For Immediate Release
CAIR Urges Reformed Baltimore Policing Practices After DOJ Probe Reveals Extensive Civil Rights Violations
WASHINGTON - The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today called for comprehensive reforms by the Baltimore Police Department (BPD) after the U.S. Department of Justice released a report revealing unconstitutional policing practices and extensive violations of basic civil rights.
The federal investigation was launched after the 2015 death of Freddie Gray, who sustained fatal injuries while handcuffed and shackled but left unrestrained in the back of a police van. Gray's death led to mass protests in Baltimore and beyond. Last May, CAIR joined the NAACP and other major civil rights and advocacy organizations in welcoming a probe into the circumstances that led to Gray's death.
The investigation examined a slew of potentially unconstitutional practices, including excessive force and discriminatory traffic stops, within the department. The findings announced Wednesday reveal that the BPD routinely violated the basic civil rights of predominantly African-American residents by employing unconstitutional policing practices that included unsubstantiated stops, searches and arrests.
The DOJ said it is seeking "court-enforceable consent decree" that would compel BPD to commit to revising and improving its procedures. In recent years, the Justice Department has undertaken similar action in Cleveland, Ohio and Ferguson, Missouri, among other cities.
"Appropriate oversight, training and accountability are key components to upholding justice, protecting citizens' rights and restoring trust between law enforcement and vulnerable communities that have been disproportionately impacted by unconstitutional policing practices," said CAIR Maryland Outreach Manager Dr. Zainab Chaudry. "We commend the Justice Department and all those who played an instrumental role in bringing these truths to light.”
She welcomed developments that are already underway within the law enforcement community to change the status quo and said she expects that the DOJ’s findings will lead to extensively revised policing practices and critical reform that ensure that the law is applied “equally, proportionately and justly to all citizens regardless of race or socioeconomic status."
CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.