BALTIMORE, Oct. 7 (UPI) -- A plan to curb police brutality in Baltimore includes beefing up internal affairs and speeding the firing of rogue cops, city leaders said Tuesday.
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and Police Commissioner Anthony Batts released a 41-page report that said they also want to investigate fitting police officers with video cameras. The report was inspired by a Baltimore Sun investigation on the number of people who have been physically injured during arrests.
"We didn't create these problems, but as leadership in charge today, it's our obligation to do everything that we can to fix the breach between the community and police," Rawlings-Blake said.
Batts said that a Maryland law protecting police officers can make it difficult to punish those who cross the line. The law requires all disciplinary action to be approved by a review board, which slows the process down and strips the commissioner of any power to take action if the board does not agree.
The commissioner said he has been unable to discipline an officer who was caught by surveillance cameras beating a man at a bus shelter.
"It could have been my sons on that bus stop the night of that event where excessive force was used," he said. "It's unacceptable. It will not be tolerated within this organization. We can never let that happen again in our city."
Batts said he would negotiate with union leaders to make the discipline process less cumbersome and increase the staffing in the internal affairs unit.
The report, titled "Preventing Harm," said the department needs to establish clear rules on the use of force, train officers and discipline those who overstep them. It also called for training officers in how to de-escalate confrontations.
The Sun found the department has been sued 102 times since 2011 and the city has paid $5.7 million in court judgments and settlements. In most of those cases, charges were dropped against those who were arrested.