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Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law Condemns Justice Department Decision to Delay Implementation of Baltimore Police Department Consent Decree


WASHINGTON, DC, April 3, 2017 –Today, Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law issued the following statement condemning the U.S. Department of Justice’s decision to delay implementation of the consent decree for the Baltimore Police Department:


“The Justice Department’s decision to delay, yet again, implementation of a consent decree to address systemic issues infecting the Baltimore Police Department is truly shocking.  Attorney General Jeff Sessions is undermining and obstructing extensive efforts that have been made to promote policing reform in a small set of the most broken police departments in our country.  In a 163 page report, the Justice Department laid out extensive evidence of unconstitutional policing practices including unlawful stops, searches, and arrests; racial disparities in the rates of stops, searches and arrests; and use of excessive force.  The mayor, the community and the police department all support reform, and Attorney General Jeff Sessions is the obstacle standing in the way. This administration is making clear its intent to delay and obstruct federal civil rights enforcement across our country.”


The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law has been monitoring the U.S. Department of Justice’s civil rights enforcement since the start of the new administration.  On Inauguration Day, the Lawyers’ Committee issued a statement condemning the Justice Department for taking immediate action to slow civil rights enforcement, including its January 21, 2017 decision to delay a hearing concerning the Baltimore Police Department consent decree.


In the last 8 years, the Justice Department opened investigations into 25 law enforcement agencies in the U.S., an infinitesimal share of more than 18,000 such offices across the country. This tiny number represents police departments that require federal oversight to achieve meaningful reform.  Baltimore is such a police department.
About the Lawyers’ Committee:
The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (Lawyers’ Committee), a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, was formed in 1963 at the request of President John F. Kennedy to involve the private bar in providing legal services to address racial discrimination. Formed over 50 years ago, we continue our quest of “Moving America Toward Justice.” The principal mission of the Lawyers’ Committee is to secure, through the rule of law, equal justice under law, particularly in the areas of fair housing and community development; employment; voting; education; environmental justice; and criminal justice.  For more information about the Lawyers’ Committee, visit


Kristen Clarke

President and Executive Director

Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law

1401 New York Avenue, NW

Suite 400

Washington, DC 20005-2124

Tel:      202-662-8300