The Latest: Baltimore police chief: Some officers fired

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Posted: Aug 10, 2016 11:10 AM
The Latest: Baltimore police chief: Some officers fired

BALTIMORE (AP) — The Latest on the Justice Department's report on Baltimore police (all times local):

11:05 a.m.

Baltimore's police commissioner says biased law enforcement tactics won't be tolerated, adding that the department has already fired some officers who committed some of the most egregious violations found during a Justice Department investigation.

Kevin Davis said during a news conference Wednesday that biased police tactics won't be tolerated, and that such behavior is "fostering fear in our communities."

Davis says the department is committed to making meaningful changes, but says change will take time, commitment and trust.

Davis spoke after the Justice Department announced the results of a yearlong investigation into the police department's policies. Officials say there have been longstanding systemic problems with the Baltimore Police Department, including excessive force and the targeting of African-Americans.

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11 a.m.

The Justice Department's top civil rights official says the Baltimore Police Department has agreed to negotiate with the agency on reforms to policies that have led to discrimination against African-Americans.

Vanita Gupta said during a news conference Wednesday that these negotiations would provide a framework for a formal consent decree between the Justice Department and the police department. That decree, which would lay out reforms that could be enforced by the courts, likely will not be finalized for many months.

Gupta's remarks came as she announced the results of a yearlong investigation into the police department's policies. She says there have been longstanding systemic problems with the Baltimore Police Department, including excessive force and the targeting of African-Americans.

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10:50 a.m.

The head of the Justice Department's civil rights division says the Baltimore Police Department's unconstitutional and discriminatory practices have "deeply eroded" the relationship between officers and the community.

Vanita Gupta announced the findings of the federal investigation on Wednesday during a news conference in Baltimore. She says there have been longstanding systemic problems with the Baltimore Police Department, including excessive force and the targeting of African-Americans.

Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake says the findings of the report are challenging to hear, but she believes the report will help heal the relationship between the community and police.

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10:30 a.m.

Twenty-seven-year-old Anthony Williams says if you're black, you're going to get stopped by police in Baltimore.

Williams was among those reacting Wednesday before the Department of Justice released its report on the police department. He recalled being out with his children and seeing police chase down a teenager for smoking marijuana. He says five police jumped on the teenager.

He says police are scared to do their jobs. "They come to the projects, and they get nervous," he said. But he said if people are that nervous, they shouldn't be police officers."

He said he was once stopped and harassed by police just because he was in a bad neighborhood. He said he was wearing black and police told him that he "looked like somebody."

He added that Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man who suffered a broken neck in a police van, died for no reason.

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9:25 a.m.

The head of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund says the Justice Department's report confirms "what many African-American residents of Baltimore have known and lived too long."

In a statement, fund President and Director-Counsel Sherrilyn Ifill calls the findings of the report being released Wednesday "devastating," saying they "lay bare the harsh reality of discriminatory policing in a major American city."

The report being released Wednesday finds Baltimore police officers routinely discriminate against blacks, use excessive force and are not adequately disciplined for misconduct. Ifill says it is instructive that the legacy of "zero tolerance policing" is identified as the key source of the systematic unconstitutional conduct.

Ifill urges "residents, community groups, and leading city institutions to marshal their resources and prepare for the long haul to find a way forward."

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8:30 a.m.

A Baltimore activist says the Justice Department's report on the city's police officers raises the question of whether there will now be justice for those who have died after encounters with police.

The report being issued Wednesday finds that the city's police routinely discriminate against blacks, use excessive force and aren't adequately disciplined for misconduct. But the Rev. Cortly "C.D." Witherspoon, president of the Baltimore chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, said in a statement Wednesday that for those who have been fighting what he calls the "War Against Police Brutality," the reports contains no startling revelations.

The Justice Department is seeking a court-enforceable consent decree to force the police agency to commit to improving its procedures to avoid a lawsuit. The investigation was launched after the 2015 death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man who suffered a broken neck in a police van.

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3:30 a.m.

A harshly critical Justice Department report says Baltimore police officers routinely discriminate against blacks, use excessive force and are not adequately disciplined for misconduct.

The report being issued Wednesday represents a damning indictment of how the city's police officers carry out the most fundamental of policing practices, including traffic stops and searches and responding to First Amendment expression.

The Justice Department is seeking a court-enforceable consent decree to force the police agency to commit to improving its procedures in order to avoid a lawsuit.

The federal investigation was launched after the April 2015 death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man whose neck was broken while he was handcuffed and shackled but left unrestrained in the back of a police van.