Baltimore’s Consent Decree Will Not Lead to Reform

by: Ken Morgan Special to the AFRO
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It matters not whether the “Consent Decree” between the Baltimore City Police and the U.S. Justice Department is delayed.  It matters not whether Mayor Pugh and Police Commissioner Davis desires not to delay the U.S. Justice Department’s request.  Do we really believe what Mayor Pugh said given her renege on the $15 an hour minimum age?

kenneth-o-morgan
Ken Morgan

The history of “Consent Decrees” by no means is a panacea according to the Marshall Project, an award winning journalist organization that focuses on the criminal justice system.

Closer scrutiny of attempts to ameliorate police misconduct show some cites preferring to challenge allegations in federal court.  Making police reforms last continues.  Too often new reforms disappear soon after their arrival.  Thought to be fixed problems reappear.  Only a small number of cases of the nearly 18,000 police departments are investigated.  Grants continue to flow to police departments with recurring police misconduct issues.

Attorney General Session, no sweetheart to civil rights groups, is only carrying out President Trump’s demagogic law and order campaign promises.  They represented efforts to get votes from miseducated working and middle class whites and some wayward black folks.  One Trump nugget is to proclaim, “the individual misdeeds of bad actors should not impugn” the work police officers perform “in keeping American communities safe.”

Regarding the Baltimore Consent Decree, many of the points of the decree agreement are mild at best.  How many times do the police need to be trained?  What training ever stopped police misconduct?  What sense does it make to require officers to carry both a lethal and nonlethal weapon?

How can you determine whether a chokehold is necessary?  Many of the agreements and prohibitions are judgment calls where officials and judges usually agree with the officer.  There is no mention of the Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights.  Although not in the decree, what difference does it make if a white, black, or Latino cop brutalizes you or commits some form of police misconduct?  Why was States Attorney Mosby excoriated because she brought charges against the six police officers?

Need we be concerned with what Baltimore community activists think about the delay?  Yes.  We need to persuade them that the organized post Freddie Gray “Baltimore Uprising” and the preceding police invoked riots brought about the decree in the first place.  We do see that organized community pressure sometimes makes a difference.  Independently organize, organize!

Many of us continue to understand the role of the police.  More of us need to know.  It is not a pretty picture.

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