Trump Administration Backs Away From Baltimore Police Reform - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Trump Administration Backs Away From Baltimore Police Reform

Posted: Updated:

BALTIMORE (AP)- The Trump Justice Department expressed "grave concerns" Thursday about an agreement the Obama administration reached with the city of Baltimore to overhaul its police department in the wake of the racially explosive Freddie Gray case.
    
A government attorney weighed in on the proposed consent decree at a public hearing as about 50 Baltimore residents lined up to endorse the reforms and complain of deep-seated racism, abuse and deadly force at the hands of the police.
    
"The consent decree needs to be passed for us to feel we can call on the Baltimore Police Department without them making us into the criminals when we are the victims," said black high school student Shane-jah McCaffity.
    
But Justice Department lawyer John Gore said Attorney General Jeff Sessions is worried about whether the agreement "will achieve the goals of public safety and law enforcement while at the same time protecting civil rights."
    
Gore said there has been a spike in crime in Baltimore and the administration wants to make sure that the agreement "will help rather than hinder public safety."
    
The stand represents the start of what appears to be a retreat by the Trump administration from the federal consent decrees that have been put in place in several U.S. cities in recent years to root out racism, excessive force and other abuses against minorities.
    
Nearly two years ago, Baltimore erupted in the worst rioting in decades over the death of Gray, a 25-year-old black man whose neck was broken during what prosecutors said was a jolting ride in a police van while handcuffed and shackled.
    
The Justice Department launched an investigation and issued a scathing report outlining widespread mistreatment of black people, including excessive force and unlawful stops. The proposed agreement to remedy the abuses was negotiated during the final days of the Obama administration.
    
Baltimore Solicitor David Ralph said Thursday that the plan was designed to help police fight crime while also protecting residents' rights and repairing trust between the community and the department.
    
The plan discourages officers from writing up minor offenses such as loitering and bars police from arresting people simply because they are in high-crime areas.
    
It also calls for more training for officers on handling mentally ill people, and the continuation of a program that is rolling out body cameras to all officers.
    
The agreement is subject to approval by U.S. District Judge James Bredar. It would then be up to him to make sure the parties abide by it.
    
The Justice Department initially wanted the judge to postpone the hearing. The judge refused, and now the department wants him to delay signing the agreement for at least 30 days. Bredar did not indicate when he would decide on the plan.
    
The Obama Justice Department opened roughly two dozen investigations of police departments, and 14 of them ended in consent decrees, in such cities as Ferguson, Missouri; Miami; Cleveland; Albuquerque, New Mexico; and Newark, New Jersey.
    
In a memo made public this week, however, Sessions ordered a review of all such consent decrees, saying the federal government should not be managing local law enforcement agencies. He also said heavy scrutiny of the police is making them less aggressive and leading to a rise in crime in some cities.
    
Nearly all residents who testified Thursday voiced strong support for the consent decree and urged the judge to sign it swiftly.
    
"Non-white residents feel distrustful, attacked, bullied, defensive, scared, scarred and singled out," said Shantay Guy, a community mediator. "Officers generally feel misunderstood, ill-equipped, labeled, targeted, mischaracterized, stereotyped, demoralized, criticized and limited."
    
She added: "Both groups indicate that change is important to them - change in their interactions with each other that give them the safety and respect they're looking for."
    
The judge also heard from mothers whose sons were killed by police.
    
"I don't know if the officer was anxious, but he shouldn't have been the judge, jury and executioner," said Darlene Cain, who said she lost her 29-year-old son.
    
"It's very important for all of our children to realize their lives matter. And I want the police department to know: It is crucial that we stop burying our children every single day. It is crucial that our children stop getting killed by the Baltimore city police."
    
Mayor Catherine Pugh and Police Commissioner Kevin Davis have vowed to press on with police reform regardless of what happens with the consent decree. But they stressed they would prefer to see a court-enforceable agreement.
    
After the hearing, the judge praised those who testified.
    
"Let this be a model of how we continue to relate to each other in confronting some very challenging circumstances," he said.

  • Delmarvawide NewsDelmarvawide NewsMore>>

  • Police Search for Crisfield Shooting Victim

    Police Search for Crisfield Shooting Victim

    10/17/2017 16:55:00 -04:002017-10-17 20:55:00 GMT
    Thursday, October 19 2017 9:02 AM EDT2017-10-19 13:02:27 GMT
    A Dover woman was arrested after providing officers with a fake name.A Dover woman was arrested after providing officers with a fake name.
    Crime Solvers of the Lower Eastern Shore and the Wicomico County Sheriff's Office are continuing their efforts to find a shooting suspect.More
    Crime Solvers of the Lower Eastern Shore and the Wicomico County Sheriff's Office are continuing their efforts to find a shooting suspect.More
  • Suspect in Md. Office Park Shooting Apprehended in Del.

    Suspect in Md. Office Park Shooting Apprehended in Del.

    10/19/2017 02:28:00 -04:002017-10-19 06:28:00 GMT
    Thursday, October 19 2017 2:28 AM EDT2017-10-19 06:28:45 GMT
    Radee Labeeb Prince was arrested in Delaware Wednesday night following a shooting in two states.More
    Radee Labeeb Prince was arrested in Delaware Wednesday night following a shooting in two states.More
  • Update: Suspect in Maryland Office Park Shooting Arrested

    Update: Suspect in Maryland Office Park Shooting Arrested

    10/18/2017 20:53:00 -04:002017-10-19 00:53:00 GMT
    Wednesday, October 18 2017 11:58 PM EDT2017-10-19 03:58:37 GMT
    (Photo Credit: MGN)(Photo Credit: MGN)
    A man with a lengthy criminal past who showed up for work at a countertop company on Wednesday and shot five of his co-workers has been arrested, authorities said. Three of them were killed and two critically wounded.More
    A man with a lengthy criminal past who showed up for work at a countertop company on Wednesday and shot five of his co-workers has been arrested, authorities said. Three of them were killed and two critically wounded.More
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Suspect in Md. Office Park Shooting Apprehended in Del.

    Suspect in Md. Office Park Shooting Apprehended in Del.

    10/19/2017 02:28:00 -04:002017-10-19 06:28:00 GMT
    Thursday, October 19 2017 2:28 AM EDT2017-10-19 06:28:45 GMT
    Radee Labeeb Prince was arrested in Delaware Wednesday night following a shooting in two states.More
    Radee Labeeb Prince was arrested in Delaware Wednesday night following a shooting in two states.More
  • Update: Suspect in Maryland Office Park Shooting Arrested

    Update: Suspect in Maryland Office Park Shooting Arrested

    10/18/2017 20:53:00 -04:002017-10-19 00:53:00 GMT
    Wednesday, October 18 2017 11:58 PM EDT2017-10-19 03:58:37 GMT
    (Photo Credit: MGN)(Photo Credit: MGN)
    A man with a lengthy criminal past who showed up for work at a countertop company on Wednesday and shot five of his co-workers has been arrested, authorities said. Three of them were killed and two critically wounded.More
    A man with a lengthy criminal past who showed up for work at a countertop company on Wednesday and shot five of his co-workers has been arrested, authorities said. Three of them were killed and two critically wounded.More
  • Wicomico County Sheriff's Facebook Post Questioned

    Wicomico County Sheriff's Facebook Post Under Fire

    10/17/2017 17:44:00 -04:002017-10-17 21:44:00 GMT
    Tuesday, October 17 2017 6:30 PM EDT2017-10-17 22:30:06 GMT
    SALISBURY, Md. - A now-deleted Facebook post from Wicomico County Sheriff Mike Lewis is causing controversy in the county.Lewis' post referred to protesters outside a Ravens Game on Sunday. The protesters were demonstrating next to a Maryland State PolicMore
    SALISBURY, Md. - A now-deleted Facebook post from Wicomico County Sheriff Mike Lewis is causing controversy in the county.Lewis' post referred to protesters outside a Ravens Game on Sunday. The protesters were demonstrating next to a Maryland State PolicMore
  • Most Popular VideosMost Popular VideosMore>>

  • Wicomico County Sheriff's Facebook Post Questioned

    Wicomico County Sheriff's Facebook Post Questioned

    A now-deleted Facebook post from Wicomico County Sheriff Mike Lewis is causing controversy in the county. Lewis' post referred to protesters outside a Ravens Game on Sunday. The protesters were demonstrating next to a Maryland State Police trooper. In the post, Lewis referred to the protesters as "fist wielding, black power activists" who decried law enforcement officers' work.

    More

    A now-deleted Facebook post from Wicomico County Sheriff Mike Lewis is causing controversy in the county. Lewis' post referred to protesters outside a Ravens Game on Sunday. The protesters were demonstrating next to a Maryland State Police trooper. In the post, Lewis referred to the protesters as "fist wielding, black power activists" who decried law enforcement officers' work.

    More
  • 18 Inmates Charged in Deadly Del. Prison Uprising

    18 Inmates Charged in Deadly Del. Prison Uprising

    Sixteen inmates have been charged with first-degree murder in connection with a deadly uprising that occurred in early February at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in Smyrna. Two other inmates were also charged in connection with the incident on Feb. 1-2 that resulted in the murder of Lt. Steven Floyd, injuries to Correctional Officers Winslow Smith and Joshua Wilkinson, and the kidnapping of counselor Patricia May.

    More

    Sixteen inmates have been charged with first-degree murder in connection with a deadly uprising that occurred in early February at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in Smyrna. Two other inmates were also charged in connection with the incident on Feb. 1-2 that resulted in the murder of Lt. Steven Floyd, injuries to Correctional Officers Winslow Smith and Joshua Wilkinson, and the kidnapping of counselor Patricia May.

    More
  • Political Mudslinging Ahead of Hurlock Town Elections

    Political Mudslinging Ahead of Hurlock Town Elections

    Samantha McDonald posted her support for mayor of Hurlock to Michael Henry on Facebook. That's when current Mayor Joyce Spratt messaged her.

    In that message, Mayor Spratt said McDonald had been fed lies. McDonald says the Mayor's message was completely inappropriate.

    WBOC went to Mayor Spratt to ask her about the message and allegations McDonald and others have made against her.

    More

    Samantha McDonald posted her support for mayor of Hurlock to Michael Henry on Facebook. That's when current Mayor Joyce Spratt messaged her.

    In that message, Mayor Spratt said McDonald had been fed lies. McDonald says the Mayor's message was completely inappropriate.

    WBOC went to Mayor Spratt to ask her about the message and allegations McDonald and others have made against her.

    More
Powered by Frankly

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2017 WBOC. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices