Elected officials in Baltimore and Chicago disagree with police union chiefs over the future of police reform in those cities.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions release a memo on Monday announcing a review of consent decrees between his predecessor and police departments that systemically engage in racially biased, unconstitutional policing tactics. His goal is to revise the agreements to conform with President Donald Trump’s police first, law-and-order policy.
Sessions took the first steps earlier this week by asking a federal judge to postpone a hearing on the Obama-era consent decree with Baltimore. He wanted more time to revise the agreement. The Post reported that the judge denied that request on Wednesday.
In a statement, Baltimore Mayor Catherine E. Pugh applauded the judge’s decision.
“The City of Baltimore is ready to move forward to rebuild the important relationship which exists between the community and our police department,” she said, according to The Post.
She called the hearing a “crucial next step” toward police reform and urged the city to unite around the process.
Chicago’s mayor and police chief announced support of Obama-era reforms to end the Chicago Police culture of abusive practices. The department has been under a microscope since a federal probe found that it systemically violates civil rights, especially in African-American communities.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said in a joint statement that “reform is in our self-interest and that is why Chicago has been, is, and always will be committed to reform.”
Police unions, however, have a different view on Sessions’ rollback.
According to The Post, Dean C. Angelo Sr., president of the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police, said Trump’s election victory signaled that he could stop worrying about police reform agreements.
Jim Pasco, executive director of the Fraternal Order of Police, told the newspaper that police union leaders met with Trump and Sessions days before the attorney general signed the memo. In the meeting, the union chiefs criticized the Obama-era oversight policies and backed Trump’s plan.
After the meeting, Angelo told WLS-TV that “it was comforting to hear their overwhelming support of law enforcement in general.”