Congressman astounded by Baltimore police report

Cheryl Sanders
August 11, 2016

Ian Duncan of the Baltimore Sun reports, "The conclusion by the Justice Department that the Baltimore Police Department routinely violated people's civil rights is expected to launch a reform process that is likely to take years and cost tens of millions of dollars".

The report represents a damning indictment of how the city's police officers carry out the most fundamental of policing practices, including traffic stops and searches. "It doesn't matter what you do". Lt. Rice was the fourth officer to stand trial was tried after Judge Williams, who is black, previously acquitted Officers Edward Nero and Caesar Goodson Jr. of all charges. "We're provoking them. Just because they wear the uniform doesn't give them the right to do whatever they want to do". Officers often arrest people who are standing in front of private businesses or public housing projects, the report notes, unless they are able to satisfactorily "justify" their presence there.

"One day I was walking down the street to the store, and one of them jumped out on me and forced me to empty my pockets". They were looking for drugs.

"They choked me out, they beat me", she said.

Kevin Davis, Baltimore's police commissioner, said that he regards the report as a means of improving the police force.

But to many in the community, the findings weren't surprising.

"I am very, very concerned by some of the information contained in this detailed report", Davis said.

The commissioner and Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake promised the report would serve as a blueprint for sweeping changes. That decree, which would lay out reforms that could be enforced by the courts, likely will not be finalized for many months. BPD received several tips about these officers from sex workers and other police departments, but either failed to properly investigate the allegations, delayed them, or ignored them altogether.

Newnewshawna Scott, 30, said she once watched a police officer chase a boy and hurl him over a fence.

"It's not going to be easy to reform the department, and it's not going to be quick", the mayor said.

A report released by the Department of Justice today states that blacks in Baltimore, located less than an hour from our nation's capital in Washington, account for roughly 84 percent of all stops. More than 400 people were stopped more than 10 times in a five-and-a-half-year period-95 percent of whom were black.

Police make 520 pedestrian stops for every 1,000 black residents, but only 180 stops for every 1,000 white residents, the report finds. No individuals of any other race were stopped more than 12 times.

Concerns about policing in the city of about 620,000 people are not new, but there has been a greater focus on law enforcement with Baltimore tallying a record number of homicides a year ago and the high-profile death of an African-American man while he was being transported in a police van. At least 15 of those stops, he said, were to check for outstanding warrants. None of the stops resulted in charges. Additionally, the department found that officers often use excessive force, including against juveniles and the mentally disabled.

The report further criticizes the department for using what it says are overly aggressive tactics that only escalate situations. Ifill says it is instructive that the legacy of "zero tolerance policing" is identified as the key source of the systematic unconstitutional conduct. "Yeah" the male officer replied, a female officer proceeding to search her anal cavity with a latex glove before releasing her without a criminal charge. In one instance, a supervisor told a subordinate officer to "make something up" after the officer protested an order to stop and question a group of young black men for no reason. Black people accounted for 91 percent of all those charged exclusively with trespassing or failure to obey; 89 percent of people charged for making false statements to an officer; and 84 person of those charged with disorderly conduct.

"In the words of Cesare Beccaria in 1738, 'Liberty is at an end whenever the law permits that in certain cases a man may cease to be a person and become a thing.' The black community has screamed in the dark about this reality", Wood told Sputnik.

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