BALTIMORE (AP) — The Latest on a proposed federal consent decree to reform Baltimore’s police department (all times local):
Some Baltimore citizens say they want assurances that a still-confidential federal consent decree to improve policing in the city ensures better relations with the community.
Three people testified Thursday before the city’s Board of Estimates voted to approve the agreement, to be made public later in the day. They commented without having been able to see the decree.
Their concerns include a lack of public participation thus far, and a desire to have police better serve vulnerable citizens and victims of sexual assaults.
Democratic City Council President Jack Young, a member of the board, says there will be a hearing to allow for public comment on the agreement before it’s approved by the court.
Democratic Mayor Catherine Pugh says the Board of Estimates approval is “only the beginning” of the process.
The city of Baltimore has approved an agreement with the U.S. Justice Department to reform its police department following the death of a young, black man fatally injured in officers’ custody.
The city’s five-member Board of Estimates voted unanimously Thursday in favor of the agreement.
Democratic City Council President Jack Young, a member of the board, said there will be a hearing to allow for public comment on the agreement before it’s approved by the court.
Democratic Mayor Catherine Pugh said the document would be posted online later Thursday morning for the public to review.
Nearly two years after the death of a young black man in Baltimore police custody exposed systemic failures within the department that included excessive force, racial discrimination and illegal arrests, city officials are expected to agree with federal officials on court-enforceable reforms.
A consent decree, which will be announced at a joint news conference with Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh and U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch, will be filed in U.S. District Court after it’s approved by the city’s spending panel Thursday.
The agreement comes after months of negotiations between city and federal officials over how best to repair deep problems in the city’s policing, which for years violated the civil rights of some of Baltimore’s most vulnerable residents.
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