SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Thursday night, U.S. Attorney Rachel Rollins spoke in a town hall on the effects of the consent decree reached between the Federal Department of Justice and the Springfield Police Department.

The discussion was hosted by the Pioneer Valley Project and Springfield NAACP virtually. A consent decree is the highest level of federal accountability that can be faced by a local police department. It sets in motion what is said are much-needed reforms within the city’s justice system.

U.S. Attorney Rachel Rollins said, “Poor communities, black and brown communities, immigrant communities, are overwhelmingly over-policed and over prosecuted. We receive more significant charges for the same crimes that our white counterparts might engage in. And we receive longer sentences.”

Rollins went on to say that excessive force complaints against police within those same communities are often ignored and police officers are seldom prosecuted.