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In US Baltimore Mayor asks Justice department to investigate police

The investigations are to determine if the department has engaged in a pattern of racially biased policing.

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play Stephanie Rawlings-Blake (Baltimore Brew)

Following the death of Freddie Gray, the 25-year old black man who died after allegedly suffering fatal injuries while in police custody, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has asked the Department of Justice to conduct a civil rights investigation into the Baltimore Police Department.

The investigations are to determine if the department has engaged in a pattern of racially biased policing.

Rawlings-Blake met with newly-appointed Attorney General Loretta Lynch on Tuesday, and formally requested a federal investigation into the Baltimore police department to determine if citizens’ Constitutional rights have routinely been violated.

Addressing a press conference, the mayor said:

“We all know that Baltimore continues to have a fractured relationship between the police and the community, we have to have a foundation of trust, and I believe that we need the assistance of the Department of Justice and the civil rights investigation to shore up that foundation, which is weak right now in this city.”

The investigation will be similar to Justice Department probes of the Cleveland, Philadelphia, and Ferguson, Missouri, police departments, which resulted in scathing reports that uncovered routine civil rights violations by officers.

She also expressed hope that a federal review of the Baltimore police department will contribute to healing for the city, still reeling from anger, protests and riots that escalated in the wake of Gray’s death.

Responding to the request, Justice Department spokesperson Dena Iverson said Lynch has received the mayor’s request for a pattern and practice investigation and that she is “actively considering the option in light of what she heard from law enforcement, city officials, and community, faith and youth leaders in Baltimore yesterday.”

In the meantime, 6 officers have been charged in Gray’s death with a range of offences  from “second degree depraved heart murder” and manslaughter to misconduct in office and false imprisonment.

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