Baltimore activists gathered Monday to brainstorm ways to pressure Baltimore's elected officials to sign a consent decree on police reform with the U.S. Justice Department before President Barack Obama leaves office next month.

The activists — from Baltimore Bloc, No Boundaries Coalition and 300 Gangsters— said they were frustrated with the delay in signing the decree.


City and federal officials had initially hoped to have the decree signed by Nov. 1. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said last week that "the ball's in the city's court" to finish the decree before President-elect Donald Trump takes office Jan. 20.

"There's a serious concern that the whole process that we've gone through with the [Department of Justice] coming in and investigating could get lost in transition," said No Boundaries Coalition co-director Ray Kelly, who organized the session. "It's also important that our local officials know that you can't put a price on our civil rights."

Justice Department investigators found a history of unconstitutional and discriminatory policing in Baltimore. In a scathing 163-page report released in August, they said officers routinely violated residents' rights — predominantly in poor, black neighborhoods — and improperly dismissed sexual assault complaints.

A consent decree outlining steps city police would take to improve practices would be subject to court monitoring.

Activists are skeptical that Trump's administration would pursue police reform as aggressively as Obama's has.

A spokesman for Mayor Catherine E. Pugh has said the city is committed to finishing the consent decree but would rather have a strong agreement than a fast one.

Pugh spokesman Anthony McCarthy declined to comment after the activists' session Monday.

About 20 people discussed ideas on how to pressure city officials to act, including asking the Department of Justice to sue the Police Department to hold it accountable.

They were advised on the legal ramifications of the consent decree by Monique L. Dixon, deputy director of policy for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.

Ralikh Hayes is a coordinator with Baltimore Bloc.

"It's important that we use all avenues toward accountability and justice that we have in our arsenal, and the consent decree is just one of them. And the city leadership faltering in that process or appearing to falter does not inspire community trust in any way, shape or form," Hayes said.

"If this pattern of not pushing a priority of civil rights and humanity for citizens continues, we're just going to figure out what our next steps are to put that pressure on those who are supposed to represent us."