WASHINGTON DC (Diya TV) — Vanita Gupta, who serves as the head of the Federal Civil Rights division of the Obama administration, is spearheading the president’s campaign against police brutality and mistreatment of minorities, and has issued a scathing indictment of the city of Baltimore, accusing its police force of violating the Constitution and federal anti-discrimination laws.
She also serves as the Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General, and is the most prominent of several Indian Americans working in the civil liberties arena.
Gupta, who oversaw an inquiry into police brutality in the city, said Tuesday that Baltimore’s African American community “bore the brunt” from local police.
Speaking during an official press conference with the Department of Justice, Gupta said her agency had entered into an agreement with Baltimore to reform the police department.
The inquiry was launched after riots rung out in Baltimore last year during the protests agains the death of an African American man, Freddy Gray, who died while in police custody. All the six police officers charged in the case were either acquitted or had the charges withdrawn leading to outrage among African Americans and civil liberties activists.
The Baltimore incident immediately followed the shooting of an unarmed teenager in Fergusson, Mo., an event which also sparked massive protest and turned national attention to cases of police shootings and brutality, specifically against African Americans.
The U.S. have made a regular occurrence of being accusatory toward other nations and their mishandling of human rights violations and brutality against minorities, however, the Baltimore report and Gupta’s actions against multiple cities have marked a rare moment when the government has turned the spotlight on themselves.
Baltimore police, she said, engaged in a pattern of making unconstitutional stops, searches and arrests; using excessive force; muzzling constitutionally-protected expressions, and using strategies that disproportionately targeted African Americans.
She added that the inquiry found that 44 percent of people stopped by police in Baltimore were in two small African American neighborhoods that only represented 11 percent of the city’s total population.
Complaints of misconduct were not handled appropriately, investigated by the proper officials, and were in some instances covered up, the report said. Additionally, besides improper use of violence, the report said police coerced sex from people.
Vanita Gupta spoke at the annual South Asian Bar Association of North America’s gala in Orlando in 2015 speaking of working towards a more perfect union and reminiscing her childhood and the discriminations faced by minorities.