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    Members of the community hold hands in front of police officers in riot gear outside a recently looted and burned CVS store in Baltimore, Maryland, United States April 28, 2015

    Baltimore Police Violate US Constitution - US Justice Dept.

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    A US Justice Department report on the Baltimore Police Department (BPD) practices and conduct has concluded that BPD violates the US Constitution and federal anti-discrimination law, US Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division Vanita Gupta said in a press conference on Wednesday.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The Justice Department opened an investigation into the BPD practices in May 2015, one month after 25-year-old African American man Freddie Gray died of spinal cord injuries sustained while in police custody.

    Six officers were charged in connection with Gray's death; three were found not guilty and charges were dropped against the remaining three in July.

    "We conclude that there is reasonable cause to believe that BPD engages in a pattern or practice of conduct that violates the Constitution and federal anti-discrimination law," Gupta stated.

    The Justice Department explained that BPD makes stops, searches and arrests without the required justification; unlawfully subjects African Americans to disproportionate rates of stops, searches and arrests; uses excessive force as well as retaliates against individuals.

    "The pattern or practice results from systemic deficiencies that have persisted within BPD for many years and has exacerbated community distrust of the police, particularly in the African-American community," the report noted.

    The city and BPD have entered into an agreement in principle to work together, with community input, to create a US federal court-enforceable consent decree addressing the department’s deficiencies, according to the report.

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