In May of 2015, the Department of Justice opened an investigation into the Baltimore Police Department (BPD) pursuant to the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968; Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964; and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. On August 10, 2016, we released the results of our investigation. We found that BPD engages in a pattern or practice of unlawful stops, searches, and arrests; these unlawful stops, searches and arrests disproportionately harm African Americans in Baltimore, resulting in disparities, along with other evidence of intentional discrimination, that erodes public trust; BPD engages in a pattern or practice of excessive force and discrimination against people with mental health disabilities or in crisis; and BPD routinely suppresses protected speech. We had serious concerns that gender bias may be compromising the effectiveness of BPD’s sexual assault investigations and that BPD’s transportation practices may continue to be deficient despite reforms. We found systemic deficiencies contributed to the violations we observed, including insufficient policies, inadequate training, failures to collect and analyze data, a lack of oversight, and a failure to hold its officers accountable for misconduct. DOJ found that these ongoing violations further a deep divide between BPD and many of the communities it has sworn to serve and protect, and impede legitimate law enforcement activities. The documents here provide more information about the investigation, the Justice Department's findings, and next steps.
Case Open Date:
Friday, May 8, 2015
Baltimore Police Department
Civil Rights - Special Litigation Section
Updated August 15, 2016