Baltimore Delegation Statement on Denial of DOJ Attempt to Delay Implementation of Consent Decree with BPD

April 5, 2017
Press Release

Washington, D.C. (Apr. 5, 2017) — Today, U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen and Congressmen Elijah E. Cummings, Dutch Ruppersberger and John Sarbanes (all D-MD) issued the following statement after Judge James Bredar denied the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) request for a 90-day continuance on the implementation of the consent decree between DOJ and the Baltimore City Police Department:

“This ruling is a win for the people of Baltimore.  The Justice Department’s attempt to delay the implementation of the consent decree would have greatly impeded our progress in rebuilding trust between the community and police.  The consent decree has the strong support of both the Mayor and Police Commissioner of Baltimore.”

“Last year’s ‘pattern or practice’ report on BPD, which detailed years of systemic civil rights violations, was a call to action for everyone in Baltimore.

“We are now on the path to much-needed and long-overdue reforms, which we hope will make BPD a model for the nation. The Justice Department and Attorney General Sessions should be supporting our efforts, not seeking to undermine them.”

Background

Yesterday, the Members sent a letter to Attorney General Sessions urging him to rescind his request to delay the consent decree.

In May 2015, all Democrats in Maryland’s congressional delegation sent a letter to Lynch in support of then-Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake’s request to have the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division open a federal “pattern or practice” investigation of BPD.

On November 21, 2016, the Members sent a letter to Rawlings-Blake, Pugh and Lynch to inquire on the status of the consent decree negotiations after hearing growing concern from the community about the status of and delay in drafting the decree.  The City began negotiating the consent decree with a stated goal of having it completed by November 1.