“I am asking, that they [the DOJ] investigate what systematic changes or systemic challenges exist within our police department that can contribute to excessive force and discriminatory policing. At the end of this process, I will hold those accountable if change is not made,” the mayor said.
During the news conference, Rawlings-Blake also announced that she had asked the DOJ to launch an investigation into the Baltimore police practices to determine “if our police department has engaged in a pattern or practice of stops, searches or arrests that violate the 4th amendment.”
The Baltimore mayor’s announcement comes a day after she met with the newly sworn-in US Attorney General Loretta Lynch in Baltimore.
Lynch’s visit to Baltimore followed the wave of violent riots that erupted after 25-year-old Gray was laid to rest last Monday. On April 27, the rioters looted stores, injured 20 police officers, destroyed 15 buildings and set 144 cars on fire, causing Rawlings-Blake to impose a week-long citywide curfew.
On Wednesday, Lynch said that she was “actively considering” pursuing the Baltimore police investigation upon Rawlings-Blake’s request.
Gray’s death came after a string of mostly African-Americans killings at the hands of police over the past year, causing massive protests against police brutality and unaccountability throughout the United States.