wnol.info April 28 2017


Judge blocks request to delay police hearing

April 28 2017, 02:00 | Perry Erickson

AG Sessions Requests Delay in Implementing Baltimore PD's Consent Decree

The Latest: Police ready for overhaul despite call for pause

"In Chicago, where we spoke to hundreds of police, thousands of residents, and looked through hundreds of thousands of documents, if that does not yield a change, I think it will be incredibly disruptive", Gupta said.

Former Justice Department staffer Jonathan Smith agrees.

A sweeping Justice Department review was talked about at a meeting a few weeks ago between Sessions and several police chiefs from across the country.

The directive, issued in a two-page memorandum, effectively opens a re-examination of an aggressive effort by the Obama administration to force local police to reform many policies, from the use of deadly force to how officers deal with minority communities.

The letter was signed by U.S. Sens. The US Department of Justice is never going to get to those.

Ian D. Prior, a spokesman for the Department of Justice, said the request for a delay did not mean Sessions opposes police reform.

The Trump administration's decision to review federal agreements with troubled police departments nationwide could imperil ongoing reform efforts, particularly in Baltimore and Chicago, civil rights advocates said on Tuesday, even as city officials vowed to continue pursuing improvements. (A consent decree is the resolution of a dispute between two parties without the admission of guilty).

PUGH: Well. Let me just say I've been before the federal court?

They mayor said the city has set aside some money for improvements, and while it's "not almost enough", it's "enough to get things moving".

The Justice Department began investigating Chicago police shortly after police released video of Officer Jason Van Dyke shooting Laquan McDonald 16 times.

This week, the Trump White House made its first step toward these rollbacks when Jeff Sessions ordered a review of dozens of agreements reached between the Obama-era DOJ and various local law enforcement agencies.

The review will target "collaborative investigations and prosecutions, grant making, technical assistance and training, compliance reviews, existing or contemplated consent decrees, and task force participation", the memo stated.

Sessions' announcement made no promises about the federal government's commitment to far-reaching reforms.

Vanita Gupta was the acting head of the Civil Rights Division from October 2014 until President Barack Obama left office.

A federal judge on Wednesday denied the U.S. Justice Department's request for a 90-day pause in the Baltimore consent decree case, calling it "untimely" ahead of a scheduled public hearing Thursday - which will now proceed. Justice Department officials say they want to "review and assess" the agreement. "There were some very positive things and some needed changes", Hicks said.

Pugh and Police Commissioner Kevin Davis swiftly voiced their opposition to the request.

The proposed consent decree in Baltimore came after the Justice Department released a scathing report detailing longstanding patterns of racial profiling and excessive force within the city's police force.

Given the tone Sessions and Trump have set, Smith thinks state attorneys general will now be crucial to ensuring police accountability and should exercise more oversight over their local police departments.

"This is a court matter", Oliver said January 6.

Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh also has pledged support for the proposed agreement.

In the context of the police reform, consent decrees involve the Justice Department working with a particular police department to correct finding systemic issues within it (though legally, this is not an admission of guilt by the department).



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