Sessions
PHOTO: CNN
Sessions
Now playing
01:53
Sessions orders review of police reforms
US Attorney General Jeff Sessions looks on during a press conference regarding the arrest of bombing suspect Cesar Sayoc in Florida, at the Department of Justice in Washington, DC on October 26, 2018. - The suspect has been charged with five federal crimes in connection with more than a dozen suspicious packages sent in a US mail bombing spree, Sessions said. (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / AFP)        (Photo credit should read ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP/Getty Images)
PHOTO: ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP/Getty Images
US Attorney General Jeff Sessions looks on during a press conference regarding the arrest of bombing suspect Cesar Sayoc in Florida, at the Department of Justice in Washington, DC on October 26, 2018. - The suspect has been charged with five federal crimes in connection with more than a dozen suspicious packages sent in a US mail bombing spree, Sessions said. (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / AFP) (Photo credit should read ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP/Getty Images)
Now playing
03:18
Jeff Sessions out as attorney general
 US President Donald Trump applauds after addressing supporters at a Faith and Freedom Coalition event in Washington DC on June 08, 2017.
President Donald Trump avoided directly responding to explosive accusations made by his ex-FBI director Thursday, but sought to rally supporters behind a message of defiance. "We are going to fight and win" Trump said, addressing supporters at a Faith and Freedom Coalition event in the capital.
US Attorney General Jeff Sessions (R) delivers remarks during the daily White House press briefing March 27, 2017 in Washington, DC. Sessions announced new actions against sanctuary cities that seek Justice Department grants during his surprise appearance. Also pictured is White House press secretary Sean Spicer
PHOTO: Getty Images
US President Donald Trump applauds after addressing supporters at a Faith and Freedom Coalition event in Washington DC on June 08, 2017. President Donald Trump avoided directly responding to explosive accusations made by his ex-FBI director Thursday, but sought to rally supporters behind a message of defiance. "We are going to fight and win" Trump said, addressing supporters at a Faith and Freedom Coalition event in the capital. US Attorney General Jeff Sessions (R) delivers remarks during the daily White House press briefing March 27, 2017 in Washington, DC. Sessions announced new actions against sanctuary cities that seek Justice Department grants during his surprise appearance. Also pictured is White House press secretary Sean Spicer
Now playing
02:36
How Trump and Sessions's relationship deteriorated
WASHINGTON -- Attorney General Jeff Sessions will travel to Boston, Massachusetts, on Monday, October 29, 2018 to give remarks to the Boston Lawyers Chapter of the Federalist Society on the Future of Religious Liberty.
PHOTO: CNN
WASHINGTON -- Attorney General Jeff Sessions will travel to Boston, Massachusetts, on Monday, October 29, 2018 to give remarks to the Boston Lawyers Chapter of the Federalist Society on the Future of Religious Liberty.
Now playing
01:46
Pastor to Sessions: Repent, help those in need
US President Donald Trump sits with Attorney General Jeff Sessions on December 15, 2017 in Quantico, Virginia, before participating in the FBI National Academy graduation ceremony.
PHOTO: NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images
US President Donald Trump sits with Attorney General Jeff Sessions on December 15, 2017 in Quantico, Virginia, before participating in the FBI National Academy graduation ceremony.
Now playing
02:13
Trump: I'm disappointed in Sessions
PHOTO: CNN
Now playing
01:55
Sessions warns about fake immigration claims
PHOTO: CNN
Now playing
00:48
Kellyanne Conway: Sessions doing a great job
PHOTO: CNN Illustration/Getty Images
Now playing
02:04
Trump's feud with Sessions escalates again
PHOTO: Fox News Channel
Now playing
01:19
Trump on Sessions: What kind of man is this?
President Donald Trump stands with Attorney General Jeff Sessions on December 15, 2017 in Quantico, Virginia, before participating in the FBI National Academy graduation ceremony.
PHOTO: NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images
President Donald Trump stands with Attorney General Jeff Sessions on December 15, 2017 in Quantico, Virginia, before participating in the FBI National Academy graduation ceremony.
Now playing
00:59
Source: Trump pressured Sessions to reverse recusal
 US President Donald Trump applauds after addressing supporters at a Faith and Freedom Coalition event in Washington DC on June 08, 2017.
President Donald Trump avoided directly responding to explosive accusations made by his ex-FBI director Thursday, but sought to rally supporters behind a message of defiance. "We are going to fight and win" Trump said, addressing supporters at a Faith and Freedom Coalition event in the capital.
US Attorney General Jeff Sessions (R) delivers remarks during the daily White House press briefing March 27, 2017 in Washington, DC. Sessions announced new actions against sanctuary cities that seek Justice Department grants during his surprise appearance. Also pictured is White House press secretary Sean Spicer
PHOTO: Getty Images
US President Donald Trump applauds after addressing supporters at a Faith and Freedom Coalition event in Washington DC on June 08, 2017. President Donald Trump avoided directly responding to explosive accusations made by his ex-FBI director Thursday, but sought to rally supporters behind a message of defiance. "We are going to fight and win" Trump said, addressing supporters at a Faith and Freedom Coalition event in the capital. US Attorney General Jeff Sessions (R) delivers remarks during the daily White House press briefing March 27, 2017 in Washington, DC. Sessions announced new actions against sanctuary cities that seek Justice Department grants during his surprise appearance. Also pictured is White House press secretary Sean Spicer
Now playing
01:57
Trump tweets he wishes he picked different AG
US President Donald Trump departs the White House July 31, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
PHOTO: Win McNamee/Getty Images North America/Getty Images
US President Donald Trump departs the White House July 31, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Now playing
02:04
Trump: Sessions should end Russia probe now
jeff sessions
PHOTO: POOL
jeff sessions
Now playing
00:55
Sessions defends Trump on immigration policy
PHOTO: POOL
Now playing
02:12
Sessions rips schools for 'snowflake' culture
AG Sessions - Turning Point USA HS Leadership Summit Remarks  Attorney General Jeff Sessions will deliver remarks at Turning Point USA's High School Leadership Summit  OPEN PRESS (Camera Preset for K9 security sweep: 7:30 a.m. EDT // Final access time for print media without gear: 8:45 a.m. EDT)   NOTE:  All media must RSVP and present government-issued photo I.D. (such as a driver's license) as well as valid media credentials. (CNN has RSVP'd)
PHOTO: POOL
AG Sessions - Turning Point USA HS Leadership Summit Remarks Attorney General Jeff Sessions will deliver remarks at Turning Point USA's High School Leadership Summit OPEN PRESS (Camera Preset for K9 security sweep: 7:30 a.m. EDT // Final access time for print media without gear: 8:45 a.m. EDT) NOTE: All media must RSVP and present government-issued photo I.D. (such as a driver's license) as well as valid media credentials. (CNN has RSVP'd)
Now playing
01:36
Jeff Sessions repeats 'lock her up' chant
PHOTO: Fox News
Now playing
01:03
Sessions: Detention centers not like Nazi Germany

Story highlights

The court denied the Justice Department's request for more time to review the proposed decree

The judge called the need for the decree "urgent"

(CNN) —  

A federal judge in Baltimore approved a sweeping consent decree Friday that outlines extensive reforms now required for the city’s police department, finding that “time is of the essence.”

Less than three months ago, Baltimore and the Justice Department under then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch agreed on the terms of the decree after a federal investigation of the Baltimore police department revealed patterns of unconstitutional treatment of the city’s black residents and excessive force. The investigation was launched following the death of Freddie Gray.

Yet the Justice Department told US District Court Judge James Bredar in court Thursday that Attorney General Jeff Sessions had “grave concerns” about the proposed decree and asked for asked for 30 days to review it.

In a strongly-worded order, Bredar flatly rejected that request, concluding that it would be “extraordinary for the court to permit one side to unilaterally amend an agreement already jointly reached and signed.”

01:26 - Source: CNN
What happened in Baltimore?

“The time for expressing ‘grave concerns’ has passed and instead the parties must now execute the agreement as they promised they would,” Bredar wrote.

He granted the parties’$2 227-page draft decree with only minor modifications.

“The problems that necessitate this consent decree are urgent,” Bredar continued. “The parties have agreed on a detailed and reasonable approach to solving them. Now, it is time to enter the decree and thereby require all involved to get to work on repairing the many fractures so poignantly revealed by the record.”

The reforms required are considerable, including cameras placed in all police transport vans, and Bredar will retain jurisdiction over the case while the decree is in effect.

Sessions said in a statement Friday that he feared “some provisions of this decree will reduce the lawful powers of the police department and result in a less safe city,” citing recent crime statistics in the city.

“The mayor and police chief in Baltimore say they are committed to better policing and that there should be no delay to review this decree, but there are clear departures from many proven principles of good policing that we fear will result in more crime,” Sessions added.

But the mayor of Baltimore said the city will continue to move forward in reforming the police department.

“Our goal is a stronger police department that fights crime while it serves and protects the civil and constitutional rights of our residents,” Mayor Catherine E. Pugh said in a statement. “I am confident in our mutual commitment to reforms and to the citizens of Baltimore.”

Bredar’s approval of the consent decree prompted an outpouring of support from advocates of police reform.

Sherrilyn Ifill, president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense & Education Fund Inc., called the ruling “a true victory.”

“(T)his agreement provides the necessary framework to eradicate widespread and systemic police misconduct through sustainable reform. This consent decree will help radically transform the BPD, improve public safety and build community trust,” Ifill said.

Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, echoed Ifill, and said the decree “may serve as a model of reform for other similarly-situated police departments across the country. Today’s decision is a victory for the people of Baltimore who have been subject to unconstitutional policing practices, including excessive force, for far too long.”

Before making his decision, the judge sat for nearly four hours on Thursday as dozens of Baltimore city residents stepped forward to tell gut-wrenching stories.

While the crowd was diverse, their stories were consistently tales of children killed, domestic violence survivors living in fear, and of those with mental-health challenges being abused by Baltimore police.

The vast majority encouraged Bredar to enter the consent decree without delay.

“Innocent people are dying, the status quo cannot stand,” Rabbi Daniel Burg told the judge. “What a story it would make if Baltimore became a story about what is right in policing.”

CNN’s David Shortell contributed to this report.