Civil rights groups alarmed over retreat on police reforms

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Civil rights groups alarmed over retreat on police reforms

In mid-January, the DOJ announced that it had reached a consent decree with the Baltimore Police Department and an agreement with the Chicago Police Department to pursue a decree just days before Trump's inauguration. "And when there are violations, they are empowered to go in and sue, and so it is their mandate to try and protect the civil liberties of people like the citizens of Baltimore, for whom the consent decree actually stated that their rights under federal law were being violated by the Baltimore Police Department". Maybe he thinks that local police officials-police chiefs and superintendents-somehow don't know what they're talking about when they embrace the need for reform.

A sweeping new Department of Justice directive calling for the review of dozens of agreements between police departments and the federal government is raising alarms among police reform advocates around the country, with critics arguing that the Trump White House is dead-set on undoing hard-won criminal justice achievements.

"It is not the responsibility of the federal government to manage non-federal law enforcement agencies", the memo says.

Sessions writes that the objective of the review is to "ensure that they fully and effectively promote the principles" Sessions says should be at the core of the Department of Justice.

Vanita Gupta was the acting head of the Civil Rights Division from October 2014 until President Barack Obama left office. "And it's going to go to trial, but instead there's just an agreement that this is a settlement, and a consent decree usually involves one side, the defendant, agreeing to take certain steps to remedy the problem".

These agreements, known as "consent decrees", were key tools in the previous Justice Department's reform efforts, compelling police departments to enact certain reforms under penalty of court action.

Sessions' memo also is likely to figure prominently in the resolution of the federal government's investigation into the Chicago Police Department.

In New Orleans, the man appointed to oversee the reforms of that city's police department said the agreement there still stands.

Police reform in Chicago could be put on hold if U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions gets his way. After all, Jeff Sessions did not even bother to read the Justice Department's damning report on Chicago policing. "Maybe they haven't studied the facts or researched the laws quite enough".

The filing echoed a far-ranging memo made public Monday that called for an immediate "review of all Department activities", including "existing or contemplated consent decrees", which were a staple of the Obama administration's efforts to overhaul agencies after racially charged incidents.

A consent decree binds the police commissioner and mayor, no matter who they are, "to getting those reforms enacted under a timeline that's not necessarily our own", he said. This was supposed to be a hearing where the public would be able to express its thoughts on the agreement.

The Justice Department needs the 90 days to review the agreement as it develops strategies to support law enforcement agencies throughout the USA, lawyers for the department said in a motion filed in United States District Court for the District of Maryland. Officials wrote that a postponement "would only serve to undermine, not build, public trust in the reform process".

The Justice Department declined to comment on Bredar's ruling.

"[Under a decree] they are not subject to political winds or the issue or the emergency of the day, they are always there and they will always require our attention", Davis said.

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