Baltimore Ready to Carry Out Police Consent Decree, DOJ is Not

Apr 6, 2017

Attorney General Jeff Sessions
Credit official photo

BALTIMORE (AP) - An attorney for the city of Baltimore says it is ready and willing to enter into a court-enforceable agreement to implement sweeping reforms to the city's troubled police department.

Baltimore's solicitor David Ralph said at a public hearing on Thursday that when the city, police department and federal government negotiated the plan, it was designed to fight crime and protect civil rights.

Ralph also said the consent decree includes crucial provisions that call for new technology and resources for the department. Signing the agreement will send a strong message to the community that reforms are quickly happening.

But Justice Department attorney John Gore told a judge that newly minted Attorney General Jeff Sessions is concerned about the agreement and "whether it will achieve the goals of public safety and law enforcement while at the same time protecting civil rights."

Gore said that given the crime spike in Baltimore, the government wants more time to make sure any agreed upon remedy "will help rather than hinder public safety." He says those concerns "are not limited to Baltimore."

On Wednesday, a federal judge rejected a Justice Department request to delay Thursday's hearing.