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Items filtered by date: Wednesday, 12 April 2017 - The San Bernardino American News

Federal judge slaps down Jeff Sessions’ attempt to block Department of Justice consent decree for Baltimore police

A federal judge ignored Sessions' bid to delay the implementation of the Obama-era agreement for police reform

Last week, Attorney General Jeff Sessions requested a review of all 114 reform agreements the Justice Department had secured with cities across the country during the Obama administration. On Friday, a federal judge ignored Sessions’ bid to delay the implementation of the Obama-era agreement with the Baltimore Police Department and approved the consent decree struck by the Department of Justice.

U.S. District Judge James Bredar denied a U.S. attorney’s request to postpone the signing of the consent decree, which was only agreed to this January, The Justice Department wanted to reassess the deal under the leadership of Sessions. Instead, Bredar rendered the police reform hashed out under the leadership of former attorney general Loretta Lynch an official order of the court.

“The case is no longer in a phase where any party is unilaterally entitled to reconsider the terms of the settlement; the parties are bound to each other by their prior agreement,” Bredar wrote in his order. “The time for negotiating the agreement is over. The only question now is whether the Court needs more time to consider the proposed decree. It does not.”

The order is effective immediately, Bredar wrote.

The DOJ had hoped to modify the agreement negotiated under Sessions’ predecessor. In a statement Friday, President Donald Trump’s attorney general said that the consent decree shows “clear departures from many proven principles of good policing that we fear will result in more crime.”

“The decree was negotiated during a rushed process by the previous administration and signed only days before they left office,” Sessions said. “While the Department of Justice continues to fully support police reform in Baltimore, I have grave concerns that some provisions of this decree will reduce the lawful powers of the police department and result in a less safe city.”

In January, the city of Baltimore and the Justice Department announced an agreement on a court-enforceable consent decree, which would institute reforms in the Baltimore Police Department. The 227-page agreement demanded an independent federal monitor to observe department, in addition to a community oversight task force; de-escalation tactics were always stressed in the decree

Taylor Link is a news writer at Salon. You can find him on Twitter at @taylorlink_


2 Adults and 1 Child Dead, 1 Student Critically Injured in Shooting at San Bernardino Elementary School

A teacher and a student were shot dead and another child was critically wounded Monday in a murder-suicide inside an elementary school special needs classroom in San Bernardino, California. The suspected shooter was also killed.

The 8-year-old child was identified as Jonathan Martinez by San Bernardino police. He was taken to Loma Linda University Medical Center via helicopter where he later died.

Karen Elaine Smith, 53, was killed after her husband opened fire in her San Bernardino classroom as she taught April 10, 2017.
Photo credit: San Bernardino Police Department

Karen Elaine Smith, 53, deceased
Cedric Charles Anderson, 53, deceased

The teacher was identified by law enforcement officials as Karen Elaine Smith, 53, Monday afternoon. The suspected shooter was identified as Smith’s husband, Cedric Charles Anderson, a 53-year-old resident of the City of Riverside, multiple law enforcement agencies confirmed to NBC4.

Cedric Charles Anderson, a 53-year-old resident of the City of Riverside, killed his wife, a teacher, and a student while wounding another in a special needs classroom April 10, 2017, police said.
Photo credit: San Bernardino Police Department

Two children, including Martinez, were struck by gunfire behind Smith in the apparent murder-suicide shooting, according to police.

Police do not believe the children were targeted.

Police said Anderson came to the special needs classroom, comprised of first and fourth graders, armed with a .357 revolver and opened fire on Smith. He reloaded his handgun at least one time, and used the last round to take his own life, police said.

Watch: Students Evacuated Due to Shooting

Students were evacuated Monday April 10, 2017 as police responded to a shooting at a San Bernardino elementary school.

(Published 6 hours ago)

The children were inadvertently hit as they stood behind Smith, police Chief Jarrod Burguan said at a news conference. They were airlifted to Loma Linda University Medical Center. Jonathan did not make it to the operating room before dying, hospital officials said.

Monica Garcia, of the San Bernardino Unified School District, said the shooting appeared to stem from a domestic violence dispute involving Anderson and Smith, both of whom were found dead in the classroom. The marriage between the two was relatively short — less than two months long — prior to Monday’s shooting, Burguan said.

Students Evacuated, Reunited With Parents After Shooting

The second student, a 9-year-old whose identity has not been made public, was in stable condition at the hospital.

“Our hearts are broken,” said San Bernardino School District Superintendent Dr. Dale Marsden. “This is truly tragic.”


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