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Pugh: New York-based foundation to give Baltimore $1 million toward police reform

Department of Justice Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced that the DOJ and Baltimore City has reach a consent decree agreement. (Kevin Richardson/Baltimore Sun video)

Mayor Catherine Pugh said Baltimore will get $1 million from a social justice foundation to help pay for police reforms required by the U.S. Department of Justice.

The New York-based Ford Foundation called to offer the city the money as Pugh looks to shepherd sweeping changes to the police department, aimed at restoring community trust and ensuring officers do not violate citizens' Constitutional rights.

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Pugh said she is looking to the state, business leaders and philanthropies to help the city pay for the reforms, which are projected to cost millions of dollars. The mayor said she did not have an estimate on how much the 227-page agreement with the Justice Department will cost the city.

Expenses are still being tallied, including costly upgrades to technology, she said.

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Pugh, a Democrat, met with officials from the Greater Baltimore Committee, a business advocacy group, and others recently to tell them city government alone cannot solve the problems facing Baltimore.

"We will go to the state. I am not sure how successful we will be," Pugh said. "We're also going to go to the private sector. … We have got to depend on private sector partners as well as public sector partners as well as the philanthropic community."

Republican Gov. Larry Hogan said Tuesday the city had not yet asked the state for "a single penny in police reform." He also said he expected the total cost "to be no where near the wild estimates of the previous mayor."

In October, former Democratic Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake asked Hogan for $30 million to help pay for reforms.

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Pugh said Wednesday the requests she has made have been well received.

Don Fry, president of the Greater Baltimore Committee, said the group and its business network "stand ready to work with the mayor and be a problem solver." He said it is too early to say specifically what contributions would be possible.

"We will look at the situation and see what the needs are," Fry said. "We want to be part of the solution to the extent we can."

The city signed the historic Justice Department agreement last week. The department will be required to provide more officer supervision and training on de-escalation tactics and interactions with youth, protesters and people with mental illness. The decree also requires a special citizen task force to improve civilian oversight of the police department.

The agreement requires the approval of a federal judge. Its implementation would be overseen by a court-appointed monitor.

It follows months of negotiations between city and federal officials.

The Justice Department announced a "collaborative review" of city police in 2014, days after The Baltimore Sun reported that Baltimore officials had paid millions of dollars to settle more than 100 civil suits alleging police brutality and other misconduct.

The review became a full-scale civil rights investigation in 2015 after the in-custody death of Freddie Gray. His death, following a severe spinal cord injury, sparked rioting, looting and arson.

City officials have formally stated that they "deny the allegations" that police officers engaged in widespread wrongdoing.

Baltimore Sun reporter Erin Cox contributed to this article.

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