Findings of Investigation into Baltimore Police Department Released, Agreement Reached

On Wednesday, the Justice Department announced “that it found reasonable cause to believe that the Baltimore City Police Department (BPD) engages in a pattern or practice of conduct that violates the First and Fourth Amendments of the Constitution as well as federal anti-discrimination laws.”  As noted in the press release, the report found that BPD “engages in a pattern or practice of:

  1. making unconstitutional stops, searches, and arrests
  2. using enforcement strategies that produce severe and unjustified disparities in the rates of searches and arrests of African Americans
  3. using excessive force; and
  4. retaliating against people engaging in constitutionally-protected expression.”

According to the Justice Department, “The pattern or practice results from systemic deficiencies that have persisted within BPD for many years and has exacerbated community distrust of the police, particularly in the African-American community.”

In light of these findings, the city and the department have entered into an agreement in principle in which they commit to working together “with the many communities that make up the City to ensure that the BPD delivers services in a manner that respects the rights of residents, increases trust between officers and the communities they serve, and promotes public and officer safety.”

Both the Full Report and the Agreement in Principle can be found in the HSDL.