The Justice Department has “serious concerns” about gender bias and how sexual assault cases are handled by the Baltimore police department, according to a new report released on Tuesday evening.
In the report, the Justice Department highlighted “troubling” statements made by Baltimore police department (BPD) officers and detectives in the Sex Offense Unit.
Officers would frequently ask women who brought up sexual assault claims, "Why are you messing that guy’s life up?“ according to the report.
The Justice Department also said that they were "troubled,” by statements BPD detectives made suggesting an “undue skepticism” on reports of sexual assault.
A victim advocate — people who act as guides for victims to navigate the criminal justice system — told Justice Department investigators that a BPD detective from the Sex Offense Unit commented at a party that, “all our cases are bullshit,” according to the report.
When asked to soften his stance by another officer, the detective allegedly said, “OK, 90 percent.”
In another instance, Justice Department investigators reviewed correspondence between a prosecutor and a BPD officer that “openly expressed” contempt and disbelief for the women who had reported sexual assault.
The prosecutor wrote, “this case is crazy… I am not excited about charging it. This victim seems like a conniving little whore. (pardon my language),” to which the BPD officer responded, “Lmao! I feel the same,” according to the report.
The Justice Department notes that the BPD “seriously and systematically” under-investigates reports of sexual assault, which “significantly compromises the impartiality and effectiveness” of these investigations.
The report also found that the BPD routinely disregards reports of sexual assault by people involved in the sex trade.
The Justice Department launched their investigation into the Baltimore Police Department following widespread unrest after Freddie Gray’s death in April 2015.