485 days after the death of Freddie Gray, the Justice Department has released a report that confirms the claims made by Baltimore residents for years, according to the Associated Press. It was proven that officers of the Baltimore Police Department mistreat African American individuals at an alarmingly disproportionate rate.
Gray, a 25-year-old Black man, died while in police custody due to a spinal cord injury that was sustained during his arrest. His death served as the catalyst for protests and riots in Baltimore – and ultimately prompted the 15-month Justice Department investigation.
All six officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray were later acquitted or had their charges dropped. The 164-page report, however, highlighted the problems within the Baltimore Police Department.
The report revealed that African Americans account for 63 percent of Baltimore’s population, but 84 percent of all police stops. Of the over 400 people stopped by police 10 or more times between 2010 and 2014, 95 percent were Black. The report also stated that Baltimore police were trained to use aggressive tactics that create an “us vs. them mentality.”
Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and Police Commissioner Kevin Davis, who was appointed after the death of Freddie Gray in April 2015, have agreed to work with the Justice Department to set police reforms over the next few months due to the report and to avoid a government lawsuit.
“Fighting crime and having a better, more respectful relationship with the community are not mutually exclusive endeavors. We don’t have to choose one or the other. We’re choosing both. It’s 2016,” Davis said.