Baltimore Mayor Seeks Federal Probe of Police

Baltimore will ask the Justice Department to investigate whether the city’s police department employs a pattern of excessive force or discriminatory policing after the death of an African-American man from injuries suffered while in police custody, the mayor said Wednesday.

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake’s request for a probe into possible civil rights violations by the city’s police department comes a day after new Attorney General Loretta Lynch visited the city. She said Lynch understands the urgency of her request.

The investigation will look into police «patterns and practices» and potential violations of the U.S. Constitution’s Fourth Amendment, which bars unreasonable searches and seizures, Rawlings-Blake said during a news conference.

The request follows the death last month of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man who was taken into custody and suffered a nearly severed spinal cord injury. Gray’s death sparked protests and a day of arson and looting.

Last Friday, State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby filed felony charges – ranging from assault to murder — against the six officers involved in the arrest.

The Justice Department is already investigating whether his civil rights were violated and six officers have been charged in his arrest and death.

A Department of Justice spokesman was not immediately available to comment.

The investigation is similar to one done in Ferguson, Missouri, after the death last summer of an unarmed African-American teen who was shot to death by a white police officer.