Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, attempted to put on hold an Obama-era agreement between the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the City of Baltimore to bring reform to its police force. But a federal judge blocked the attorney general’s request to delay the agreement. Sessions responded to the federal judge saying, “Today, a federal court entered a consent decree that will require the court and a highly-paid monitor to govern every detail of how the Baltimore Police Department functions for the foreseeable future.” Sessions, the nation’s top law enforcement officer, believes the Obama reform will make the city “less safe.”
“This decree was negotiated during a rushed process by the previous administration and signed only days before they left office. While the Department of Justice continues to fully support police reform in Baltimore, I have grave concerns that some provisions of this decree will reduce the lawful powers of the police department and result in a less safe city,” the attorney general said.
Session had filed a request in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland on Monday asking for 90 more days to review the pact with the Baltimore Police Department. U.S. District Judge, James K. Bredar, denied the DOJ request on Thursday. Sessions believes that the new agreement contains “clear departures from many proven principles of good policing.” Jeff Sessions continued by saying, “Make no mistake, Baltimore is facing a violent crime crisis. Baltimore has seen a 22 percent increase in violent crime in just the last year. The citizens of Baltimore deserve to see a real and lasting reduction in the fast-rising violent crime threatening their city.”
This process of reform began after Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man, died after suffering injuries while in police custody in April 2015. Gray’s death triggered riots in Baltimore and was a catalyst for a national debate over the relationship between minority communities and law enforcement. The Attorney General wanted more time to ensure that the reform would not undermine the Trump administration’s goal of promoting police officer safety and morale while doing their duty to fight violent crime in our cities.
What do you think about this latest example of federal judges blocking the president’s plan to fulfill his goals?