Baltimore, DOJ consent decree negotiations to miss target date
Negotiations between Baltimore and the U.S. Department of Justice over a package of sweeping police reforms will not conclude next week as both sides had hoped, city officials said Friday.
Both sides had set an ambitious, selfimposed deadline of Nov. 1 for concluding negotiations over a formal consent decree outlining the reforms.
On Friday, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings- Blake called the deadline “aspirational in nature” and said the negotiations are continuing.
“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,” Rawlings-Blake said in a statement. “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.”
Anthony McCarthy, a spokesman for the mayor, said she remains “hopeful that this can be done by the end of her term,” which concludes in early December.
At the same time, McCarthy said, the negotiations “are meticulous and each fine point is worthy of every consideration,” and Rawlings-Blake “believes that the citizens and the Baltimore Police Department deserve [to have] this consent decree ... done right.”
T.J. Smith, a police spokesman, referred all questions to the mayor’s office. Vanita Gupta, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, said in a statement that her staff “understand the importance of moving forward ... as quickly as possible.”
Once attorneys for the city and the Justice Department reach an agreement, it will go before the City Council. A federal monitor will then be selected to oversee the city’s compliance with the decree.