President Xi in Alaska, reforming Baltimore's police and political chaos in Venezuela

Donald Trump and Jeff Sessions’ First Shot in Their War on Police Reform Was a Misfire

Baltimore solicitor David Ralph said that when the city, police department and federal government negotiated the plan, it was created to fight crime, protect civil rights and fix community trust with officers.

In a statement Friday, police officials say "we look forward to engaging with the community and the court in the process of selecting an independent monitor".

Baltimore's agreement calls for additional training for officers and discourages them from arresting people for minor offenses such as traffic infractions or loitering. It also overhauls the way the department handles encounters with mentally ill residents and with sexual assault cases. This will support and, in fact, accelerate many needed reforms in the areas of training, technology and internal accountability systems.

That stance flies in the face of decades of experience in policing reform, civil rights litigation and successful consent decrees.

A federal judge signed off Friday on the consent decree between the city and the U.S. Justice Department.

Sessions, the nation's top law enforcement officer, is skeptical of the Department of Justice civil rights investigations of local police.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, appointed by President Donald Trump, again criticized the consent decree, saying that he has "grave concerns" about the agreement negotiated by the Obama administration.

Sessions emphasized that Baltimore is facing "a violent crime crisis". The Obama Justice Department opened roughly two dozen investigations into police departments and 14 of them ended in consent decrees, in citieslike Chicago; Ferguson, Missouri; Miami; Cleveland; Albuquerque, N.M.; and Newark, N.J.

The 2016 report found evidence of systemic racism in the Baltimore Police Department.

But Davis and Pugh stressed that a court-enforceable agreement will enable the department to implement those reforms.

U.S. District Judge James Bredar signed the agreement on Friday, one day after a public hearing to solicit comments from city residents. Bredar called the agreement "comprehensive, detailed and precise", and wrote in his order that it "is in the public interest" to approve it.

"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. The Justice Department wants the judge to delay signing the agreement.

The letter goes on to state: "S$3 hould the Department of Justice seek changes to the terms of existing policing consent decrees, it would be required to justify the changes based on something more than a shift in priorities".

Under the new administration and Attorney General Sessions, we are, sadly, still waiting for that report and its important feedback.

Baltimore-The NAACP issued a letter to Attorney General Sessions questioning the legality of announced attempts to modify consent decrees between the Department of Justice and a number of municipalities across the country and their police departments. We had eagerly anticipated the release of a report with analysis and recommendations meant to help us create a police department that was more transparent and responsive to residents' concerns, and the police chief, many leaders within his department and numerous city's elected officials had demonstrated an unwavering commitment to getting to work on these important tasks.



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