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Read the Most Blood-Boiling Parts of the Justice Department's Scathing Report on Baltimore Police

Unconstitutional stops, excessive force, racist slurs, and little internal oversight.

Lloyd Fox/TNS/NewscomLloyd Fox/TNS/NewscomThe Justice Department's Civil Rights Division released its long-awaited investigation into the Baltimore Police Department Wednesday, finding the department engaged in a pattern and practice of civil rights violations against the citizens it is sworn to protect.

Launched after the 2015 death of Baltimore resident Freddie Gray while in police custody, the Justice Department investigation found, among other things, that Baltimore police regularly engaged in unconstitutional stops and arrests, discriminated against African-Americans, used excessive and unreasonable force against youth and the mentally ill, and unlawfully detained, arrested, and retaliated against members of the public for engaging in protected speech.

"These violations have deeply eroded the mutual trust between BPD and the community it serves, trust that is essential to effective policing, as well as officer and public safety," Vanita Gupta, the head of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, said in a press conference Wednesday morning. "The problems in Baltimore didn't happen overnight or appear in a day. The pattern or practice we found results from long-standing, systemic deficiencies at BPD. The agency fails to provide officers with sufficient policy guidance and training; fails to collect and analyze data regarding officers' activities; and fails to hold officers accountable for misconduct."

Among the litany of abuses, oversights, and failings of the Baltimore Police Department, the Justice Department report found the city's police regularly retaliated against citizens for what amounted to mouthing off to officers:

In one case from 2011, officers tackled and used a taser to drive-stun a young black man who was, in their view, "loitering" near a market during business hours in downtown Baltimore. When told to move, the young man refused and swore at the officers, who then tackled him. Nothing indicated the man was armed, violent, or presented a danger to the officers or others. Supervisors who investigated and approved the incident failed to recognize that the force appeared to be retaliatory, even though the man, when interviewed, told them he believed he was tackled because he cursed at the officers.

Citizens who attempted to report misconduct faced similar threats:

In another incident from 2010, an African-American man stated that he witnessed officers use excessive force during an arrest and punch a fourteen-year-old boy who attempted to film the arrest on his cell phone. The African-American man recounted that the officers used "the word 'n****r' frequently" and asked him if he "take[s] it up the ass by Allah." When the man went to the district headquarters to report the misconduct, he was met by the same officers who told him, "What brings your black ass back here?"

Even in cases where citizens managed to report misconduct, the Baltimore Police Department's internal investigations were inadequate and half-hearted:

BPD conducted a similarly inadequate investigation in a 2010 case that also alleged racemotivated misconduct. There, an African-American man alleged that while being held in a cell at the Southwest District, several officers called him a "monkey" and a "n****r" while beating him. The investigative file, which consisted solely of a few summary paragraphs about the incident, revealed that the investigating officer administratively closed the case without even reading a related incident report because "it was locked in the report box at the time of my investigation."

The Justice Department investigation also found that officers regularly engaged in unconstitutional stops and arrests to "clear corners." Those unconstitutional actions were sometimes performed at the command of supervising officers, the report found. In one case, a Baltimore police sergeant ordered a patrol car to perform and unconstitutional stop while a Justice Department official was in the car:

During a ride-along with Justice Department officials, a BPD sergeant instructed a patrol officer to stop a group of young African-American males on a street corner, question them, and order them to disperse. When the patrol officer protested that he had no valid reason to stop the group, the sergeant replied "Then make something up." This incident is far from anomalous. A different BPD sergeant posted on Facebook that when he supervises officers in the Northeast District, he encourages them to "clear corners," a term many officers understand to mean stopping pedestrians who are standing on city sidewalks to question and then disperse them by threatening arrest for minor offenses like loitering and trespassing. The sergeant wrote, "I used to say at roll call in NE when I ran the shift: Do not treat criminals like citizens. Citizens want that corner cleared."

The Justice Department was also "troubled" by the BDP Sex Offense Unit's cavalier attitude toward women who attempted to report sexual assaults:

One victim advocate told us about a detective in the BPD Sex Offense Unit making comments at a party, in the company of BPD officers and victim advocates, that, "in homicide, there are real victims; all our cases are bullshit." When another person suggested the detective soften the statement, the detective added, "Ok, 90 percent." We also reviewed e-mail correspondence between a BPD officer and a prosecutor in which they openly expressed their contempt for and disbelief of a woman who had reported a sexual assault: the prosecutor wrote that "this case is crazy. . . I am not excited about charging it. This victim seems like a conniving little whore. (pardon my language)."; the BPD officer replied, "Lmao! I feel the same."

According to the report, the Baltimore Police Department also did little to investigate claims that its officers coerced sex workers. "We heard complaints from the community that some officers target members of a vulnerable population—people involved in the sex trade—to coerce sexual favors from them in exchange for avoiding arrest, or for cash or narcotics," the report reads. "Unfortunately, we not only found evidence of this conduct in BPD's internal affairs files, it appeared that the Department failed to adequately investigate allegations of such conduct, allowing it to recur."

The Justice Department and the Baltimore Police Department have now entered into a consent agreement to implement reforms.

Photo Credit: Lloyd Fox/TNS/Newscom

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  • Indigent-American||

    Do I have to read the article or can I just assume that the suggested solutions are: increased officer salary, increased officer training, and officer training bonuses.

  • Juvenile Bluster||

    The conclusion: They've done all this terrible shit, but we're sure they'll reform themselves!

    For the foregoing reasons, the Department of Justice concludes that there is reasonable
    cause to believe that BPD engages in a pattern or practice of conduct that violates the Constitution
    or federal law. The pattern or practice includes: (1) making unconstitutional stops, searches, and
    arrests; (2) using enforcement strategies that produce severe and unjustified disparities in the rates of
    stops, searches and arrests of African Americans; (3) using excessive force; and (4) retaliating against
    people engaging in constitutionally-protected expression. We also identified concerns regarding
    BPD's transport of individuals and investigation of sexual assaults. BPD's failings result from
    deficient policies, training, oversight, and accountability, and policing strategies that do not engage
    effectively with the community the Department serves. We are heartened to find both widespread
    recognition of these challenges and strong interest in reform. We look forward to working with the
    Department, City leadership, and Baltimore's diverse communities to create lasting reforms that
    rebuild trust in BPD and ensure that it provides effective, constitutional police services to the people
    of Baltimore.
  • Mainer2||

    Let's not go jumping to conclusions here. Remember we're only hearing one side of the story. We don't actually know what happened before the video. These good officers may very well have had reason to fear for their safety, and had to make a split-second decision in a life-or-death situation. If you've never worn the uniform, you have no idea what it's like and really have no business spreading misinformation and your misguided opinions about matters you know nothing about. Let's grow up and just wait for a full and fair investigation, which will conclude that the police were following standard procedure, even if unfortunate mistakes were made in this tragic situation. These brave heroes are, after all, under-staffed, under-paid, and under-appreciated and their training budget was severely slashed in the latest round of budget-cutting.

  • ||

    ::applauds::

  • JohnD||

    AZZ hole

  • Kathy Jordan||

    Well, I have read at hireessaywriter that Baltimore Police Department has done a little to investigate claims about their officers . However, I am glad that they have finally entered into a consent agreement to implement these reforms.

  • Cliché Bandit||

    really...do we need another bot? What happened to Anon-Bot too...I kinda miss his edgy, poorly crafted, off-topic responses.

  • Acosmist||

    Racial slurs! OH NOOOO

  • Juvenile Bluster||

    When in the context of beating a man while using those racial slurs, the racial slurs are a big fucking problem.

  • Riven||

    I'm inclined to agree, JB

  • Hank Rearden||

    Unfortunately I have to ask if the cops were black or white.

  • Riven||

    I don't understand why that matters

  • Hank Rearden||

    The use of the "N-Word" is common in the black community and seems to only be considered racist when used by other races. See rap music for example. If they are trying to demonstrate some culture of racism in the department and the examples given are black cops, then the racist angle is diminished substantially.

  • Riven||

    Um. No.
    Look, I live in Montana, so I don't know that many black people. But even I know black people who consider the term nigger racist, even (maybe especially?) when used by other black people in a derogatory fashion.

    As a white girl, if I refer to some slack-jawed yokel as a honky, is that not racist? I'm afraid I have to insist it is.

  • R C Dean||

    As a white girl, if I refer to some slack-jawed yokel as a honky, is that not racist?

    There are some who would insist that yes, being a white girl is indeed racist.

  • Hank Rearden||

    For whatever reason, the word is taken as blatant racism in some contexts and nothing more than a synonym for "dude" in others. If the report is angled that the problems with the BPD are substantially due to racism and the examples posed are in fact black officers using the term towards black subjects, unless they can be shown to use the term to endear themselves to their white oppressors, then the problem is a lack of professionalism on the part of the BPD not racism. That puts the blame on the city administration which doesn't fit some agendas.

  • ||

    I live in Montana

    So racist.

  • Gaear Grimsrud||

    I can't speak for black folks in Montana but, back in the day I was the only white guy in an otherwise all black funk band in Detroit. At most of the clubs we played I was the only Caucasian in the place. I heard the N word more in an hour than I had heard it in the 25 years before I joined the band. You could probably attend a KKK function and not hear it as often as you will at a gathering of black folks in Detroit. Among young black men in those days it was practically a term of endearment. Shit, they even addressed me that way if we all got drunk enough.

  • SamHell||

    We don't have the same dialect in Montana as they do in Baltimore, so yes nigga can be used non offensively without you knowing any better, as is probably the case with alot of these DOJ suits from Washington writing up this list of (to them?) horrors. When someone thanks you in Billings you often get a "yep" in reply instead of "your welcome", and I've been told this is considered rude in other places...
    As much as people hate cops believing accusations of racism from a city thats majority Black makes it's a hard pill to swallow.

  • Merl3noir||

    I think your question does have some merit, but for totally different reasons.

    If it is largely white officers involved in this, and most the black officers where not directly involved, or may have gone along with, but not encourage illegal behavior, it would tend to suggest a racist culture by members of the department

    However if black officers are just as likely to instigate or be involved in this illegal behavior as other officers, it suggest that administratively the officers are encouraged to act in this way.

    To put it in simpler terms, it sheds light if it is a few bad apples. or the entire system is corrupted from the top down, top possibly going beyond the police department or even Baltimore.

    However I would other things can be used to determine this beyond the race of those involved.

  • ULOST||

    I missed the "N-Word" in the article. How about writing "nigger" out and stop being a pussy. Use your white privilege. You are giving keyboard warriors a bad name with your PC shiite. See, I even used my privilege to work a mooslim slur in there. It's not hard.

  • Rational Exuberance||

    It matters because the political views Democrats are peddling are that most of the problems African Americans have are due to racism by a dominant white society.

    In fact, Baltimore is 2/3 African American, has a female African American mayor, and the Baltimore PD is about half African American. Whatever problems Baltimore has are not due to racism by a majority white population or a white power structure, since neither exists in the city.

  • Scarecrow & WoodChipper Repair||

    My personal experience with racists of various degrees is that the racism is a by-product of power envy or whatever it might be called. It's the age-old story: when times are tough, people lash out in whatever manner makes them feel better, regardless of any validity.

    I knew only one guy who truly believed races should not mix, but I would not call him a racist. He did not believe races were of different quality, he just thought it immoral for the races to mix. And he wasn't religious either. Very strange cat. Never did figure him out.

    At any rate, back on topic -- I have come to the conclusion that racist taunts and behavior are not racism so much as power envy. Name-calling of any kind is just a way to taunt someone, to provoke rage and thoughtless reaction, and when police do it, it is precisely to make up an ecuse for hauling someone off to jail, with a legitimized beatdown on the way.

  • ||

    a majority white population or a white power structure, since neither exists in the city

    A white person has incalculably more privilege than an African American citizen; accordingly, even a minority of whites can create a white power structure in a city. Actually, because cities are the creation of privileged whites, even a city without a single white resident has a white power structure by dint of having a mayor and a PD.

  • Berserkerscientist||

    You forgot your /s mark.

  • JohnD||

    Any city that is predominately black and has a black city government is a violent shite hole.

    Don't like that? Tough.

  • bassjoe||

    I would say "even in the context of beating a man"...

  • John||

    I ask you the same question I asked Joe below. Why do you assume it was white cops dropping the slurs?

  • Riven||

    I can't speak for JB, but who said anything about the officers using the slurs being white?

    I don't give a shit if the officers were white, black, purple, orange, or any other color. So called law enforcement officers shouldn't be using racial slurs.

  • John||

    I agree. But wouldn't you also agree that the fact that black officers were doing it changes the dynamic a bit? If you are going to say that cops black or white shouldn't be dropping N bombs, and understand I agree with you on that, then maybe black people in general shouldn't be getting a pass on that? Isn't it a bit odd to say that black people own the word and can use it with impunity about each other except if they are cops? Is being a cop becoming an honorary white man or something?

  • Riven||

    It's got nothing to do with race and everything to do with professionalism, in my mind.

    I don't care if white or black people say nigger or use other racial slurs because we're all just individuals, and it's none of my goddamn business how my brother conducts himself unless he's violating some property rights.

    It is my business if government employees who are on the clock to protect and serve use them. It should absolutely be a disciplinary offense.

  • John||

    What if a cop calls someone a jerk or an asshole? Would you discipline them for ever saying a bad word to an arrestee? If not, then what is so special about the N word?

    I understand what you are saying in theory. But in reality, we have had decades of black people claiming they owned the word and could use it if they liked. Well, that is fine. But don't come whining to me when black cops start using it. It is either acceptable or it isn't.

  • ||

    Would you discipline them for ever saying a bad word to an arrestee? If not, then what is so special about the N word?

    Yes and nothing, respectively.They're paid to be professional. If they're unprofessional, they shouldn't be in that line of work.

  • Gaear Grimsrud||

    I agree. Using slurs of any kind on citizens is simply a means of asserting dominance. They're either professional public servants or they're thugs.

  • Riven||

    As a matter of fact, yes, I would. Profanity has no place in a professional workplace. Period. Just do your job and keep your colorful language for alleged perps to yourself.

    And cops need nevermind what kind of slurs and profanity the general public uses against each other or against cops. I expect officers of the law to be better than that, even if they don't have those high expectations for themselves.

  • ||

    Profanity has no place in a professional workplace.

    In the research lab that I run, "fuck" is punctuation.

  • Riven||

    Well, that's what you get when you let one of God's chosen people run the lab.

  • WTF||

    You are correct, and some police departments enforce this. I had friend who was a police sargent who wrote up one of his guys for calling an arrestee a scumbag when he was putting him in the cruiser.

  • ||

    a police sargent who wrote up one of his guys for calling an arrestee a scumbag

    Indeed it is a question of professionalism: if verbal abuse is more likely to make the citizen engage in violence (cf. fighting words doctrine), then it is behaviour which can affect officer safety negatively.

  • SamHell||

    Detective Ellis Carver: What he means to say is that we are effective deterrent in the war on drugs when we are on the street.
    Detective Thomas Hauk ("Herc"): Fucking motherfuckers up.
    Carver: Indeed.
    Herc: Fuck the paperwork. Collect bodies, split heads.
    Carver: Split 'em wide.
    Det. Hauk: The Western District way.
    Det. Carver: A'ight.

  • Juvenile Bluster||

    I don't.

    Contextually, there's no difference between a black officer doing it and a white officer. This shit's ingrained in policing as a whole.

  • WTF||

    ^ So much this. The cops in general have an "us against them" mentality where all non-cops are scum in their eyes.

  • John||

    See my comment above. I don't disagree with you. But if you are going to claim that, then perhaps we should reconsider our stances towards the use of racial slurs in general.

  • Juvenile Bluster||

    And I don't disagree with you there either.

  • Number 2||

    I'm inclined to view the beating itself as the biggest fucking problem regardless of the words that accompany it. Or would it be a mitigating factor if the officer quoted from Wordsworth while administering the beating?

  • ULOST||

    Looky here. The police engaged in authorized conventional strategic situational intimidation while calling him a n****r (nigger). You see how they did not repeat it later and instead referred to him with the much more acceptable "black ass" upon seeing him again. It was not personal.

  • bassjoe||

    So you seriously don't see a problem with cops calling detainees "niggers"?

  • John||

    Perhaps. But what do you want to bet that many of the cops doing that were black themselves? In fact, I bet all of them were. I find it hard to believe that a white cop could get away with that, even in a place like Baltimore. But it is a near certainty that no one would call out a black cop who did it.

  • WTF||

    They're not calling them "nigger", they're calling them "nigga". See?

  • Calidissident||

    So you don't actually have any evidence of that, but conclude so because it fits your narrative?

    I don't find it hard to believe black cops called someone "nigger" or "nigga" but I find it hard to believe they called a black suspect "monkey" along with those words, or that they said the "what brings your black ass here" line.

  • bassjoe||

    Why the hell does the color of the cop's skin that even matter? God, you're a fucking tool.

  • Riven||

    Well, I, for one, am shocked--shocked!

  • John||

    Baltimore is a majority black city. It has been run as a single party Democratic state since 1967. Three of the last four mayors of Baltimore were black. The one white mayor was Progressive darling Martin O'Malley. Yet, Baltimore has a systematically racist police department if this report is to be believed.

    Maybe the problem isn't so much the police department but the "black leaders" who claim to care so much about the black community but in fact could not care less about anything but their own self enrichment? The black community in Baltimore wasn't ruled by some alien force occupying the city. And it hasn't been a minority in the city for decades. If the Baltimore has a racist police department, the black community has only its elected leaders and by extension itself to blame for that occurring.

  • NYC2AZ||

  • thom||

    I wrote a rambling semi-articulate response to this in the AM thread, but in short I think in a city like Baltimore it's more about class and protecting the property tax base than anything else. Class divisions and racial divisions look awfully similar, but I'd doubt that the more affluent black neighborhoods have the same issues with the police than the poor neighborhoods.

  • John||

    I don't think Baltimore has any affluent black neighborhoods. The affluent blacks have moved to their own suburbs just like the whites. The affluent neighborhoods in Baltimore are old school white neighborhoods that have always been there and gentrifying white hipster neighborhoods. Moreover, time and again middle and upper class black people describe being treated badly by the police. The racial disparity in policing seems to be white people get treated badly by cops if they are poor. Black people get treated badly by cops regardless if they are poor.

    I think it is a class distinction but not an economic one. It is the political class happily taking the money and support of the police unions not caring how that affects their community. What are the blacks in Baltimore going to do about it? Vote Republican? And no one in the political class, black or white, ever has to worry about being abused by the cops.

  • ||

    I don't think Baltimore has any affluent black neighborhoods.

    Sections of Forest Park and Liberty Heights, for example. Ditto areas around what used to be Leakin Park.

    But mostly, yes, they followed the Jews northwest.

  • bassjoe||

    I don't think Baltimore has any affluent black neighborhoods.

    Do you just have a bullshit faucet? Jesus Christ, man. Get out of your fucking basement.

  • ||

    It has been run as a single party Democratic state since 1967.

    I assume that you switched gears and meant "Maryland."

    De facto, much longer- the mid-60s and earlier, the Democrats were the party of segregation. Spiro Agnew was the liberal candidate for governor, the Dem (Mahoney) was an opportunistic race baiter.

  • John||

    I meant city. I sued the term 'state" generically not to mean the actual state of Maryland. Sorry not to be clear. . Baltimore hasn't had a Republican mayor since 1967. It is a single party city since then. The blacks are in the majority and their politicians run the city. So, if they don't like their police department, they need to be looking at their own leaders and community not some vague notion of "racism".

  • ||

    Even in pre-'67, the mayor (McKeldin) was what would now be a Progressive, especially on racial issues. Remember the shift in the 60s from Southern Democrats.

    I'm showing my age.

  • NYC2AZ||

    Obviously this will all be Whitey's fault.

  • WTF||

    It's the fucking obstructionist RethugliKKKans!!11!!

  • John||

    The other issue that is not touched in this article is the fact that the Baltimore PD is the model of "diversity".

    the 2,745 active duty police officers in the department — 1,445 — more than half are African-American, Hispanic, Asian or Native American, according to data provided by the Baltimore police department to The Daily Caller News Foundation.

    * Four of its top six commanders are either African-American or Hispanic.

    More than 60 percent of the incumbents at the highest command levels hail from minority communities.

    * Among the 46 Baltimore police officers who hold the rank of captain and above, 25 are from ethnic or racial minority groups. That constitutes 54 percent of the command leadership.

    http://dailycaller.com/2015/05.....z4GwjeiDoR


    Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2015/05.....z4GwjU6JLa

    The Caller plays fast and lose here using the generic term "minority" to boost the numbers. So it is hard to say how many of those minorities are black but surely most or half of them are.

    So how is it that a minority run police department is "racist" against the black community? Aren't Progs always telling us only white people can be racist?

  • WTF||

    Well sheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeit!

  • Rational Exuberance||

    African Americans are not a "minority" in Baltimore, they are 2/3 of the population. And it's the local population that determines who runs the city and under what rules police operate.

  • EscherEnigma||

    "Aren't Progs always telling us only white people can be racist?"
    Nope. That's a strawman you tell yourself.

  • John||

    Oh really?

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/.....ddcb45da97

    Just to give one example. A single google search reveals about a million others. Do you think people are so stupid they can't use the internet?

  • CZmacure||

    That's a strawman you tell yourself.


    I guess when I was repeatedly been told that racism is only racism if "power" is attached to it, and that, on Earth, only "white" peope have "power," I was talking to people who weren't "Progs."

    Or you're a clueless troll who has never spoken with a "Prog" about racism. One or the other!

  • JohnD||

    Stupid comment from a stupid little man. I have heard that so many times I've lost count. You are an idiot.

  • Ron||

    I mentioned this on some science site about minorities being targeted by police. The problem with their analysis is that many cities now have so many ethnic groups that as a whole they outnumber the whites so that any studies they do the number of minorities arrested by the police will be greater than the whites since whites are now a minority that is not classified as a minority. So all the studies done will be based on this fallacy, which is not an unusual method of creating scientific biases for political purposes.

  • SKR||

    Oh yeah, it's totally ok for a black cop to yell racial epithets at a black man he's beating the shit out of. Oh wait no it's not. It may not be racist (debatable) but it sure as fuck is dehumanizing. And systemic dehumanization is what makes all of these abuses possible.

  • Ron||

    when any cop of any race uses foul language or racial words to even their own race while arresting anyone shows the cop has lost his/her self control of the situation or themselves and they need to re-evaluate the purpose of their job. One part of their job is to arrest people doing wrong but they are to do it in an impartial non-judgemental manner. I know that certain instances that would be hard if not impossible but it shouldn't be for a basic stop and talk situation. Its not a sensitivity or racial training issue its a personal control over job requirement to perform appropriately. Once you take out the false sensitivity and racial BS police may start embracing change.

  • Rational Exuberance||

    The good people of Baltimore got the police department that they voted for. As long as voter turnout is as miniscule as it is and as long as people keep voting for the same party, they really don't have much cause to complain about. Baltimore is 2/3 black, so whatever common grievances African Americans are supposed to have in Baltimore, they can easily address at the ballot box, having a strong majority.

  • eldrick||

    man,democratic led cities are a cess pool of hate and racism

  • Ken Hagler||

    I wonder how many tax dollars the Justice Department spent to figure out that the Baltimore Police are, in fact, police.

  • Ron||

    I'm sure the Baltimore police are assholes but what evidence do we have that we can trust the Justice department especially since some groups are trying to make the case for a national police force based on the number of police forces they now oversee. When those in power want to take over something they only have to change the rules.

  • KevinP||

    Why are liberal Democrat cities so dangerous and oppressive to minorities?


    The Brutality of Police Culture in liberal Democrat Baltimore, 87% of which voted for Barack Obama


    Quote:
    Victims include a 15-year-old boy riding a dirt bike, a 26-year-old pregnant accountant who had witnessed a beating, a 50-year-old woman selling church raffle tickets, a 65-year-old church deacon rolling a cigarette and an 87-year-old grandmother aiding her wounded grandson. Those cases detail a frightful human toll. Officers have battered dozens of residents who suffered broken bones — jaws, noses, arms, legs, ankles — head trauma, organ failure, and even death, coming during questionable arrests. Some residents were beaten while handcuffed; others were thrown to the pavement.

  • Deli-bro||

    Just started watching The Wire. Its nice to have this context available.

  • SamHell||

    Omar comin'!

  • retiredfire||

    Anyone, who takes something that comes out of this completely racialist "department of (in)justice", seriously, was probably an 0blama voter and, as such, needs their head examined.

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