WASHINGTON, May 8 (Sputnik) — The US Department of Justice (DOJ) has agreed to launch an investigation into the Baltimore Police Department (BPD) to determine whether its officers engaged in discriminatory practices, following the charges filed against six BPD officers for the illegal arrest of African-American Freddie Gray, US Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced on Friday.
“Today, the Department of Justice is opening an investigation into whether the Baltimore Police Department has engaged in a pattern or practice of violations of the constitution or federal law,” Lynch said.
“This investigation will begin immediately and focus on allegations that Baltimore Police Department officers used excessive force, including deadly force conducted unlawful searches, seizures and arrests and engaged in discriminatory policing,” Lynch added.
The DOJ will consider “all relevant information” during the investigation, including interviewing police officers and local officials, observing policemen during ride-alongs, and will examine whether the BPD has made efforts to “ensure compliance with federal law.”
In addition to the BPD practices investigation, the DOJ is also in the midst of conducting a separate civil rights investigation to determine whether any civil rights violations occurred during Gray’s arrest.
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.