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 US cities in recent years to root out racism, excessive force and other abuses against minorities.
BALTIMORE (AP) A federal judge refused Wednesday to delay a hearing on a proposed agreement to overhaul the Baltimore Police Department, calling the Trump administration's request a "burden and inconvenience".
City officials said they are prepared to proceed Thursday with the next step in the process to finalize the Baltimore police consent decree.
"We recognize the challenges faced by police officers in Baltimore and other communities around the country".
Still, the denial is a bump in the road for Session's plans for a far-reaching review of a number of similar consent decrees between the DOJ and local law enforcement agencies. Gore said there has been a spike in crime in Baltimore and the administration wants to make sure that the court-enforceable agreement, known as a consent decree, "will help rather than hinder public safety".
The DOJ began the investigation into the Baltimore PD after the in-custody death of Freddie Gray, which led to riots throughout the city. "Oftentimes they don't, so if local governments can get involved as well and ask for best practices, then we can stop all this federal intervention, but the bottom line is, normally it's necessary and useful", Linder said. The United States government is the plaintiff in this case and the city of Baltimore is the defendant, but it was lawyers representing the city who were pressing the judge to move forward and approve the proposed agreement. Throughout, the BPD and the city's leadership have repeatedly stated that without immediate and strong reforms, the mostly Black and brown communities most brutalized by police have no reason to trust police - undermining public safety.
"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.More news: Canada supports US air strike on Syria
Baltimore Police Department Commissioner Kevin Davis arrives at a news conference at the department's headquarters in Baltimore, Tuesday, April 4, 2017, to respond to the Department of Justice's request for a 90-day delay of a hearing on its proposed overhaul of the police department.
"The City of Baltimore is ready to move forward to rebuild the important relationship which exists between the community and our police department".
A March 31 memorandum from Sessions made public Monday directs his top staff to review reform agreements reached with police departments that were found to have routinely violated the civil rights of individuals.
The Justice Department's Civil Rights Division has the authority to investigate whether police departments have a pattern of excessive force and racial bias.
The Justice Department initially wanted the judge to postpone the hearing.
Two mothers spoke of their sons being shot and killed by Baltimore police officers in past years. "They don't need 90 days to review the decree because they wrote it". "It will take all of us - City government, the police department, and the families and residents of our great City - to see this reform process through".
Jim Pasco, executive director of the Fraternal Order of Police, America's largest police union, doesn't think police violations of civil rights is a major problem.