Six members of Maryland's congressional delegation on Tuesday asked the U.S. Justice Department for an update on the status of its negotiations with Baltimore to address unconstitutional policing, citing "growing concern from the community" about the possibility of further delay, reports the Baltimore Sun.
The Obama administration is negotiating a consent decree with City Hall to address widespread violations exposed in a Justice Department report in August. The investigation was a response to the death last of year of Freddie Gray, the 25-year-old man who died from injuries sustained in police custody.
"We appreciate that it is no small task to ensure the decree fully addresses the DOJ recommendations and includes workable implementation steps," the federal lawmakers wrote. "However, we are hearing growing concern from the community about the status of and delay in drafting the decree. We share those concerns. It is absolutely imperative that decisive, steady, urgent progress toward crafting a meaningful consent decree be made a top priority by all involved."
The letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, and Mayor-Elect Catherine Pugh was signed by Sens. Barbara A. Mikulski and Ben Cardin, Reps. Elijah E. Cummings of Baltimore, Dutch Ruppersberger and John Sarbanes of Baltimore County, as well as Sen.-elect Chris Van Hollen of Montgomery County.
The letter marks a rare instance of federal lawmakers publicly engaging in the negotiations, which were originally scheduled to finish by Nov. 1. City officials later called that deadline "aspirational," but did not offer a new deadline.