Baltimore Asks Justice Department to Investigate Police Department for Civil-Rights Violations

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Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake asked the Justice Department to conduct a civil-rights investigation into “systemic challenges exist in our [police] department” on Wednesday, a day after Attorney General Loretta Lynch visited the city. A similar probe into the police department in Ferguson, Missouri, resulted in a damning report — and several resignations.

We have to have a foundation of trust,” Rawlings-Blake said at a press conference held a week after the riots and protests prompted by the death of Freddie Gray, “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 mayor specifically would like the DOJ to investigate “if our Police Department has engaged in a pattern of stops, searches or arrests that violate the Fourth Amendment.”

She added that officers will have access to body cameras by next year.

Rawlings-Blake spoke to the Washington Post about residents’ relationship with the police earlier this week. “It’s not the best relationship right now, but we have to … work this out,” she said. “We’re always going to be vulnerable to flare-ups until we repair the relationship.”