US NRI lawyer leads probe into Baltimore riots

Vanita_GuptaVanita Gupta, 40, head of the civil rights division of the US Justice Department has criticised the police in Baltimore city for using excessive force.

A previous lawyer from the American Civil Liberties Union, she led the Justice Department’s investigation into the Baltimore police department after riots erupted over the death of a 25-year-old black man named Freddie Gray.

Ms Gupta said the report concludes that ‘there is reasonable cause to believe the Baltimore police engaged in a pattern of conduct that violates the Constitution and federal anti-discrimination laws’.

The report found that the police department conducts unconstitutional stops, searches, and arrests, using strategies that produce severe disparities in the rates of stops, searches and arrests of African Americans, The Agency also fails to provide officers with sufficient policy guidance and training, and fails to hold officers accountable for misconduct.

Prior to joining the department Gupta served as Deputy Legal Director of American Civil Liberties and Director of its Center for Justice. Prior to that she was an attorney for its Racial Justice Program.

Gupta has earned a reputation for working closely and collaboratively with law enforcement, departments of corrections, and across the political spectrum to advance smart policing.

Gupta began her career as a lawyer with the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (NAACP) Legal Defence and Educational Fund.