U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch will deliver a speech on "community policing" at the University of Baltimore School of Law on Thursday, according to the university — putting her in the city just as Department of Justice and city officials have said they would be finalizing a consent decree around police reform.
The "capstone" speech is scheduled for 4 p.m. at the John and Frances Angelos Law Center in Mid-Town Belvedere, near Penn Station, the school said in a news release Tuesday afternoon.
The Justice Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Lynch will be joined in Baltimore by Vanita Gupta, head of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, which oversaw the consent decree process. She will also attend meetings with community members and law enforcement officials in the city.
City and Justice Department officials agreed to enter into negotiations over a binding, court-enforced consent decree around police reform in August, after the Justice Department released a 163-page report that found the Baltimore Police Department had engaged for years in discriminatory and unconstitutional policing practices.
The report found, among other problems, that Baltimore police disproprotionately stopped and searched residents in poor, predominantly black neighborhoods, inappropriately dismissed sexual assault complaints, violated protesters' free speech rights, and routinely used excessive force — including against juveniles.
City officials, including Mayor Catherine Pugh and Police Commissioner Kevin Davis, have said they expect the negotiations around the consent decree to conclude this week. They and Lynch have said that they want the agreement to be signed before President Barack Obama leaves office and his successor President-elect Donald J. Trump is inaugurated Jan. 20.
Community members and local elected officials have expressed concern that Trump and his pick for Attorney General, Sen. Jeff Sessions, will be less exacting overseers of troubled police departments than Lynch and Obama.
During the presidential campaign, Trump expressed support for "stop and frisk" policing, a tactic expressly criticized by the Justice Department under Obama.
The consent decree will be filed in court, and overseen by a judge and a court-appointed monitor.
Davis on Tuesday said he was "very, very optimistic" about the negotiations and expected to discuss them more in the coming days.