Finding a Path to Progress
I respect the surely difficult decision of the Office of the State’s Attorney for Baltimore City to drop the remaining charges against the Baltimore City Police officers in the case of Freddie Gray. Knowing when to end a case can be more difficult than knowing when to bring one, especially in a case with such emotions attached to it. While this moment undoubtedly marks a milestone in the case, it does not mark the end of the conversation on the many issues it brought to the fore. In the near future, for example, the Department of Justice is expected to release the findings of its patterns-and-practices investigation of the Baltimore City Police Department, which, if used properly, can be a tool that advances the recent progress made by the department over the long term.
Similarly, the City of Baltimore itself has made incredible progress in the time since the tragic events following the death of Freddie Gray. I spent considerable time speaking with local residents in the affected neighborhoods immediately after the unrest, and have continued those conversations in the time since. While I have witnessed plenty of remaining challenges, I’ve also seen healing. The healing doubtlessly needs to continue, especially in terms of improving the relationships among law enforcement officers and the communities they serve, both in Baltimore and throughout both our state and nation.
In the coming weeks, I will be participating in a series of events around the state dedicated to fostering dialogue between law enforcement officers and African-American community leaders, and look forward to the insight they will provide. We are certain to discuss is the need for essential reforms in policing. Tactics like discriminatory profiling of race, gender and ethnicity by police are inappropriate, ineffective, a waste of resources, and simply wrong. I have sponsored legislation to end the use of discriminatory profiling by law enforcement nationwide. I also have sponsored legislation known as the Law Enforcement Trust and Integrity Act to help spark a process to rebuild trust between our communities and law enforcement officers. Together, these measures can demark a path to progress, and I look forward to fighting to guarantee their passage.