Baltimore Police Will Be Target Of Broad Justice Department Inquiry

May 8, 2015

Two federal sources tell NPR that the Justice Department is preparing to launch a broad investigation into possible discriminatory policing in Baltimore.

The officials spoke anonymously because no formal announcement has been made, though the Associated Press says that could come as soon as Friday. The probe follows a request from city leaders and members of Congress.

U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch made Baltimore the site of her first official trip this week, as she met with faith leaders and young activists. They urged her to look for a pattern of racial bias in traffic stops and other possible discrimination by law enforcement. Maryland’s congressional delegation and the mayor also asked the federal government to weigh in.

The investigation will be far broader than a concurrent Justice Department probe into whether civil rights laws were violated in the death of Freddie Gray. The Baltimore man’s death, following a spinal injury he suffered in police custody, led to widespread protests and a night of destructive rioting in late April.

The civil rights investigation could take months, but likely will produce detailed written findings and recommendations for change. Many such investigations have resulted in court-approved consent decrees.

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