From the New York Times
Justice Department to Release Blistering Report of Racial Bias by Baltimore Police
By RICHARD A. OPPEL Jr., SHERYL GAY STOLBERG and MATT APUZZO AUG. 9, 2016The Justice Department on Wednesday will release a blistering critique of racial discrimination by Baltimore’s police department, the latest example of the Obama administration’s aggressive push for police reforms in cities where young African-American men have died at the hands of law enforcement.The long-awaited findings, coming more than a year after Baltimore erupted into riots over the police-involved death of a 25-year-old black man, Freddie Gray, are sharply critical of policies that encourage officers to charge people with minor crimes to inflate police statistics.The report, a copy of which was obtained by The New York Times, found that the Baltimore police for years has hounded black residents who comprise most of the city’s population, systematically stopping, searching and arresting them, often with little provocation or rationale, and in doing so, destroying the trust and confidence of residents.To show how officers disproportionately stopped black pedestrians, the report cited the example of a black man in his mid-50s who was stopped 30 times in less than four years. None of the stops led to a citation or criminal charge. Black residents, the report said, accounted for 95 percent of the 410 individuals stopped at least 10 times in the five and a half years of data reviewed.The most pronounced racial disparities were in arrests for the most discretionary offenses: For example, 91 percent of those arrested solely for “failure to obey” or “trespassing” were African-American, even though the city is 63 percent black, the report found.In one telling anecdote from the report, a shift commander provided officers with boilerplate language on how to write up trespassing arrest reports of people found near housing projects. The template contained an automatic description of the arrestee: “A BLACK MALE.”“The supervisor’s template thus presumes that individuals arrested for trespassing will be African-American,” the report stated, describing the sort of detentions the language was intended to facilitate as “facially unconstitutional.”…
Two weeks ago, Maryland prosecutors dropped charges against the last of six police officers charged in the April 2015 death of Mr. Gray, who sustained a fatal spinal cord injury while in custody. With that, Baltimore joined a growing list of cities where police-involved deaths sparked outrage, and even riots, yet no one was held accountable in court.
If rioters don’t get what they want from courts of justice, then the Obama Administration must take action to make sure that the looters are happy.
Now accountability may come in a more far-reaching form.
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