Baltimore’s Efforts At Police Reform Faces A New Examination

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An accounting of Baltimore’s efforts to reform its troubled police force is scheduled for Friday, nearly one year after the city signed a consent decree promising to make changes. This comes as the city confronts yet another case of alleged police excessive force.

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Baltimore signed an agreement with the federal government in April 2017 pledging to enact a range of policing reforms, including community oversight and retraining. The consent decree arose from a scathing 2016 Justice Department report that uncovered systemic racial bias and excessive force in the police department.

U.S. District Judge James K. Bredar, who approved the agreement, wants to know whether Baltimore has made progress, according to the Baltimore Sun.

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Meanwhile, Baltimore is getting tested on whether it will continue to look the other way in the face of evidence that officers used excessive force to make an arrest.

The Baltimore City Civilian Review Board, the agency that reviews police complaints, concluded on Wednesday that four officers went too far when they shot at a suspect more than 40 times in June 2015. But it was unclear if officials will heed the board’s recommendation to punish the officers, WBAL-TV reported

Police responding to a robbery call cornered Keith Davis Jr. inside a garage after a chase. The cops decided to go in firing, even though Davis was not firing at them. They had ample opportunity to de-escalate the situation but failed to do so, the board concluded.

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Investigators connected a weapon found in the garage to a fatal shooting earlier that day, and they charged Davis with murder.

The board recommended firing two of the officers and suspending two others for 30 days.

Baltimore’s State’s Attorney Office issued a statement following the board’s recommendation that didn’t indicate which way it was leaning on punishing the officers. The statement, however, vowed that the murder case against Davis will move forward.

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