Justice Department Reaches Agreement with City of Baltimore to Reform Police Department’s Unconstitutional Practices
January 12, 2017
“Under the consent decree, the city and BPD will implement comprehensive reforms to end the legacy of Baltimore’s ‘zero tolerance’ policing,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Civil Rights Division. “In its place, BPD will empower its officers to engage in proactive, community-oriented policing. And given our experiences in many other cities, I firmly believe that when focused, measurable and detailed reforms are implemented effectively, they restore community trust and advance officer and public safety.”
This investigation was conducted by the Civil Rights Division’s Special Litigation Section with the assistance of law enforcement professionals pursuant to the pattern or practice provision of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994. Since 2009, the Special Litigation Section has opened 25 investigations into law enforcement agencies. The section is enforcing 20 agreements with law enforcement agencies, including 15 consent decrees and one post-judgment order.
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Gupta oversaw federal investigations of the Baltimore Police Department.
As head of the civil rights division during the Obama administration, Gupta oversaw the use of “pattern-or-practice” investigations of police departments alleged to engage in frequent abuses.
“Our [consent decrees]… I think, really do serve as blueprints for communities around the country…” Vanita Gupta head of Obama’s Civil Rights Division at the U.S. Department of Justice until January 20, 2017
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