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Large riots tend to not be the best look for a community, but they do seem to make peoples’ voices heard, at least eventually.
After several riots and hostile protests took place in Baltimore over the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray, the Department of Justice launched a federal civil rights probe Friday of the police department that had Gray in its custody when he died, ABC News reported.
The Department of Justice was originally going to look into just Gray’s death, but now the entire police force will come under closer examination.
Attorney General Loretta Lynch said her department will look into allegations of Baltimore police using excessive force, conducting unlawful searches and arrests, and engaging in “discriminatory policing.”
The Justice Department said it will “consider all relevant information” and conduct interviews with police officers, prosecutors and local officials as part of its investigation into the Baltimore Police Department.
If the Justice Department finds that there was a “pattern or practice” of discriminatory policing, it will ask that the police department make sweeping changes. But if the police department declines to do so, the matter could land in front of a federal judge, who could force changes within the department.
Six Baltimore officers are facing felony charges in Gray’s death, and they are accused of failing to properly secure him in a police and failing to respond to his repeated cries for medical help.
The Department of Justice launched an investigation into the police department in Ferguson, Missouri, last year after teenager Michael Brown was killed in a confrontation with officer Darren Wilson. Protests and riots went on for several days leading up to the announcement of the federal probe.
In that investigation, which took seven months, the Department of Justice found the Ferguson Police Department had developed a “pattern or practice” of discriminatory policing.
In what then-Attorney General Eric Holder called a “searing report” on the findings, the Justice Department detailed racist emails sent by officers and cited 161 use-of-force complaints against Ferguson police from 2010 to 2014.