Freddie Gray family attorney: DOJ report proves 'widespread human cancers' in BPD
BALTIMORE (WBFF) - William "Billy" Murphy. Jr., the attorney who represented Freddie Gray's family, reacted to the Department of Justice (DOJ) investigation into the Baltimore Police Department (BPD) on Wednesday afternoon.
"When doctors discover cancerous tumors, they first must surgically remove them to treat the patient," Murphy said. "This report, for which we are all grateful, proves that there are widespread human cancers in this department, not just a few bad apples as had been previously believed. These bad apples, these additional bad apples, these tumors, these human tumors must be properly and surgically removed before they spread their human cancer any further. In particular I'm talking about the commanders who ordered their officers to make these shocking numbers of false arrests and the officers who justified these false arrests, these unconstitutional arrests, by writing false charging documents under oath. They have to go."
He added, "We have what can fairly be described as a law enforcement emergency."
The DOJ's report found reasonable cause to believe that the BPD “engages in a pattern or practice of conduct that violates the First and Fourth Amendments of the Constitution as well as federal anti-discrimination laws.”
The report states, in part, that the BPD “makes stops, searches and arrests without the required justification; uses enforcement strategies that unlawfully subject African Americans to disproportionate rates of stops, searches and arrests; uses excessive force; and retaliates against individuals for their constitutionally-protected expression.”
Murphy praised Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake for her commitment to solve the problem and criticized previous mayors and city councilpersons, "black and white," for doing "far too little" to solve the problem.
"One in particular did not talk about race at all during the first two terms of his office as mayor," he said. "He did that because he believed it would be counterproductive to talk about race-based problems with the white community. Another made this police problem much worse by ordering the mass arrests of over 70,000 people -- 70,000 black people -- without probable cause so he could lower the crime statistics and have a better chance to be elected governor."
The attorney called on elected officials to do their part moving forward to solve "this and other race-based problems" in Baltimore City.
"No longer will the black community give its black leadership a free pass because they're black," he said. "It's a new day. Up to now most white citizens have discounted -- even a large number of whites of goodwill -- were disregarding the overwhelming number of complaints by black citizens who had experienced this problem virtually every day. Largely because this report proves that white communities have been policed in a radically different way by what they now believe are 'officer friendlies' who did not systematically inflict this grievous harm upon them, their bodies, their children's bodies and who did not violate their rights. So, now that there's overwhelming proof about what has happened to us, members of the black community, we pray that white citizens of goodwill will share our total commitment to end this nightmare once and for all. We urge all white citizens of Baltimore to read this shocking report and share with their friends and neighbors so that this problem can engage them on a level that is necessary. We desperately need their help."
MORE | READ THE FULL REPORT HERE
Principal Deputy Assistant Atty. Gen. Vanita Gupta, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, joined Rawlings-Blake and BPD Commissioner Kevin Davis to brief the public on the findings of the investigation Wednesday morning.
“These findings are difficult to hear,” Rawlings-Blake said in opening statements.
Davis said he looks forward to implementing the changes recommended by the DOJ.
"We will be better, and we will prove it to the city and the world," Davis said.
He added, "We're going to do whatever it takes -- whatever it takes -- to have a police department that our citizens in Baltimore deserve."
The DOJ's Civil Rights Division investigation was launched in May 2015 after requests from city officials following the death of Freddie Gray one week after his arrest and the resulting civil unrest.
[Mobile users CLICK HERE to read the DOJ report]
The investigation did not examine the actions of officers involved in Gray’s arrest on April 12, 2015.