The Department of Justice is launching an independent review of Baltimore’s police force following a string of complaints from residents about excessive force and other alleged abuses, the Baltimore Sun reports.
But instead of launching a full-scale civil rights investigation, the Department of Justice will work directly with police – an approached called a collaborative review.
“The civil rights division is a part of the process,” U.S. Attorney Ronald L. Davis said, “and they retain the ability to come into Baltimore if reform is not made, if recommendations are not implemented. … Nothing is off the table.”
The request follows a Baltimore Sun report that revealed the city paid out $5.7 million in court settlements and judgments over alleged police misconduct since 2011. Virtually every officer involved has never been charged.
The review will include consultants working with community members, elected leaders, cops and union officials. The consultants also will ride with officers and review the culture, practices and polices of the police department, the Sun wrote.
“This is very strong process,” Davis said during a news conference at the U.S. attorney’s office in Baltimore. “I want to reassure the community this is about helping the city of Baltimore reform. This is not about forcing them to reform in a way that we decided.”