Baltimore, DOJ to miss consent decree deadline


    Tuesday, November 1st, was the date the city agreed to with the DOJ back in August to complete consent decree negotiations. (WBFF)

    BALTIMORE (WBFF) - This week the City of Baltimore and Department of Justice will both miss the deadline to formalize police reforms.

    Tuesday, November 1st, was the date the city agreed to with the DOJ back in August to complete consent decree negotiations.

    Those on both sides now say three months is not long enough to get the job done.

    With just over a month left in Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake's term, it's not clear whether negotiations between the city and the Department of Justice will be complete before the mayor leaves office in at the beginning of December.

    "This consent decree, this agreement, is going to be an outline for repairing our relationship in full with the police department. If it takes a couple weeks, a couple months longer, I'm fine with that to make sure every I is dotted and every T is crossed," says Councilman Brandon Scott.

    He adds the city council has no say in the matter.

    "It's just the police department and the mayor's folks that are working on it. The rest of us will have to wait for what they do and reach."

    The mayor released a statement Friday calling the November first deadline "aspirational in nature."

    The Department of Justice and mayor's office started working on police reforms in August after the DOJ released a report finding Baltimore police had a pattern of repeatedly violating citizen's first and fourth amendment rights.

    Both sides are still negotiating reforms to resolve the issues outlined in the report.

    The investigation was launched at the request of the mayor after the death of Freddie Gray and subsequent riots and unrest.

    But with her leaving office in December, she may not be the mayor when negotiations are finished.

    "At the police department people will stay the same and there will be a transition period (for the mayor's office)," Councilman Scott says. "The key is getting it right, not about rushing to get something right just for the sake of getting it done before someone gets out of office."

    After the consent decree is finalized, a federal monitor will be appointed to make sure the city complies with the reforms.

    Statement from the mayor:

    "The City of Baltimore continues to negotiate with the Department of Justice to reach a mutually agreeable resolution of the issues outlined in their August 2016 Findings Report.
    As part of the process, the City and DOJ have actively encouraged and received feedback from a wide array of community members, civic leaders, and law enforcement organizations throughout the city in order to find solutions that will create lasting reform within the Baltimore Police Department.
    The parties will not have a negotiated Consent Decree in place by November 1, 2016, a date which was aspirational in nature. The City continues to negotiate collaboratively and in good faith to reach a long term resolution with the Department of Justice that serves the best interests of the citizens of Baltimore."
    -Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake

    Statement from the head of the Civil Rights Division Vanita Gupta

    "The Justice Department continues to have a cooperative relationship with the city of Baltimore and the Baltimore Police Department as we negotiate a comprehensive agreement resolving the issues outlined in our findings report. We received substantial input from residents, civil rights groups, law enforcement and others throughout Baltimore, and the parties are carefully considering these recommendations as negotiations proceed. We understand the importance of moving forward on reform as quickly as possible and are working tirelessly to reach an agreement in the near future."

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