(BALTIMORE) — Newly appointed Attorney General Loretta Lynch has approved opening of a federal civil rights investigation into the Baltimore Police Department following the death of Freddie Gray, a source familiar with the matter told ABC News Thursday night.
The investigation, which will be handled by the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, will explore whether the Baltimore Police Department has engaged in a “pattern or practice” of discriminatory policing.
A decision could be announced as early as Friday.
Gray died a week after he was taken into police custody. Six officers have since been charged in his death.
If the Department of Justice finds that there was a “pattern or practice” of discriminatory policing, it will ask that the police department make sweeping changes. 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.
On Wednesday, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake called for a probe of the city’s police department, saying that she believes, “the process can help repair the public’s trust in the Baltimore Police Department — even where that trust has long been broken — by bringing about transparency, accountability, and greater community understanding.”
Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony Batts said Thursday that the department continues to attempt to reform the department. “I welcome with open arms the Mayor’s request for a Department of Justice review,” Batts said in a statement. “We have never shied away from scrutiny or assistance. Our work is ongoing and anyone who wishes to be a part of helping the department better connect with the community will always be welcome.”
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