I suppose this one falls into the category of, “did you think he was kidding when he said it 500 times on the campaign trail?”
All through the 2016 contest, Donald Trump promised that he was going to support police departments and make sure that the law was enforced. Those promises were being made against a backdrop of Loretta Lynch working around the clock to draft so called “consent decrees” with multiple police forces in large cities, essentially accusing them of abusing their power, racism and everything else under the sun. These departments would be restructured in some fashion to cut down on abuse. But all of that action seems to have been put on hold this week with a new memo coming from the offices of Attorney General Jeff Sessions. (Washington Post)
Attorney General Jeff Sessions ordered Justice Department officials to review reform agreements with troubled police forces nationwide, saying it was necessary to ensure that these pacts do not work against the Trump administration’s goals of promoting officer safety and morale while fighting violent crime.
In a two-page memo released Monday, Sessions said agreements reached previously between the department’s civil rights division and local police departments — a key legacy of the Obama administration — will be subject to review by his two top deputies, throwing into question whether all of the agreements will stay in place.
The memo was released not long before the department’s civil rights lawyers asked a federal judge to postpone until at least the end of June a hearing on a sweeping police reform agreement, known as a consent decree, with the Baltimore Police Department that was announced just days before President Trump took office.
You may recall that less than three months ago there was a big press conference held in Baltimore where Loretta Lynch sat down with the Mayor to announce the approval of one of these consent decrees. In a very expensive program, the cops in Charm City would be in line for all sorts of “reforms” which would change their mandatory training regimens and the way they conduct business. Listed among the goals of the program were ways for police to focus on “deescalation” in violent confrontations, how to be more “respectful” of protesters (one assumes that would come before they actually begin setting buildings on fire) and putting civilians from the community in charge of police oversight.
Keep in mind that they were taking all of these steps even as Baltimore was experiencing a two year surge in violent crime which hadn’t been seen in decades. Much of the “reform” work was obviously in response to the Freddie Gray riots, which is particularly ironic because as I’m sure you will recall, all of the trials against the police were eventually dismissed with no evidence of foul play being established.
So now there will be a 90 day “pause” before any of these consent decrees move forward. What will happen during that time? Just a guess on my part, but I imagine there will be “modifications” rather than scrapping them completely. The changes will probably focus a bit less on reasoning with potentially violent mobs in the streets and getting some better armor and equipment. But as I said… that’s just a guess. It would certainly be in keeping with the promises that President Trump made while running for office, though.