A Justice Department investigation found that the Baltimore Police Department (BPD) engages in unconstitutional practices that lead to disproportionate rates of stops, searches and arrests of African-Americans, and excessive use of force against juveniles and people with mental health disabilities.
What this means is that according to CNN’s report (below) there is empirical data showing that the Baltimore Police Department has systematically discriminated against African Americans with absolutely NO repercussions for AT LEAST the past six years. This means that African Americans have been criminalized and terrorized all without just cause. A criminal record can cause job loss which leads to economic distress and other missed opportunities. It’s great that this report has been published but what is the Baltimore Police Department doing to make up for all the wrong that it has done to its residents?
This is exactly why reparations are needed within the African American community. To think that we have been subject of this treatment for years & years without any consequence is absolutely reprehensible! What about all the years where racist treatment wasn’t documented? What about all the cops who got promoted based off of unmerited arrests or the bail money that was never refunded from erroneous traffic tickets?
America, this report is not “exception to the rule”! Things like this happen every day to African Americans – we are targeted & treated unjustly all the time. I’m not typing this to incite negativity, but instead am providing proof that those who are sworn to uphold the law don’t always do so. And when they don’t, we as a community suffer.
Wake up America, it’s time that African Americans get paid back for all that they’ve lost at the hand of racism…..
Read the CNN* report (in part) below –
The Department of Justice monitored the department’s policing methods for more than a year at the request of the Baltimore Police Department, after the 2015 death of Freddie Gray, who suffered a fatal injury while in police custody.
The long-awaited report, which covered data from 2010 to 2016, attributed the practices to “systemic deficiencies” in training, policies, and accountability structures that “fail to equip officers with the tools they need to police effectively.”
A DOJ investigation of the Ferguson, Missouri, Police Department after the shooting death of Michael Brown reached a similar conclusion: a “pattern and practice” of discrimination against African-Americans that targeted them disproportionately for traffic stops, use of force, and jail sentences. So did the investigation after the shooting death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice, concluding that Cleveland police have a pattern of excessive force.
As a result of the probe, the city and the Justice Department have agreed to negotiate a court-ordered consent decree that will prescribe steps for reform, in addition to steps Baltimore already has taken, city and federal officials told reporters in Baltimore on Wednesday. In June, the department announced an overhaul of its use of force policy.
“Change is painful. Growth is painful. But nothing is as painful as being stuck in a place that we do not belong,” Police Commissioner Kevin Davis said.
Here are some of the report’s highlights:
Unconstitutional stops and arrests
The report blamed “zero tolerance” enforcement practices that emphasized stops, searches and arrests for repeated violations of constitutional rights that eroded the community’s trust.
Encouraged by BPD supervisors, “zero tolerance” policing continues in certain neighborhoods, leading to unconstitutional stops, searches and arrests, with little to no suspicion, the report said.
- About 44% of those stops occurred in two small predominantly African-American neighborhoods that contain only 11% of the city’s population
- Hundreds of individuals were stopped at least 10 times during this period, and seven were stopped more than 30 times
- Only 3.7% of those stops resulted in citations or arrests
- From 2010 to 2015, prosecutors and booking supervisors rejected more than 11,000 charges made by BPD officers because they lacked probable cause or did not merit prosecution
Discrimination against African-Americans
BPD stops African-American drivers and pedestrians at disproportionate rates, subjecting them to greater rates of searches than whites, the report said, creating racial disparities at every stage of law enforcement actions, from stop to arrest.
“These racial disparities, along with evidence suggesting intentional discrimination, erode the community trust that is critical to effective policing,” the report said.
Among the investigation’s findings:
- African-Americans accounted for 95% of 410 individuals stopped at least 10 times from 2010 to 2016
- One African-American man in his 50s was stopped 30 times in less than four years; none of the stops resulted in a citation or criminal charge
- African-Americans accounted for 82% of all BPD vehicle stops though they make up 60% of the driving age population in the city and 27% percent of the driving age population in the greater metropolitan area
- BPD officers found contraband twice as often when searching white individuals compared to African-Americans during vehicle stops and 50% more often during pedestrian stops
Use of constitutionally excessive force
After reviewing all deadly force cases from January 2010 to May 1, and a random sample of more than 800 than nondeadly force cases, the DOJ concluded that BPD engages in a pattern or practice of excessive force. Insufficient training and lack of oversight of those incidents perpetuate the pattern, leading to several recurring issues:
- Use of overly aggressive tactics that escalate encounters and increase tensions and failure to de-escalate encounters when appropriate to do so
- Frequently resorting to physical force when a person does not immediately respond to verbal commands, even if the subject poses no imminent threat to the officer or others
- Due to a lack of training and improper tactics, BPD officers end up in needlessly violent confrontations with people with mental health disabilities
- Failure to use widely accepted tactics for dealing with juveniles, treating them the same way as adults, leading to unnecessary conflict
- Use of excessive force against people already restrained and under officers’ control
Retaliation for activities protected by the First Amendment
DOJ investigators found that officers “routinely infringe” upon First Amendment rights in the following ways:
- Unlawfully stopping and arresting people for cursing at officers, even though it’s not illegal to use vulgar or offensive language as long as they are not “fighting words”
- Retaliating with excessive force against people in cases of protected speech
- Interfering with people who record police activity, including a time in which officers seized the phone of a man who recorded his friend being arrested and deleted all the videos on his phone, even personal videos of his son
*Originally taken from CNN.