Obama rushes to overhaul police ahead of Trump inauguration
There are only a few days left before Donald Trump becomes President of the United States, and in the meantime, the current president, Barack Obama, is rushing to overhaul police in Baltimore and Chicago.
In Chicago, the Justice Department is expected to release the findings of a sweeping investigation into the practices and patterns of police before Jan. 20, Inauguration Day. An investigation like this is usually step one before a consent decree is given requiring the department to make changes. However, the Justice Department under Obama is running out of time to make a move like that, and there are concerns that Trump will abandon the efforts rather than continue them.
And in Baltimore, the Justice Department is “getting very close” to agreement on a consent decree, according to Mayor Catherine E. Pugh. A report has already been issued about Baltimore accusing the police there of systemic racial bias, and an announcement for a consent decree could come this week.
The race to take action is made even more pressing by the fact that Jeff Sessions, Trump’s nominee for the position of attorney general, has argued against consent decrees.
“One of the most dangerous, and rarely discussed, exercises of raw power is the issuance of expansive court decrees,” Mr. Sessions wrote in 2008. “Consent decrees have a profound effect on our legal system as they constitute an end run around the democratic process.”
Hearings on Sessions’ confirmation began today.