Mayor Pugh, stop police from killing Baltimore citizens. Sign the DOJ consent decree.
This petition made change with 525 supporters!
Mayor Catherine Pugh, serve the citizens of Baltimore. Sign the DOJ consent decree.
During your campaign, you met with vulnerable communities across our city, in the wake of the murder of Freddie Gray. You asked for our support in return for your pledge to serve all of Baltimore, and to stand with victims of police brutality. The people heard you, supported you, and will not forget your promises. We are watching.
The Department of Justice’s investigation into the Baltimore City Police Department (BPD) concluded that, "Racially disparate impact is present at every stage of BPD’s enforcement actions, from the initial decision to stop individuals on Baltimore streets to searches, arrests, and uses of force. These racial disparities, along with evidence suggesting intentional discrimination, erode the community trust that is critical to effective policing."
The report included hundreds of examples of disregard for human life including targeting African American residents, regardless of whether they were committing crimes, strip searching men and women, often in broad daylight, typically following minor stops such as traffic violations, ordering officers to “clear the block” and “just make up something” to justify arrests in predominately African American neighborhoods, and repeated failures to take sexual assaults seriously, to the extent of mocking and re-traumatizing those who stepped forward to report their attacks. Their actions are despicable.
The DOJ was clear in where responsibility lies - in system-wide, racially biased practices that are promoted by leadership within the department, and furthered by a lack of guidance, poor training practices, and non-existent accountability. As a result, federal officials have recommended a consent decree, which will oversee the process of reforming the BPD.
While we know that the road to justice in Baltimore is long, and many steps must be taken to dismantle systemic racism and bias in our police department, the consent decree is an important piece of the process. It will provide a framework and accountability for the reform effort.
Your next steps will speak volumes to the promises you’ve made. Will you stand and fight with us? Will you elevate voices that have been ignored? Will you refuse to accept a system that is abusing, terrorizing, and killing the citizens of Baltimore? Your current inaction makes the people doubt the sincerity of your campaign claims.
Do what you said you would do. Stand with the people! We, the citizens of Baltimore, call on you to fulfill your campaign promises. We demand the following:
• Sign the consent decree and file it in federal court before January 20th, 2017.
• Include the voices of the community. Order a public comment period and hearing to be held before the judge approves the consent decree. Baltimore would not be the first city to implement a public comment period, and this is essential to ensuring that the voices of those most impacted are heard.
• Keep the voices of those most affected by police brutality front and center. It is critical that the process of selecting a monitor for the consent decree is transparent, and that the community participates in both the selection and implementation of the monitoring team. This includes giving Baltimore residents the opportunity to suggest questions to be used during the selection process, having representation from the city's most vulnerable communities on the selection team, and allowing the general public to ask questions of applicants during a public forum.
Mayor Pugh, we (the engaged citizens of Baltimore) are committed to fighting for justice. We are committed to fighting for a city that refuses to stand silent in the face of terror, and takes the brave and necessary steps toward dismantling racism and oppression. We will continue this struggle with or without you, but make no mistake – your actions at this critical point in history for our city will not be forgotten.
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