Justice Department launches investigation into Baltimore police

The US Department of Justice has launched a civil rights investigation into whether the Baltimore Police Department has engaged in the abuse of minorities, following the death of an African-American man in police custody.

The department will investigate accusations that Baltimore police officers engaged in systemic patterns of misconduct, including discriminatory practices such as stops, searches and arrests of blacks in violation of the US Constitution, Attorney General Loretta Lynch said Friday.

“Our goal is to work with the community, public officials, and law enforcement alike to create a stronger, better Baltimore,” she said.

Lynch was sworn in last week as the successor to Eric Holder, whose final year as attorney general was consumed by matters of race relations and law enforcement.

The civil rights investigation follows the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray, who died on April 19, a week after his encounter with officers that left him with a severe spinal injury. Authorities have not explained how or when his spine was injured.

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