Justice Dept. Releases Scathing Assessment of Baltimore Police

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Baltimore police routinely violated the constitutional rights of residents by conducting unlawful stops and using excessive force, reports the Baltimore Sun. That was a key finding of a long-anticipated Justice Department report to be released Wednesday. The practices overwhelmingly affected the city’s black residents in low-income neighborhoods, according to the 163-page report. In often scathing language, the report identified systemic problems and cited detailed examples. Investigators found that “supervisors have issued explicitly discriminatory orders, such as directing a shift to arrest ‘all the black hoodies’ in a neighborhood.”

They also found that black residents were more likely to be stopped and searched as pedestrians and drivers even though police were more likely to find illegal guns, illicit drugs and other contraband on white residents. Police practices in Baltimore “perpetuate and fuel a multitude of issues rooted in poverty and race, focusing law enforcement actions on low-income, minority communities” and encourage officers to have “unnecessary, adversarial interactions with community members,” the report said.

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