A week after six police officers in Baltimore are arrested on charges including murder and manslaughter for the death of Freddie Gray, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the launching of an investigation of the Baltimore Police Department (BPD).
The department’s investigation of BPD will seek to determine whether there are systemic violations of the Constitution or federal law by officers of BPD. The investigation will focus on BPD’s use of force, including deadly force, and its stops, searches and arrests, as well as whether there is a pattern or practice of discriminatory policing.
While the pattern or practice investigation is ongoing, the department’s Office of Community Oriented Policing will continue to work with BPD and the collaborative reform process that was started in October 2014 will convert to the provision of technical assistance to the BPD allowing for changes and improvements even as the pattern or practice investigation is underway.
“Our goal is to work with the community, public officials and law enforcement alike to create a stronger, better Baltimore,” said Lynch. “The Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division has conducted dozens of these pattern or practice investigations, and we have seen from our work in jurisdictions across the country that communities that have gone through this process are experiencing improved policing practices and increased trust between the police and the community.”
During the course of the investigation, the Justice Department will consider all relevant information, particularly the efforts that BPD has undertaken to ensure compliance with federal law, and the experiences and views of the community. The Justice Department has taken similar steps involving a variety of state and local law enforcement agencies, both large and small, in jurisdictions throughout the United States.
Individuals who wish to share information related to the investigation are encouraged to contact the department at 1-844-401-3733 or via email at Community.Baltimore@usdoj.gov.