Contact: Evan Serpick
The Open Society Institute-Baltimore welcomes this morning’s announcement that the City and the U.S. Department of Justice have reached agreement on a consent decree requiring reforms of the Baltimore Police Department.
“The signing of this consent decree is a critical step in the process of transforming the culture and practices of the Baltimore Police Department, regardless of changes in administrations at the local, state, or federal level,” said OSI-Baltimore Director Diana Morris. “We are committed to the success of the consent decree and will continue to work with the City, Baltimore Police Department and communities to build a city where all residents feel respected and safe.”
OSI-Baltimore applauds Mayor Catherine Pugh, Police Commissioner Kevin Davis, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, and Department of Justice Civil Rights Division head Vanita Gupta for working together to bring the consent decree to fruition. OSI-Baltimore particularly commends the many Baltimore residents who communicated their concerns and suggestions to the Department of Justice throughout the investigation and consent decree process, either electronically or at a series of public hearings, including one at OSI-Baltimore’s office.
In addition, OSI-Baltimore brought together advocates with the Department of Justice investigators and has provided support to the Baltimore Police Department to begin to implement reforms. It has also provided funding to six community and advocacy organizations (Baltimore Action Legal Team, Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle, CASA, ACLU of Maryland, Power Inside, and No Boundaries) so that they could contribute fully to the investigation and to subsequent reform efforts. OSI-Baltimore will continue to support the Baltimore Police Department and community groups working to improve policing in Baltimore.