(Baltimore, MD) – The Baltimore Police Monitoring Team has closely followed the events surrounding the cordoning off of the Harlem Park neighborhood in West Baltimore as the Baltimore Police Department (BPD) investigates the tragic murder of BPD Detective Sean Suiter.
The Monitoring Team has an obligation to assess BPD’s compliance with the provisions of a Consent Decree that BPD, the City of Baltimore, and the U.S. Department of Justice signed earlier this year. A number of provisions in the Consent Decree address how BPD officers conduct stops, searches, and arrests. As part of its assessment of BPD’s compliance with those provisions, the Monitoring Team is examining BPD’s recent actions in Harlem Park. If any individual believes he or she has been stopped, searched or detained without justification, he or she should contact the Monitoring Team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (410) 528-4760.
While it is the Monitoring Team’s duty to evaluate whether BPD’s actions in Harlem Park are consistent with the requirements of the Consent Decree, it is not appropriate for the Monitoring Team to interject itself into an active crime scene investigation or to assume the role of BPD command staff by intervening in BPD actions. Under the terms of the Consent Decree, the Monitoring Team’s job is to assess BPD’s conduct, not direct it. The Consent Decree expressly provides that “the Monitor will only have the duties, responsibilities, and authority conferred by [the Consent Decree]. The Monitor will not, and is not intended to, replace or assume the role and the duties of the City or BPD, or any duties of any City or BPD employee…”
The practices and procedures of the Monitoring Team are still taking shape. The Monitoring Team was appointed on October 3, less than two months ago. Under the terms of the Consent Decree, the Monitoring Team is presently working with BPD, the City, and the Department of Justice to develop a Monitoring Plan. The Monitoring Plan is not due to be submitted to the Court for approval until January 2018. The provisions of the Monitoring Plan will determine how, going forward, BPD will provide the Monitoring Team timely, full and direct access to BPD employees, facilities, and critical incident crime scenes so that the Monitoring Team may carry out its obligations.
The Baltimore Police Monitoring Team oversees the implementation of the Consent Decree – a judicially-enforceable agreement – between the Baltimore City Police Department, the City of Baltimore and the United States. The Consent Decree requires BPD to adopt a number of specific reforms aimed at ensuring effective, safe, and constitutional policing. The Monitoring Team’s job is to help the Court gauge whether, consistent with the Consent Decree’s objectives, BPD is achieving meaningful reform by making tangible changes in its policies and practices for the benefit of Baltimoreans. The Monitoring Team also provides technical assistance to BPD as it seeks to implement the reforms required by the Consent Decree. The Monitoring Team includes specialists in policing and police reform, civil rights enforcement, psychology, social science, organizational change, data and technology, and community engagement.