has denied the Justice Department's request to delay a public hearing scheduled for Thursday on a pending agreement to reform the Baltimore Police Department, CBS News justice reporter Paula Reid reports.

On Wednesday, a federal judge rejected a Justice Department request to delay Thursday's hearing.

Deputies for Attorney General Jeff Sessions' asked Bredar to consider the postponement as the proposed reforms supposedly stood in opposition to the Trump administration's crime fighting agenda.

"The primary objective 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 in an order on Wednesday afternoon.

John Gore, the Trump administration's No. 2 official in the Civil Rights Division, told U.S. District Court Judge James K. Bredar that Sessions was concerned about a recent spike in crime and how proposed reforms could affect crime rates.

Yesterday, City Paper spoke to Jill Carter, the Director of the Office of Civil Rights and Wage Management, about the fate of Baltimore's consent decree after Attorney General Jeff Sessions demanded, via signed statement, a 90-day pause to the decree on Monday.

Ralph also said the consent decree includes crucial provisions that call for new technology and resources for the department. Davis knows firsthand the benefits of police reforms enacted under court decrees from his time on the police force in Prince George's.

Although Sessions has concerns about how Justice Department investigations affect morale among police officers, it's worth noting that the DOJ's extensive investigation mentioned the tough work Baltimore cops had to do under hard conditions.

At the start of Thursday morning's hearing, lawyers for the federal government argued that they would need more time to review the agreement, which sets guidelines for the police in dealing with African Americans, after the Justice Department-then led by Loretta Lynch-found a pattern of racial discrimination. That review was seen as a sign that the government may be walking back plans to reform some of the most troubled police departments in the country. He also noted that the Justice Department had not offered any evidence that holding the hearing as scheduled would harm its interests. "There's no sleight of hand", Davis said.

The Justice Department opened an investigation into allegations of misconduct in the Baltimore Police Department in 2015, after the death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man whose neck was broken in a police transport wagon, plunged the city into civil unrest.

Last month, dozens of organizations and about 50 people submitted 195 pages of written comments on the proposed agreement, which the city reached with the Justice Department during the last days of the Obama Administration.

Past year the Justice Department released a scathing report detailing such abuses. "We believe there are reforms needed". Baltimore's mayor and commissioner say they are eager and ready to change not only the culture of law enforcement, but the practice.

According to the report, Baltimore Police Commissioner on Tuesday called the DOJ's move as unnecessary and "without a whole lot of justification".

  • Larry Hoffman