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What Jeff Sessions Can and Can't Do About Police Consent Decrees

The Attorney General is trying to erase Obama-era police reform. Can he do that?
In January, Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh announced the city police department's commitment to reforming its practices under a DOJ consent decree. Standing behind Pugh is Attorney General Loretta Lynch, center right.
In January, Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh announced the city police department's commitment to reforming its practices under a DOJ consent decree. Standing behind Pugh is Attorney General Loretta Lynch, center right. Patrick Semansky/AP

On January 31, the organization Baltimoreans United in Leadership Development (BUILD) sent a letter to federal Judge James K. Bredar, who is presiding over the consent decree between the U.S. Department of Justice and the Baltimore police department. In the letter, BUILD’s co-chair, Rev. Andrew Foster Connors, asked that the consent decree should be executed swiftly, so as not to further erode the fragile trust between the city’s communities and the police. Wrote Connors:   

The pastor was prescient. On April 3, Attorney General Jeff Sessions filed a request with Judge Bredar asking for a three-month delay on a hearing for the consent decree scheduled for Thursday, April 6. This is the hearing where the public will get to share their thoughts and concerns about the agreement between the city and the Justice Department. It’s also the hearing where the judge will determine whether that agreement is “fair, adequate, and reasonable, and is not illegal, the product of collusion, or against the public interest.”