U.S. judge approves Baltimore police reform, refuses to delay


"We would like to move forward", Ralph said.

On Thursday, Gore said the DOJ's review of reform efforts would allow it to "try to find new ways to achieve the same objective".

The order from a USA district court in Maryland denied a recent Justice Department request to delay the proposed consent decree, which was negotiated during the Obama administration.

Maryland Public Defender Paul DeWolfe said the agreement is "insufficient" because it doesn't adequately ensure transparency in prosecutions.

"I fear that this announcement paves the way for a retreat from accountability and oversight of allegations of systemic civil rights abuses", Booker said in a statement. The development represents a troubling turn, and perhaps a setback concerning civil rights in this country.

It should not come as a surprise, though, that Sessions is woefully uninformed of the Department of Justice's goal - despite opposing police department reforms, the attorney general has openly admitted to not reading federal reports highlighting the need for law enforcement changes.

Many shared harrowing stories of police abuse to make clear how necessary such reforms are.

Two mothers spoke of their sons being shot and killed by Baltimore police officers in past years. One resident, however, said he believed such a court-enforceable agreement "will hamper the police force". Gore told the judge that while the administration "certainly agrees that there is a critical need for police reform" in Baltimore, making that reform happen is "really the job of local officials". "We are exhausted of burying our children".

"Innocent people are dying, the status quo can not stand", Rabbi Daniel Burg told the judge, "What a story it would make if Baltimore became a story about what is right in policing".

Isaac Wilson, a black high school student, said he carries the burden of discrimination and the agreement is badly needed in the city.

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Certainly, New Jersey is no stranger to consent decrees involving law enforcement and matters of justice for racial minorities.

Still, Sessions says his Justice Department remains ready to work with Baltimore leaders to fight crime and improve policing. "A reformed Police Department, trust by the community in this process, I think, will make a difference in reducing crime in our city", Pugh said.

In a memo made public this week, however, Sessions ordered a review of all such consent decrees, saying the federal government should not be managing local law enforcement agencies. Signing the agreement will send a strong message to the community that reforms are quickly happening. Bredar's ruling called the Justice Department's report on patterns of unconstitutional conduct in the Baltimore Police Department "deeply troubling".

A USA district court judge finalized a proposed consent decree between the US government and the city of Baltimore Friday morning and rejected the Justice Department's requests to delay the order so it could further review the agreement.

On Wednesday, Pugh applauded the judge's decision, and encouraged residents to show up and speak their minds.

More than 40 members of the public signed up to speak at Thursday's hearing. The hearing is now underway.

Last month, a dozen organizations and about 50 individual residents submitted written comments, critiques and recommendations on the proposed consent decree.

The consent decree orders Baltimore police to use proper de-escalation tactics and undergo training on how to interact with youth, the mentally ill, protestors and victims in sexual assault cases.

But under President Trump, the DOJ could roll back the order.