Lynch: Decision on Baltimore PD probe coming soon

Attorney General Loretta Lynch said Thursday she’ll decide “in the coming days” whether the Justice Department will launch a civil rights investigation into the Baltimore Police Department.

“I intend to have a decision in the coming days,” Lynch said in testimony before a Senate Appropriations subcommittee that oversees funding for her agency.

Her testimony comes just two days after she visited Baltimore following unrest surrounding the death of Freddie Gray last month from injuries sustained in police custody.

Baltimore has made “significant strides” over the years, Lynch acknowledged, but “I have not ruled out the possibility that more may need to be done.”

{mosads}Lynch said when there are allegations of wrongdoing by police, “The Department of Justice has a responsibility to examine the evidence and to help them implement change.”

On Wednesday, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake (D) asked that the Justice Department initiate a “pattern or practice” civil rights investigation into the city’s police department. The Justice Department launched a similar investigation in Ferguson in the wake of racial tensions there last summer following the fatal shooting of Michael Brown by a police officer.

Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), ranking member on the Senate subcommittee, told Lynch that she will receive a letter Thursday afternoon from the Maryland congressional delegation supporting the request for an investigation.

Mikulski said she plans to ask Lynch about resources and funding needed for reforms, including for police body cameras.

“What do you need in terms of resources? What reforms are needed?” Mikulski said. “Is this yet one more gimmick or just one more crucial tool?” Mikulski added, referring to body cameras.

Rawlings-Blake promised her city’s police department Wednesday that it would receive body cameras by the end of the year.

Tags Barbara Mikulski

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