BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A federal review of police brutality incidents is underway. The Department of Justice is out in Baltimore, talking to people who just don’t trust police officers.
Christie Ileto explains what the Department of Justice is doing in our city.
This was the first public gathering in which Baltimore residents could voice their concerns about city police to the Department of Justice–and they did not hold back.
The conversations are candid and, at times, ominous.
“If you don’t protect these people, I will arm them and teach them how to protect themselves against you,” one man said.
Residents voiced concerns to the Department of Justice about Baltimore police misconduct and allegations of brutality. The feds are reviewing city police policies.
“It’s a wide range of things that we look at when we go inside a department,” said Rob Chapman, U.S. Department of Justice.
They won’t go into detail, but say recommendations revolve around officer accountability and when to execute use of force.
“The police have an attitude that they are above the law,” said Nakia Washington.
The forum comes days after the department’s most recent incident–a violent arrest caught on tape–that left a 27-year-old man fighting for his life at Shock Trauma.
Freddie Gray was apparently still conscious when police arrested him. Hours later, his family snaps photos in the ICU.
His stepfather tells WJZ by text: “They won’t know how he’s doing until he wakes up from surgery.”
A special investigation by The Baltimore Sun and WJZ uncovered more than 100 people had won settlements alleging police brutality.
“I will not tolerate misconduct. That’s building trust,” said Baltimore City Police Commissioner Anthony Batts.
“Do you think the trust is beyond repair, or is it fixable?” asked Christie Ileto.
“Everything is fixable if the will is there to do it,” responded Will Hanna, New Park Heights Association.
The Department of Justice says it expects to have a report with recommendations sometime in the next eight-to-nine months.
In a statement, the mayor says she welcomes the Department of Justice’s assessment and that she is determined not to let a small handful of bad actors tarnish the reputation of officers who put their lives in danger.