The Slatest

DOJ’s Scathing Report Finds Baltimore Police Routinely Violate Residents’ Constitutional Rights

Riot police stand guard on April 28, 2015, in Baltimore.

Andrew Burton/Getty Images

The Department of Justice has wrapped up its civil rights investigation into the Baltimore police; the 163-page report of the agency’s findings is expected to be released on Wednesday, and it appears to be damning. The city’s police force was found to flout the constitutional rights of Baltimore’s predominantly black residents, making unlawful stops and using excessive force.

Here’s more on what the scathing DOJ report found via the Baltimore Sun:

The investigators found that “supervisors have issued explicitly discriminatory orders, such as directing a shift to arrest ‘all the black hoodies’ in a neighborhood.” They also found that black residents were more likely to be stopped and searched as pedestrians and drivers even though police were more likely to find illegal guns, illicit drugs and other contraband on white residents. Police practices in Baltimore “perpetuate and fuel a multitude of issues rooted in poverty and race, focusing law enforcement actions on low-income, minority communities” and encourage officers to have “unnecessary, adversarial interactions with community members,” the report said…

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The report noted that officers recorded more than 300,000 pedestrian stops from January 2010 to May 2015. Roughly 44 percent were made in two small, predominantly African-American districts that contain 11 percent of the city’s population, and seven black men were stopped more than 30 times each.

The DOJ investigation was initiated following the April 2015 death of Freddie Gray while in police custody and the report is the next step in the process of a wider Justice Department effort to enact policing reforms in the city. Similar investigations have taken place in Ferguson, Missouri, following the 2014 killing of Michael Brown, as well as in dozens of other cities.

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