UPDATE 11:40 A.M. EDT: The Department of Justice released a statement on the proposed investigation.
“The Attorney General has received Mayor Rawlings-Blake’s request for a Civil Rights Division 'pattern or practice' investigation into the Baltimore Police Department. The Attorney General is actively considering that option in light of what she heard from law enforcement, city officials, and community, faith and youth leaders in Baltimore yesterday.”
The mayor's request comes after the April 19 death of Freddie Gray, 25, who died one week after suffering a fatal spinal cord injury while in police custody.
The request still requires approval from the Justice Department, which is already conducting two separate probes involving the Baltimore Police Department -- one voluntary inquiry concerning legal settlements in alleged incidents of excessive force, and another on Gray's death. "I do not believe they will delay an answer," the mayor said, as NBC News reported.
Rawlings-Blake noted that complaints of police brutality are down in the city, but she still spoke of the need for police reforms. "We have to get it right. Failure is not an option," she said, as the Sun reported. The mayor added that if changes are not implemented, those responsible will be held accountable.
U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch visited the city Tuesday and pledged to help improve the police department. Lynch met with city officials, local leaders and Gray's family. She also commented on the protests and unrest that followed Gray's death. Six police officers have been charged in the case.
"This is a flash-point situation," Lynch said, as the Associated Press reported, via Yahoo. "We lost a young man's life and it begins to represent so many things."