03:49 GMT07 May 2021
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    The response by the US Department of Justice to exposing Baltimore Police Department (BPD) violations of citizens’ constitutional rights falls short of addressing the systemic problem of racism in US policing, activists said.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — "[The Department of Justice] is being forced to look like it is responsive, so to speak, but it also can’t deal with the systemic nature of things," Pan-African Community Action activist Netfa Freeman told Sputnik.

    On Wednesday, the Justice Department released a report concluding that the BPD systematically engaged in conduct that violates the US Constitution, and disproportionately targets African-Americans. In response, the Justice Department entered into a consent agreement with the BPD to reform the latter.

    "We know it is not just Baltimore and it’s not just ‘bad apples’," Freeman said. The report is still "treating things like they are isolated incidents, not like it is a systemic problem or an epidemic," he said of anti-black police misconduct.

    In a forum hosted by the Institute for Policy Studies, policy advocate at the Center for Popular Democracy, Marbre Stahly-Butts, said that while it was "important" for the federal government to articulate the problem of police abuses, Justice Department's actions did not go far enough.

    Stahly-Butts argued the Justice Department should leverage the findings of the report to cut off funding to local law enforcement caught violating federal law.

    "If we find… that you are violating the basic human rights of people in this city, we, as the government, will not give you taxpayer money to do that," Stahly-Butts said.

    The Justice Department report covered police misconduct that took place from January 2010 through May 2015. The investigation was launched in 2015 following the widely publicized death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old African-American who died from wounds he sustained while in BPD custody.


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