A harshly critical Justice Department report says Baltimore police officers routinely discriminate against Blacks, use excessive force and are not adequately disciplined for misconduct.
The report being issued Wednesday represents a damning indictment of how the city’s police officers carry out the most fundamental of policing practices, including traffic stops and searches and responding to First Amendment expression.
“These violations have deeply eroded the relationship between the police and community it serves,” Vanita Gupta, the head of the Justice Department’s civil rights division, said during a news conference alongside the city’s mayor and police commissioner.
The Justice Department is seeking a court-enforceable consent decree to force the police agency to commit to improving its procedures in order to avoid a lawsuit.
The federal investigation was launched after the April 2015 death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old Black man whose neck was broken while he was handcuffed and shackled, but left unrestrained in the back of a police van.
Last month, prosecutors dropped the remaining charges Wednesday against three Baltimore police officers awaiting trial in the death of Freddie Gray, bringing an end to the case without a conviction. His death added fuel to the growing Black Lives Matter movement and caused turmoil in Baltimore, including large protests and the worst riots the city had seen in decades.
Photo: Associated Press