Groups seek greater voice in city po­lice re­forms

Baltimore Sun - - MARYLAND -

A coali­tion of com­mu­nity groups in Bal­ti­more is call­ing for greater trans­parency and com­mu­nity in­put in re­form­ing the Bal­ti­more Po­lice Depart­ment, is­su­ing a list of rec­om­men­da­tions to U.S. Depart­ment of Jus­tice of­fi­cials work­ing to­ward a con­sent de­cree with city of­fi­cials. The Cam­paign for Jus­tice, Safety and Jobs — which claims 30 or­ga­ni­za­tions as mem­bers, in­clud­ing the ACLU of Mary­land and lo­cal NAACP chap­ters — wrote in a let­ter to the fed­eral agency that it does not be­lieve true re­form will take place “un­til the cur­rent sys­tems of ac­count­abil­ity al­low for and en­cour­age ro­bust civil­ian par­tic­i­pa­tion and over­sight” of the po­lice depart­ment. “No in­di­vid­ual or col­lec­tive body can mea­sure the ex­tent to which Bal­ti­more’s polic­ing sys­tems have been re­formed bet­ter than our city’s res­i­dents them­selves,” the group wrote in a let­ter to Tim­o­thy My­gatt, deputy chief of the Jus­tice Depart­ment’s spe­cial lit­i­ga­tion section. The Jus­tice Depart­ment re­cently re­leased a scathing re­port that found the Bal­ti­more Po­lice Depart­ment en­gaged in dis­crim­i­na­tory and un­con­sti­tu­tional polic­ing prac­tices — par­tic­u­larly in pre­dom­i­nantly black neigh­bor­hoods — on a daily ba­sis. Of­fi­cials with the Jus­tice Depart­ment and the city are en­gaged in re­form ne­go­ti­a­tions. The two sides are ex­pected to reach an agree­ment, or con­sent de­cree, gov­ern­ing which re­forms will have to be im­ple­mented in com­ing months. They are then ex­pected to choose a mon­i­tor to over­see the re­forms. War­rant Ap­pre­hen­sion Task Force, po­lice said. De­tec­tives iden­ti­fied him as a sus­pect in the April 7 shoot­ing of 33-year-old An­towan Baker af­ter a wit­ness iden­ti­fied him from an ar­ray of photographs, ac­cord­ing to court records. The wit­ness said Bemks shot Baker, “then stood over him and con­tin­ued to shoot him in the head be­fore at­tempt­ing to shoot an­other male and flee­ing the scene,” court records say. Baker was shot in the 2100 block of W. Pratt St., in the city’s Car­roll­ton Ridge neigh­bor­hood, about 5:30 p.m. Bemks is charged with first-de­gree and sec­ond­de­gree mur­der, first-de­gree and sec­ond-de­gree as­sault, reck­less en­dan­ger­ment and two gun vi­o­la­tions in Baker’s death, ac­cord­ing to court records. Bemks is also charged with at­tempted first-de­gree and at­tempted sec­ond-de­gree mur­der, first-de­gree and sec­ond-de­gree as­sault and reck­less en­dan­ger­ment in re­la­tion to his al­legedly shoot­ing at the sec­ond man at the scene, ac­cord­ing to court records. Bemks is be­ing held with­out bail, ac­cord­ing to court records. name of Blanca, Tito and San­tana. An­other break in the case came in March, when a sci­en­tist with U.S. Cus­toms and Bor­der Pa­trol an­a­lyzed grains of pollen that clung to her cloth­ing that in­di­cated she may have come from the Bos­ton area. Any­one with in­for­ma­tion can con­tact the Bal­ti­more County Po­lice Depart­ment at 410-887-6162. “Jane Doe”

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