New DOJ Report: Baltimore Cops Are 'Racist, Violent & Lawless'
A recent Justice Department report has revealed that Baltimore police officers routinely discriminate against black people, as well as repeatedly use excessive force and are not adequately held accountable for misconduct.
Courtesy of The New York Times, the report said officers tend to make large numbers of stops — mostly in poor, black neighborhoods — with little to no justification for arresting people in those areas.
An example is provided in the piece where, during a ride along with Justice Department officials, a sergeant instructed a patrol officer to stop a group of young black males on a street corner, question them and order them to disperse.
“When the patrol officer protested that he had no valid reason to stop the group the sergeant replied, ‘Then make something up.’ This incident is far from anomalous,” the report said.
The report also addressed the handling of repeated misconduct, citing one officer that received 125 complaints alleging serious misconduct with ‘remarkably similar facts’ — subjecting citizens to unwarranted strip and cavity searches in public — but only one complaint was sustained.
The investigation began after the death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man whose neck was broken while he was handcuffed and shackled, but left unrestrained in the back of a police van. The fact that three of the police officers involved in Gray’s death have been acquitted (most recently Lt. Brian Rice, the officer that placed Gray into the van after he was shackled), speaks to the importance of this report and the commentary and critiques it offers.
Although the report tells us what most minorities across the country were already aware of, it does show a progression in how the DOJ are finally addressing this nation wide epidemic. Hopefully, such articles will serve as a blueprint for much needed changes; the Justice Department has conducted similar investigations into the police in Chicago, Cleveland, Albuquerque and Ferguson, among other cities.