On Wednesday officials of the Department of Justice found that institutional racism was a problem in the Baltimore police department. Shortly thereafter, Baltimore pledged to carry out a sweeping set of reforms after the scathing DOJ report. The report found that a city which is a majority black population had their civil rights violated.
Vanita Gupta, whose a DOJ civil rights division spokesperson, spoke out and said Baltimore and other federal officials have put forth am agreement on a legal set of guidelines for a lot of police department changes that would be reviewed by an independent and bipartisan organization.
The report itself was focused on the department which has 2,600 employees. It found that African American residents were consite toy and frequently subjected to unnecessary stops as pedestrians and car drivers, as well as arrests, strip searches and excessive force.
The report was 163 pages. It was prompted by the Freddie Gray case last April 2015. Gray’s death was one of many in a series of tragic incidents in numerous cities in the last two years that have made people question the connection between racial discrimination and the police.
The Mayor said,
“It’s not going to be easy to reform the department, and it’s not going to be quick.”
She admitted that twenty six procedures have already been changed. Some of which include body camera changes, training, and use of force guidelines. It is expected that these new program implementations will require anywhere between $5-$10 million dollars. Which is quite a steep price.
The report also found that black people were three times more likely to be stopped than white people. While their is no doubt validity to the DOJ investigation their has to be a connection between the fact that the city is more than eighty percent black. Thus, it would make sense if they are stopped more. However, that doesn’t justify excessive force or civil liberty violations.