BILL GREENBLATT/UPI/NewscomU.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions warned a plan to reform and monitor the Baltimore Police Department may lead to rising crime in the city after a federal judge approved the agreement Friday over the objections of the Justice Department.
He wrote in his order that it "is in the public interest" to approve it, denying a request to delay signing off on the agreement to give Trump administration leaders time to review it. Instead of forcing law enforcement agencies to abide by the dictates of federal bureaucrats and judges, the DOJ should "help promote officer safety, officer morale, and public respect for their work".
"The primary objective of this hearing is to hear from the public; it would be especially inappropriate to grant this late request for a delay when it would be the public who were most adversely affected by a postponement", he wrote. "He had to relieve himself right in front of them", Harris said.
The consent degree, an agreement on police reforms between the Obama administration and the Baltimore Police Department, came after the DOJ alleged the department had a history of unconstitutional practices and racial discrimination.
Last week, Sessions issued a memo to top Justice Department officials, directing them "to immediately review" all department activities, including "existing or contemplated consent decrees".
A federal judge on Friday signed a Baltimore police consent decree mandating police reform. The Civil Rights Division launched the investigation after the death of Baltimore resident Freddie Gray while in police custody in 2015.
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President Donald Trump's attorney general, Jeff Sessions, promptly warned that the agreement may result in "a less safe city". There were tales of children killed, domestic violence survivors living in fear - and of those with mental-health challenges being abused by Baltimore police. It also requires the city establish a community task force to oversee the police department and publicly report their findings.
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 residents overwhelmingly voiced support for a proposed agreement between the city and the Justice Department to overhaul the police department. The agreement cost Detroit more than $50 million, including $15 million for court-appointed monitoring teams.
Regarding the Baltimore Consent Decree, numerous points of the decree agreement are mild at best.
Some police chiefs have acknowledged that the consent decrees are necessary and are vowing to continue with the reforms outlined in their consent decrees, regardless of who is in office. We had eagerly anticipated the release of a report with analysis and recommendations meant to help us create a police department that was more transparent and responsive to residents' concerns, and the police chief, many leaders within his department and numerous city's elected officials had demonstrated an unwavering commitment to getting to work on these important tasks.
Wednesday's order, while tailored specifically to the hearing in Baltimore, could signal complications for Sessions as he seeks to review agreements already entered into federal courts with earlier Justice Department cooperation.