Judge denies DOJ request to delay consent decree
- Author: Leroy Wright Apr 11, 2017,
Apr 11, 2017, 1:46
The Justice Department requested earlier this week that U.S. District Judge James Bredar postpone a public hearing on civil rights reforms at the embattled Baltimore Police Department.
But in an order Wednesday evening, Bredar blasted the eleventh hour request as an "unduly burden" that would "inconvenience the Court, the other parties, and, most importantly, the public".
A sweeping new Department of Justice directive calling for the review of dozens of agreements between police departments and the federal government is raising alarms among police reform advocates around the country, with critics arguing that the Trump White House is dead-set on undoing hard-won criminal justice achievements.
Still, the denial is a bump in the road for Session's plans for a far-reaching review of a number of similar consent decrees between the DOJ and local law enforcement agencies. The Department of Justice filed a scathing report that concluded the police force engaged in discriminatory and unconstitutional practices.
Baltimore Police Department Commissioner Kevin Davis arrives at a news conference at the department's headquarters in Baltimore, Tuesday, April 4, 2017, to respond to the Department of Justice's request for a 90-day delay o.
But Wednesday's court order also emphasized the role that federal judges will play in monitoring ongoing reform efforts, which are typically imposed as part of consent decrees that require court approval. "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". Every speaker, including the attorney representing the city, urged the judge to accept a consent decree to reform the police department that already has been signed by the federal government and the city.
"He has basically said that the federal government doesn't have any business in running local police departments, and by that I assume he means suing them under Section 14141", Yeomans said, referring to the Law Enforcement Misconduct Statute.
The hearing began at 9:30 a.m. and was scheduled to wrap up at 5 p.m. The proposed agreement to remedy the abuses was negotiated during the final days of the Obama administration. "We want to work with our police department". "We would like to move forward". Davis knows firsthand the benefits of police reforms enacted under court decrees from his time on the police force in Prince George's. I hope citizens will take advantage of this opportunity to have their voices heard.
That probe was launched after the death of Freddie Gray, a black man who was fatally injured while being transported in a police van.
The consent decree agreement with the DOJ devotes an entire section to technology.
Justice Department spokesman Ian Prior said the delay would have allowed the DOJ to review the current draft of the consent decree to "ensure that the best result is achieved for the people of the city and ensure that the BPD can carry out its mission of fostering trust with community members, safeguarding life and property, and promoting public safety through enforcing the law in a fair and impartial manner".
Stoughton points to examples like Ferguson, where the city was over-policing poor, minority communities and using fines for misdemeanors as a major revenue source, and NY, where the NYPD's stop and frisk policy was ultimately ruled unconstitutional because it unfairly targeted people of color.