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Dept. of Justice walkback won't impact deal made with Warren PD

06 April 2017

Sessions, an Alabama Republican who cultivated a tough-on-crime reputation during 20 years in the Senate, has repeatedly expressed concern that lengthy investigations of a police department can malign an entire agency.

MARTIN: This week, Jeff Sessions ordered a review of the Justice Department's police reform agreements.

While "local control and local accountability are necessary for effective policing, it is not the responsibility of the federal government to manage non-federal law enforcement agencies", he said. Sessions's memo orders the DOJ to review these orders and assist the agencies in promoting, "a peaceful and lawful society, where the civil rights of all persons are protected". The police union suggested that the Trump administration halt the implementation of a series of law enforcement reforms proposed by the Obama administration and to reverse a prohibition on racial profiling installed by the Bush administration, according to the FOP's official website. That request came just days before a hearing, scheduled for Thursday in the United States District Court in Baltimore, to solicit public comment on the agreement, which was reached in principle by the city and the Justice Department in the waning days of the Obama administration. But it should also reassure civil rights activists that Republicans care about the civil rights of criminal suspects. The attorney general previously opposed the agreements, which are considered a legacy of the Obama administration. "This review and potential reversal represents a potentially catastrophic, life-or-death outcome for cities where citizens feel like they're under siege".

"We expected them to take that position because President Trump told us prior to the election when we met with him, prior to our endorsement", Loomis said.

In January, the outgoing administration agreed to a decree with Baltimore.

Twenty-four hours after Attorney General Jeff Sessions threatened to unravel federal agreements addressing police reform efforts nationwide, Mayor Ed Murray promised Tuesday to fight in court any effort to turn back Seattle's overhaul of its police department.

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Baltimore's mayor and police commissioner say they want to transform law enforcement in a city that became emblematic of police abuses, excessive force and callous treatment of young black men.

Davis said his department has already made changes in response to the scathing 2016 report detailing the Justice Department's finding that Baltimore police engaged in a pattern and practice of discriminatory and unconstitutional policing.

Some reform advocates say Chicago won't be able to overhaul its 12,000-officer police force without court oversight. And in signaling a possible retreat from consent decrees, Sessions advanced what has been dubbed the "Ferguson effect" — the unproven theory that heavy scrutiny of police has made them less aggressive, leading to a spike in crime in cities like Chicago.

Reacting to the news last night, Mayor Catherine Pugh released a statement joining Davis in opposing delay. "Indeed, the City Council is now moving forward to finalize details of the reform package, and the ACLU is supporting a strong, independent voice for the Community Police Commission".

He says the hearing had been jointly requested by the Justice Department and the city.

The department said it was aware of the need for police reform in Baltimore but added that the city "has made progress toward reform on its own and, as a outcome, it may be possible to take these changes into account where appropriate to ensure future compliance while protecting public safety".

Dept. of Justice walkback won't impact deal made with Warren PD