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Justice Department report details discriminatory practices in Baltimore Police Department

BALTIMORE — The head of the Justice Department’s civil rights division says the Baltimore Police Department’s unconstitutional and discriminatory practices have “deeply eroded” the relationship between officers and the community.

Vanita Gupta said during a news conference Wednesday that the Baltimore Police Department has agreed to negotiate with the agency on reforms to policies that have led to discrimination against African-Americans.

She said these negotiations would provide a framework for a formal consent decree between the Justice Department and the police department. That decree, which would lay out reforms that could be enforced by the courts, likely will not be finalized for many months.

Gupta’s remarks came as she announced the results of a yearlong investigation into the police department’s policies. She says there have been longstanding systemic problems with the Baltimore Police Department, including excessive force and the targeting of African-Americans.

Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake says the findings of the report are challenging to hear, but she believes the report will help heal the relationship between the community and police.

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