Federal judge approves consent decree for Baltimore police reforms, despite plea for delay

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A federal judge has denied a delay request by the Department of Justice and approved a consent decree providing for reforms in Baltimore’s police department.

U.S. District Judge James K. Bredar approved the consent decree on Friday, the Baltimore Sun reports. The previous day, Bredar refused the DOJ’s request for a 30-day delay to allow for an assessment of the agreement reached by the Obama administration.

Bredar said the parties are bound by the prior agreement, and “the case is no longer in a phase where any party is unilaterally entitled to reconsider the terms.”

The Baltimore agreement addresses police stops and arrests, use of force, and transportation of persons in custody. The deal followed the release of a DOJ report that concluded that a legacy of zero tolerance by Baltimore police had resulted in a pattern of pedestrian stops in minority neighborhoods and “matter of course” pat-downs.

“The problems that necessitate this consent decree are urgent,” Bredar wrote. “Now, it is time to enter the decree and thereby require all involved to get to work on repairing the many fractures so poignantly revealed by the record.”

In a statement, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said he has “grave concerns that some provisions of this decree will reduce the lawful powers of the police department and result in a less safe city.”

Earlier this month, Sessions ordered a review of DOJ agreements with local police departments in a memo that declared that it’s not the federal government’s job to police local law enforcement.




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