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Baltimore, DOJ request extension to combine two teams for independent monitor finalist

Baltimore and U.S. Justice Department officials have asked a federal judge for another week to decide who will oversee sweeping police reforms in the city.

The parties were supposed to choose from a shortened list of four teams to serve as the independent consent decree monitor Friday. The monitor will oversee policing reforms mandated by the decree, which was reached earlier this year between the city and the Justice Department and approved by a federal judge. But city and federal officials requested an extension in order to combine some members from two teams into one team.

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'[T]he Parties conclude that none of the finalist teams have all of the appropriate experience and expertise for each of the key aspects of a successful monitorship of the Consent Decree," the motion for an extension said. "Accepting the Court's recent suggestion made in light of this circumstance, the Parties now plan to propose to combine some of the members of two highly qualified finalist teams into a single, combined proposed team."

The four remaining teams were chosen from a list of 26 that submitted applications this summer. Those teams are The CNA, Exiger, Powers Consulting Group, and Venable. The motion did not say which two teams the city and justice department are considering pulling members from.

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Spokesmen for Mayor Catherine Pugh and the Justice Department did not respond for a requests for comment Friday.

A spokeswoman for CNA said the team was not among the two chosen teams. Tyrone Powers, who headed the Powers Consulting Group, said his team was not chosen. Calls to Exiger and Venable were not returned Friday.

The consent decree was the result of a wide-ranging Justice Department civil rights investigation ordered after the 2015 death of Freddie Gray from injuries suffered while in police custody. It allocates up to $1.475 million annually over a three-year term for the monitor.

U. S. District Judge James K. Bredar, who is assigned to oversee and enforce the consent decree, granted the motion Friday.

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"The parties appear to have made substantial progress in assembling a single proposed monitoring team in whom they have confidence," his order said.

Ultimately, the judge will select the monitoring team, which will report to him.

The new deadline to select the monitor is Sept. 15.

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