Judge blocks request to delay police hearing

Baltimore leaders want reform say agreement is crucial

Baltimore leaders want reform say agreement is crucial

The Justice Department's request for a 90-day pause to review the Baltimore consent decree case ahead of Thursday's public hearing has been denied by a federal judge, the Baltimore Sun reports.

The Justice Department declined to comment on the decision.

Bredar, a former federal public defender overseeing the pending agreement, pointed out that the United States government had already signed it following an extensive civil rights investigation into Baltimore's police force.

"We were told we are coming out of this faster than most other communities that have gone through these things", Hicks said.

"We don't believe delay is necessary", Ralph said.

"Please move forward on this.

Accordingly, the MOTION FOR CONTINUANCE OF PUBLIC FAIRNESS HEARING (EFC No. 23) is DENIED", his order reads in part. It found that the BPD routinely engaged in racist and discriminatory policing.

Ralph also said the consent decree includes crucial provisions that call for new technology and resources for the department. He also noted that the Justice Department had not offered any evidence that holding the hearing as scheduled would harm its interests.

Baltimore Police Department Commissioner Kevin Davis, right, speaks alongside Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh at a news conference at City Hall in Baltimore Tuesday, April 4, 2017, in response to the Department of Justice's request for a 90-day delay of a hearing on its proposed overhaul of the Baltimore Police Department.

The Justice Department asked for a delay earlier this week, saying it needed time to review the plan and determine whether the proposal would hinder efforts to fight violent crime. U.S. District Judge James Bredar said the hearing would go on as scheduled Thursday.

Prudence Johnson urged the judge to sign the court-enforceable agreement, known as a consent decree.

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Baltimore officials are telling a federal judge they want to move forward with a plan to overhaul the city's troubled police department despite a Justice Department request to delay it.

Two mothers spoke of their sons being shot and killed by Baltimore police officers in past years.

"Why are we waiting until something bad happens instead of taking the proactive approach and trying to prevent stuff and trying to increase the professionalization and view of police generally?" But without the pressure to comply with a consent decree will that be enough? "We need reform in this city, especially in the use of force, to [encourage] de-escalation". "There's no sleight of hand", Davis said.

Outside the courtroom, she slumped on a couch and wailed in the arms of a loved one.

That process is not hindered by the public hearing, Bredar observed.

Last month, a dozen organizations and roughly 50 residents submitted almost 200 pages of written comments on the proposed agreement. Most of the written comments were in favor of the deal, with a few suggestions for tweaks, and a few were opposed to it.

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Others who took to the podium included a retired police officer from a Baltimore suburb who lives in the city, a lawyer who said an officer threatened "to pull me through the window of my car" during a traffic stop and a resident who said she watched children playing and heard one boy pretending to be a police officer yell, "Get out of your auto or I'll shoot you".

The agreement was the product of a investigation of the Baltimore Police Department following the death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man whose neck was broken in a police transport wagon. "Let's look at who asked for these decrees", she said. "Like I always say, I want Officer Friendly to come back", Johnson said.

"Crime and violence are the problems that face Chicago, not the police". When we had rec parties, the police came out to contribute. "But they were great role models in our communities".