Baltimore Riots Spur DC To Review Police Use Of Force
The District of Columbia is launching a police use-of-force review after the Baltimore riots, which were sparked by the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray in police custody.
The D.C. Auditors Office announced Thursday that the agency began the audit in March.
The review will be conducted by Michael Bromwich, who runs a crisis management firm in D.C. and formerly worked as an independent monitor for the Department of Justice.
The city underwent a similar investigation nearly 15 years ago after it was discovered that police in D.C. shot and killed people at a higher rate than those in any other U.S. city.
A Pulitzer Prize winning piece by The Washington Post released in 1998 revealed that D.C. police fired their weapons at a rate higher than officers in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. During the six months it took them to write the story, D.C. police shootings cost the city almost $8 million in court fees.
As a result of the Post story, former D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams signed an agreement with the DOJ to make sure police in the department had proper firearms training, implement reforms in how the department uses force and properly investigate allegations of police misconduct.
The 2001 audit, which ran until 2008, concluded that the department’s reform efforts “had a measureable impact on the way in which MPD uses force at the street level,” and that D.C.’s police force should serve as a model for law enforcement agencies all across the country.
The recent events in Baltimore have put police departments across the country under a microscope, and auditors in D.C. want to make sure the police are sustaining the progress they made between 2001 and 2008.
Earlier this month, six police officers in Baltimore involved with the arrest of Gray were charged with a variety of crimes, ranging from manslaughter to second-degree murder.
The state prosecutor in Baltimore claimed the officers arrested Gray illegally and they didn’t give him proper medical aid while he was in their custody, even though he asked for it.
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