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Published: Thu, April 06, 2017
U.S. | By Rene Hicks

Judge blocks request to delay police hearing

Judge blocks request to delay police hearing

The consent decrees, including the one in Ferguson, are settlements to lawsuits that the Justice Department brought against police departments and city governments. The Department of Justice released a detailed report on Chicago's police in the days before President Donald Trump was inaugurated, calling for reforms but leaving no time for a court-enforced agreement to be worked out with Obama's administration.

The consent decree - which the territory agreed to carry out - is aimed at correcting that situation.

North Charleston Police Department spokesman Spencer Pryor said Tuesday that the agency had not heard of any shifts as a result of the development, adding that officials still "look forward to working with the DOJ on this project". The consent decree called for a Civilian Review Board to examine allegations of police misconduct.

The Justice Department's 90-day postponement request came after a directive from the USA attorney general's office to review police department reform efforts underway in several cities to ensure the measures fit with the Trump administration's goals of fighting violent crime.

"Local control and local accountability are necessary for effective local policing", Sessions wrote.

"And so that report was sort of the first step towards getting to sort of the practical solution side of things, which was the consent decree". It was created to address what Obama's Justice Department considered systemic issues with how officers use force and how the police department handles investigations into those incidents.

It was a federal consent decree in the wake of the Rampart scandal that played a key role in transforming the LAPD, said attorney Gerald Chaleff, who oversaw implementation of the decree. "Amid this intense public scrutiny and criticism, their morale has gone down, while the number of police officers killed in the line of duty has gone up". While we can not know with certainty what the new Administration will do regarding the consent decree, there is a substantial chance it may be somehow delayed. "There were dozens of cases we wanted to do but couldn't because we didn't have the staff", Smith said of his police reform work at the DOJ.

In a recent memo, Attorney General Jeff Sessions ordered the review of all Department of Justice activities to ensure they promote the safety of the community and police officers and that the "misdeeds of individual bad actors" do not "impugn or undermine" the work of local departments, among other stated principles.

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The city's police commissioner said Baltimore will launch the process with or without the federal government's guidance.

Loomis, a Trump supporter whose union endorsed the NY businessman and reality star's bid for the presidency, has said the union's attorneys are looking into ways to change the reform agreement, which might be hard since the union is not a party to the case.

Jim Pasco, executive director of the Fraternal Order of Police, America's largest police union, doesn't think police violations of civil rights is a major problem. "I say absolutely not".

During the Obama years, the DOJ launched a total of 25 probes into local law enforcement agencies to examine issues like deadly use of force and relations between police and minority communities.

Officials in Baltimore and Chicago are ready to go ahead with police reforms despite signals that the Trump Administration is willing to forgo pending federal agreements that would enforce changes. That report offered a variety of potential solutions. This case was negotiated, and the city and Justice Department came to the conclusion that this was the best thing to do.

"If a consent decree is warranted, a consent decree should be imposed", Pasco said.

Richards estimated that the territory has spent approximately $10 million on the consent decree since the judge signed off on it in March 2009. The politicians and the cops and the local Black Misleadership Class get to pat each other on the back for reaching agreements around peripheral issues like body cameras - while poor Black communities get more mass incarceration. He said he believes police are making progress.

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