Attorney General Loretta Lynch said Thursday that she is hopeful Department of Justice and Baltimore officials will agree to a consent decree governing police reform within the next month — and before President-elect Donald J. Trump takes office — but that reaching a deal depends on continued cooperation and good faith negotiations on the part of the city.
"At this point, the ball's in the city's court," Lynch said during a conversation on Politico's Playbook Breakfast.
Lynch noted that her first trip as attorney general was to Baltimore in the aftermath of the rioting and unrest that followed the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray from injuries suffered in Baltimore police custody in April 2015 — events that spurred city leaders to invite the Justice Department to investigate the Baltimore Police Department in the first place.
One of her last trips, she said, will also be to Baltimore, where she will provide an update on the status of the consent decree negotiations — "and hopefully an announcement on those efforts" — early next month, the Baltimore Sun reports.
Some observers of the reform process, including law enforcement experts and members of the city's congressional delegation, have expressed concern that it will falter if it is not finalized before Trump's inauguration on Jan. 20. They fear the Justice Department will not be as exacting in overseeing such reform under Trump, who has praised police tactics used in Baltimore and explicitly rejected by the current Justice Department, including "stop and frisk" street enforcement.