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The Latest: Activists oppose delaying consent decree hearing

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on a request from the U.S. Department of Justice to delay a hearing on its proposed court-enforceable consent decree with the Baltimore Police Department (all times local):

9: 15 p.m.

Baltimore activists say they are frustrated by the request from the Justice Department to postpone a public hearing on a proposed consent decree to reform the city’s police department.

The request was made Monday evening. The Justice Department wants to postpone the hearing in order to review the agreement in light of new policies that federal officials say are aimed at reducing crime, as well as a memo that seeks a review of existing proposed consent decrees.

Both the city’s mayor and police department have issued statements opposing the request.

Ray Kelly, a community activist with the No Boundaries Coalition, says, “for an outsider to come in and undermine what the community and the police department and the city, as well as the department of justice, said needed to be done is just another form of oppression.”

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The Baltimore Police Department says they oppose a request from the U.S. Justice Department to postpone a public hearing on a proposed consent decree.

The request was made Monday evening. The Justice Department wants to postpone the hearing in order to review the agreement in light of new policies that federal officials say are aimed at reducing crime, as well as a memo that seeks a review of existing proposed consent decrees.

Police spokesman T.J. Smith said Monday that the department “is continuing to move forward with reforms related to the forthcoming consent decree for the overall progress of the city of Baltimore.”

Smith added that, “further delays only serve to erode the trust of the public in this process.”

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8 p.m.

Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh says a request from the U.S. Department of Justice to delay a public hearing on a proposed consent decree is “rather surprising.”

The request was made Monday evening. The Justice Department wants to postpone the hearing in order to review the agreement in light of new policies that federal officials say are aimed at reducing crime, as well as a memo that seeks a review of existing proposed consent decrees.

Pugh said Monday that she hoped the request would not cause a long delay, because city officials are trying to “regain the confidence of the community.”

She said, “We want to move forward. We want to work with our police department. We believe there are reforms needed.”

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7 p.m.

The Justice Department is requesting a 90-day continuance of a hearing this week on its proposed court-enforceable consent decree with the Baltimore police department.

The request was made Monday evening, three days before a scheduled hearing before a federal judge.

The department is citing several reasons for the request, including new Justice Department policies that federal officials say are aimed at reducing crime as well as a new memo that seeks a review of existing or proposed consent decrees.

If granted, the request would effectively put on pause a process that could lead to a sweeping overhaul in the policies and practices of the Baltimore police force.

The two sides reached agreement on a consent decree earlier this year before Attorney General Loretta Lynch left the Justice Department.

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