Trump objections don't stop overhaul of Baltimore police

Sessions orders review of police reforms

Sessions orders review of police reforms

Pugh disputed the notion the decree will hurt the fight against crime.

A US judge approved an agreement Friday to overhaul the troubled Baltimore Police Department, dealing a blow to the Trump administration that expressed "grave concerns" about the plan.

Sessions claimed the agreement had been hastily put together in the final days of the Obama administration-and indeed it was finalized shortly before President Donald Trump was inaugurated.

"Consent decrees take a major toll on local elected officials, police departments and stakeholders", said John Gaskin III of the NAACP in Ferguson, Missouri, whose leaders entered into such an agreement after Michael Brown's shooting death at the hands of police in 2014 roiled the St. Louis suburb.

Speaking on behalf of the city's mayor and city council, Acting Baltimore City Solicitor David Ralph called the agreement "fair and reasonable" and "a heavily negotiated document".

"I think there is concern that good police officers and good departments can be sued by the Department of Justice when you just have individuals within a department that have done wrong", he said. Gray's death prompted protests and rioting throughout the city.

Bredar called the DOJ's request "untimely" in his denial, and the hearing will happen as scheduled. Then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch ordered a consent decree, meaning the federal government would oversee the department's clean up.

The Obama Justice Department opened roughly two dozen investigations of police departments, and 14 of them ended in consent decrees.

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"I have grave concerns that some provisions of this decree will reduce the lawful powers of the police department", Sessions said in the statement, "and result in a less safe city".

On Wednesday, Pugh applauded the judge's decision, and encouraged residents to show up and speak their minds.

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 created to fight crime and protect civil rights.

Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh and Police Commissioner Kevin Davis have pledged support for the agreement. The administration wants to make sure the agreement "will help rather than hinder public safety", Gore added, citing a crime spike in Baltimore.

For as long as anyone can recall, citizens have had limited redress against police departments. At his January confirmation hearing, he stated his belief that these orders interfered with police officers' ability to do their jobs. Baltimore was also where Freddie Gray was killed by six of the city's police officers.

As that crime rate increases, the response will predictably be a request for more federal "assistance", moving the BPD toward the communists' ultimate goal: turning it into a branch of the federal government. In the first three months of 2017, the city recorded 79 homicides, compared with 56 for the same period the year before. 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.

The judge's approval signals complications for Sessions as he suggested this week that his Justice Department will retreat from such agreements with troubled police departments across the U.S.

Have we so soon forgotten the Gestapo or the KGB, both national police agencies, that terrorized the citizens of Germany and Russian Federation and led to the imprisonment and deaths of tens thousands of innocent men and women?

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