World Bulletin / News Desk
The Justice Department soon will decide whether to investigate if the Baltimore Police Department has engaged in civil rights violations, the newly appointed U.S. attorney general said Thursday.
"We are currently in the process of considering the request from city officials and community and police leaders for the investigation into whether the Baltimore City Police Department engaged in a pattern or practice of civil rights violations," said Loretta Lynch, as she testified before a Senate committee.
"I intend to have a decision in the coming days," she added.
Lynch’s remarks comes a day after Baltimore’s Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake asked federal investigators probe if city police have engaged in a pattern of excessive force or discrimination against the black community.
An investigation of that nature was necessary to bring about the “significant reform” residents want, the mayor said.
Lynch visited Baltimore on Tuesday and met with city officials and the family of Freddie Gray, a black male who suffered a fatal spinal injury while in police custody last month.
Gray’s death sparked days of unrest in Maryland’s largest city and its top prosecutor charged six police officers involved in Gray’s arrest and subsequent death.
The Justice Department launched a separate probe to determine if Gray’s civil rights were violated.
"The situation in Baltimore involves a core responsibility of the Department of Justice, not only to combat illegal conduct when it occurs but to help prevent the circumstances that give rise to it in the first place," Lynch said during her testimony.
Baltimore State Attorney Marilyn Mosby charged the six police officers last week after a medical examiner’s report declared Gray’s death a homicide.
Mosby said the officers involved in the arrest of the 25-year-old had repeatedly ignored his pleas for medical help as he lay handcuffed with his legs shackled in the rear of a police van.
The Justice Department launched a similar investigation in Ferguson, Missouri, following the fatal shooting last summer of unarmed black teen Michel Brown by a white police officer. That probe found a pattern of systemic discrimination against blacks by the police department and the court system.Last Mod: 08 Mayıs 2015, 07:43