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Justice Department Finds Racial Bias in Baltimore Police

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Baltimore’s black residents feel vindicated after the Justice Department issues report that confirms police are racially biased there.  The report concluded that after looking at more than six years of police records, Baltimore police systematically pull over, search, and arrest African Americans without cause.  Calling the practices, “unconstitutional,” the report goes on to say that the use of force against minorities is excessive.  According to the report, a 1990s “zero tolerance” policy in police departments increased the number of unconstitutional violations within predominantly minority neighborhoods.  The report showed that, between 2010 and 2016, 95% of stops involving African Americans occurred more than 10 times for each person.  Police used excessive force with black juveniles and those with mental illness.

The mayor and Baltimore Police Department requested the inquiry by the DOJ, following the death of Freddie Gray in 2015.  Gray died from a broken neck while being transported to a police station in the back of a van.  State Attorney Marilyn Mosby was visibly angry by the outcome of the trials and having to drop charges against the rest.

Time To Fix The Problem

African Americans in Baltimore are still reeling from the acquittals of two police officers in the Freddie Gray case last month.  Charges were dropped against the remaining three officers sparking additional protests in the city.  Baltimore residents, government, and the police department now have the difficult task of rebuilding trust with each other.  Reacting to the DOJ’s recommendations in a proactive and immediate way will help to lay the groundwork for that trust.  In an interview with MSNBC, Mayor Rawlings-Blake said, “We have to figure out how we can repair this relationship, because that is how we will see a much safer city.”  She estimated that the cost to the city could reach $10 million a year to make the needed changes.

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