DOJ Committed to Baltimore Police Reform Under Trump

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Even though the Donald Trump presidency has begun, the U.S. Department of Justice assured a federal judge in Baltimore yesterday that it remains fully committed to sweeping police reforms in the consent decree the city agreed to under the Obama administration, the Baltimore Sun reports. “It endures across shifting political winds,” said Timothy Mygatt, DOJ deputy chief of special litigation for civil rights. “It allows there to be surety for all parties involved that there’s going to be consistency.” Mayor Catherine Pugh and attorneys for the city said they were equally dedicated to the deal, despite the potentially high cost.

Questions from U.S. District Judge James Bredar reflected concerns from reform advocates that the Trump administration or the city would try to back out of the deal. The judge said the court does not “operate on a four-year cycle,” but on long-standing laws, and that he would be hesitant to issue a court order approving the deal without commitments from both parties to seeing it through. “I want to make sure those lines are crystal clear before we launch into this marriage,” he said. Later, he said there was a problem with the marriage analogy: once the consent decree is signed, there is “no opportunity for divorce.” The consent decree follows a lengthy investigation by the Justice Department into police practices in the city.

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