BALTIMORE (WJZ)— The U.S. Department of Justice has laid out its plan for an exhaustive investigation of the city police department that’s now underway in Baltimore.
Investigative reporter Mike Hellgren has the newest information on their plan.
Baltimore City requested the investigation and federal authorities pledge it will be independent and thorough — looking at everything from training to lawsuits.
How bad is police misconduct in Baltimore?
A Baltimore Sun investigation, which WJZ reported, shows taxpayers have spent more than $11 million on settlements, lawsuits and legal fees.
The Sun found from 2012 through this July, there have been 3,048 misconduct complaints against officers — 1,203 of which were sustained.
In that time, a staggering 850 officers faced discipline.
The mayor and commissioner voluntarily asked the Department of Justice to investigate.
“They need to know what is broke, but they need the best practices on how to fix it because at the end of the day, it’s public trust that will drive crime down in Baltimore and sound this country,” said Ron Davis, with the U.S. Department of Justice.
“Out of all the years of my life, I’d never been beaten like this. Never,” said a police brutality victim who did not want to be identified.
“We know that there are lingering issues of trust and doubt that damage our relationship with our community,” Baltimore City Police Commissioner Anthony Batts said.
Federal authorities conducted a similar review in Las Vegas after a spate of police-involved shootings — and produced a real change there.
Philadephia asked for the review after a police shooting and Baltimore’s mayor says she welcomes the extra eyes.
“The despicable acts of just a few bad actors tarnish the uniforms that they all wear,” Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said.
“The truth hurts, but selective ignorance is fatal,” Davis added.
The initial DOJ report will be out in six to eight weeks, but the feds will stick around for two years to see the city is fixing the problem. U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein noted the majority of officers are good, a comment the commissioner and mayor echoed.
The mayor said several time today, she believes the the problem began before her time in office. She also said the number of lawsuit under her administration has decreased.
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