BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Baltimore’s Mayor and Police Commissioner announced this morning that they are moving forward with sweeping reforms laid out in the police department’s consent decree with the Department of Justice.
They’ve launched a new website to keep the community informed, and are looking for people to join a panel that would provide recommendations about handling police complaints.
The city is also looking for an independent monitor to oversee the entire consent decree process, and the mayor insists it’s not just talk.
“We believe that what we put in place is what we believe will help to change what people have talked about in their testimonies, the unfair treatment that they believe that they’ve gotten, the lack of access to information,” she said at the website launch announcement Thursday morning.
Last year, the Justice Department published a scathing 164-page report outlining widespread abuse including excessive force, unlawful stops and discriminatory practices. The investigation was launched after the April 2015 death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man whose neck was broken while he was in police custody.
After that, the BPD and the DOJ hammered out the decree — an extensive list of court-mandated reforms for the police department. An agreement was reached in January and, despite efforts by President Donald Trump’s administration to delay it, a judge approved the decree earlier this month.
The latest steps toward reform for the police department come just days from the second anniversary of the riots following Gray’s death. The State’s Attorney failed to get a single conviction against any of the officers charged in connection with the death, but an internal affairs review is ongoing, being handled by the Montgomery County Police Department.
BPD Commissioner Kevin Davis recently met with the police chief there about it.
“As long as that investigation is conducted within the time frame as allowed by the law enforcement officer’s bill of rights, I’m confident that I’m going to get the results in that investigation in a manner that allows me to then make a final determination from there,” he says.
Howard County is assisting Montgomery County in the review.