Civil and Human Rights Coalition Calls for Congressional Action in Wake of Damning Baltimore Police Investigation

Media 08.10.16

WASHINGTON – Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, issued the following statement after the Department of Justice released a report documenting the Baltimore Police Department’s widespread race-based policing. The report found that “Racially disparate impact is present at every stage of BPD’s enforcement actions, from the initial decision to stop individuals on Baltimore streets to searches, arrests, and uses of force. These racial disparities, along with evidence suggesting intentional discrimination, erode the community trust that is critical to effective policing:”

“This report says nothing that Baltimoreans of color haven’t been saying for years and what national civil rights advocates have been saying since the wrongful death of Freddie Gray: that in communities of color, Baltimore police act more like an occupying force than a partner in public safety.

What’s different is that this is a report written by the U.S. Department of Justice with the weight of the federal government and the chief law enforcement officer of the nation behind it. Congress and the city of Baltimore should finally listen. 

This is not just Baltimore’s story; it’s the story of over-policed communities of color nationwide. The Department of Justice has documented heinous mistreatment of minorities in Cleveland, Ferguson, New Orleans, and elsewhere and deep-seated racial disparities persist nationwide at every juncture of the justice system.

As the evidence continues to mount in reports, statistics, dead bodies, and bereft families, we urge Congress to finally start taking police reform seriously. Congress must take up and pass the End Racial Profiling Act of 2015; The Law Enforcement Trust and Integrity Act of 2015; and The Stop Militarization Act of 2015.

We applaud the Department of Justice for releasing this report. Now it’s up to Congress to act on its findings.”

Wade Henderson is the president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 200 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States. The Leadership Conference works toward an America as good as its ideals. For more information on The Leadership Conference and its 200-plus member organizations, visit