Baltimore Maryland police are broken and reform will take years and millions

Justice Department says the Baltimore Police Department routinely violated people's civil rights and that the reform process that is likely to take years and cost tens of millions of dollars.

Police stand watch during the Baltimore riots. (Photo: VOA)

WASHINGTON, Aug. 10, 2016 – A report released by the Department of Justice today states that blacks in Baltimore, located less than an hour from our nation’s capital in Washington, account for roughly 84 percent of all stops. However, blacks are only 63 percent of the city’s population.

African-Americans make up 95 percent of the 410 people stopped at least 10 times by officers from 2010-15 with officers stopping 34 black residents 20 times, and seven individual African-Americans 30 times or more.

One man who spoke to investigators said he was stopped 30 times in less than four years, mostly so that officers could check for outstanding warrants, despite the facts that the man was not acting unlawfully and that none of the stops resulted in his being charged.

They were simply harassment.

The reports also details that BPD officers would routinely perform pat-downs and unconstitutional public strip searches of persons who were not under arrest, using unreasonable and excessive force.  These actions were directed toward persons who were not acting suspiciously, offered no suggestion of dangerous actions and did not pose any immediate threat.

“BPD teaches officers to use aggressive tactics,” the report said. “BPD’s trainings fuel an `us vs. them’ mentality we saw some officers display toward community members, alienating the civilians they are meant to serve.”

Ian Duncan of the Baltimore Sun reports, “The conclusion by the Justice Department that the Baltimore Police Department routinely violated people’s civil rights is expected to launch a reform process that is likely to take years and cost tens of millions of dollars. Dozens of similar reviews around the country suggest a road map for the city. In some cases, senior…

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