Life&Culture

Civil rights groups alarmed over retreat on police reforms

Civil rights groups alarmed over retreat on police reforms

As the Republican Party has moved far to the extreme right in recent years, this type of rationale is a softer version of stating that investigating police departments is inherently anti-police. Both incidents sparked a wave of protests across the country. "It's about bad systems, lack of accountability, bad policies, and bad practices", said a former litigator of the DOJ's Civil Rights Division.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has questioned the effectiveness of police reform agreements in the past. "It is not the responsibility of the federal government to manage non-federal law enforcement agencies", Sessions writes.

What does this mean, and why does it matter?

The ACLU is characterizing the move as "a blatant attempt by the Justice Department to abandon its obligations under federal civil rights law and the U.S. Constitution".

Already Baltimore has earmarked more than $12 million to fulfill this consent decree in the next fiscal year which is a start the mayor says.

Sessions has always been skeptical of federal investigations into police departments accused of biased policing. And it is a clear sign that the Trump administration is seeking to undo, and walk away from, the consent decree that is a critical part of reforming Baltimore's police department.

Maybe Jeff Sessions thinks that local police agencies with broad patterns of misconduct and discrimination are magically going to start reforming themselves, despite having failed or refused to do so until now. "Maybe they haven't studied the facts or researched the laws quite enough".

The March 31 memo, made public on Monday, orders two top DOJ officials to review existing or impending consent decrees, report the Washington Post, the Baltimore Sun and the New York Times.

Plane crashes in South Sudan
The plane's right wing hit a auto and a fire started on the right side of the plane, Ateny said. Achieng said the fire initially led many people to think there would be no survivors.


The department said it was aware of the need for police reform in Baltimore but added that the city "has made progress toward reform on its own and, as a effect, it may be possible to take these changes into account where appropriate to ensure future compliance while protecting public safety".

Shock at City Hall, after the Justice Department puts the brakes on an agreement to transform the Baltimore City Police department.

Federal authorities recently reached a similar agreement in Baltimore before the inauguration of President Trump, following the 2015 death of Freddie Gray, who died in the custody of Baltimore police. But we did file an objection to the pause because we believe that what we'd negotiated with the Department of Justice is fair when you think about the 163-page report that outlined different infractions by the police department, you know, impartial policing, unnecessary stops, use of force, inability to interact with the community in a positive way.

Outside city government, reaction to the Justice Department motion was less measured.

In a written statement, Cleveland's Consent Decree Implementation Coordinator Greg White says the city doesn't anticipate any major changes in what it's doing under the consent decree.

While the Post acknowledged that the Justice Department might find it hard to undo agreements that have already been authorized by courts and that have independent monitors in place, the real danger is derailing reforms still in negotiations in cities where a judge has not yet approved a deal, such as in Baltimore and Chicago. The Donald Trump administration says this reversal is about public safety, but opponents counter that such announcements are more about appealing to the president's base.

Asked if losing the agreement would make the reform vulnerable Davis responded, "It certainly would".


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