The city of Baltimore agreed to stop its police force from illegally stopping and arresting people and making officers more accountable for violating police policies, federal officials announced Thursday.
The agreement, which will be enforced by the federal…, resolves the Department of Justice findings that Baltimore police engaged illegal and discriminatory and unconstitutional practices such as the use of excessive force and illegal stops and arrests.
The consent decree was filed today in federal court in Maryland.
“Last August, we concluded that the Baltimore Police Department had engaged in conduct that deprived the people of Baltimore of the rights and protections guaranteed to every American, and that the deeply-rooted mistrust between law enforcement officers and the community they serve harmed all who call Baltimore home,” said Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch.
Adding, “After thorough, good-faith negotiations, the Department of Justice and the city of Baltimore have agreed to enter into a court-enforceable consent decree to remedy the violations identified in our investigation. The reforms in this consent decree will help ensure effective and constitutional policing, restore the community’s trust in law enforcement, and advance public and officer safety. We could not be prouder to partner with the people of Baltimore on this journey towards making their city a community that protects the dignity, rights, and safety of all its people.”
The Justice Department announced its findings in August 2016 following a thorough investigation into BPD started in May 2015:
The department found that Baltimore police made stops, searches, and arrests without the required justification.
Used enforcement strategies that unlawfully subjected African Americans to disproportionate rates of stops, searches and arrests; used excessive force
Retaliated against individuals for their constitutionally-protected expression.
This practice and pattern persisted for many years, and exacerbated community distrust of the police, especially in the black community.
Under the consent decree, the Baltimore Police Department and the city will implement comprehensive reforms that will ensure that:
Baltimore establishes a Community Oversight Task Force to recommend reforms to the current system of civilian oversight.
- Police department adopts a policing approach that is community-oriented and based on problem solving principles.
- Officers’ voluntary interactions are professional and courteous
- Officers conduct all investigatory stops, searches and arrests in a manner that protects people’s rights.
- Police Department provides equal protection of the law for all individuals, including providing impartial policing services.
- Officers use appropriate de-escalation techniques and attempt to resolve incidents without force when possible; use force in a manner that is proportional to the threat presented
- Baltimore police use of force policies, training and review systems provide sufficient guidance, skills and accountability.
- Baltimore police will transport detainees in a manner that keeps them safe.
- Officers respect the First Amendment rights of all persons.
- Baltimore police will investigate sexual assault thoroughly and without gender bias.
- Baltimore conducts an assessment to minimize youth involvement with the juvenile and criminal justice systems, as appropriate, and that officers approach interactions with youth in a manner appropriate to their age.
- Baltimore conducts an analysis of gaps in the city’s mental health system in consultation with a committee of behavioral health experts and service providers
- Baltimore police officers will dispatch officers who are properly trained in interacting with people in crisis or with behavioral health disabilities when a police response is appropriate.
To read the Consent Decree click here: Department of Justice
To read Consent Decree Fact Sheet click here: DOJ