Baltimore, U.S. Reach Consent Decree Over Policing

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A massive overhaul is coming for the Baltimore City Police Department.  A federal investigation revealed systemic discrimination throughout the force.

The City has reached an agreement with the Department of Justice to try and improve police and community relations. The details of that agreement will be made public Thursday morning by both the mayor and the U.S. attorney general.

A black man was detained by police thirty times and never charged,  a woman strip searched on a sidewalk for a broken headlight and officers accused of using racial slurs.

No Boundaries Coalition co-founder Ray Kelly says the incidents outlined in the scathing DOJ report are nothing new in his west Baltimore community.

“This is what we’ve been living through my whole life. Right now people don’t trust the police to the point where they don’t really want to bring police into their communities,” said Kelly.

The City is trying to turn that around. For the past five months, they’ve been hammering out a consent decree — an extensive list of court-mandated reforms for the police.

“I am and will continue to be in the habit of protecting the citizens of Baltimore and answering their call,” said Baltimore City Mayor Catherine Pugh.

City leaders raced the clock to try and get the consent decree signed before Donald Trump takes over the White House. They wanted a deal reached before current Attorney General Loretta Lynch is out of office.

“I know that we have struggles and we are here to help you work through those struggles,” said Lynch.

“We definitely feel like the time for change is now,” said Kelly.

While Kelly hasn’t seen the specific reforms he says this is an important step forward.

“The community doesn’t want to be done with the police. We know in our situation we need the police,” he said.

A broken relationship that reform may mend. A U.S. district judge will need to sign off of the consent decree.

The reforms in the agreement could potentially cost the City tens of millions of dollars.

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(© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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