UPDATE 10:18 am, ET -- Attorney General Loretta Lynch on Friday announced that the U.S. Department of Justice will investigate the practices of the Baltimore Police Department, answering the request of local elected official after the police-involved death of Freddie Gray. Lynch said the probe will look to determine if Baltimore police engaged in activities that routinely violated the constitutional rights of city residents. "If unconsotitonal poilices and practices are found, we will seek a court enforceable agreement to address those isues," Lynch said.
The U.S. Department of Justice is expected to announce Friday a federal investigation of the Baltimore Police Department to determine whether the city’s officers have shown a pattern of excessive force against residents. The official announcement was expected to be made by Attorney General Loretta Lynch, who visited Baltimore this week to assess how the Justice Department would engage officials and help repair the relationship between police and the community.
A live stream of Lynch’s announcement can be watched through the player below or by clicking here. The press conference is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. EDT.
Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has requested a federal investigation of the police department, saying she needs “any and all resources” to repair the “fractured relationship” between the city’s residents and officers. Along with other elected U.S. officials, Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, D-Md., has supported a federal probe, saying the community has long suffered from a lack of trust in its police force. The investigation would be similar to the one launched by the Justice Department in Ferguson, Missouri, after former Police Officer Darren Wilson shot and killed Michael Brown there.
Following several days of peaceful protests, Baltimore erupted into riots April 27 in the wake of the funeral of Freddie Gray, a city resident who died in police custody after suffering a severe spinal injury. Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby filed charges May 1 against the six police officers who participated in Gray’s arrest.
Lynch said Thursday the role of the Justice Department is not only to prosecute wrongdoing by citizens and law-enforcement personnel but also to prevent it. “When there are allegations of wrongdoing made against individual officers and police departments, the Department of Justice has a responsibility to examine the evidence and, if necessary, implement changes,” she said during testimony before a Senate Appropriations subcommittee.