*At the request of Baltimore mayor, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch and the Department of Justice plan to launch a full-scale civil rights investigation into use of force by Baltimore police officers, according to sources with knowledge of the matter, reports the Baltimore Sun.
The decision came as local officials pressed the Department of Justice to launch an inquiry similar to investigations into police departments in Ferguson, Mo., and Cleveland, examining whether officers engaged in patterns of excessive force. In both of those cities, unrest erupted after unarmed people were killed by police.
On the job just over a week, the top U.S. law enforcement officer comes to the city, pledging federal help and vowing to help the city get back on its feet.
Lynch visited Baltimore this week and met the family of Freddie Gray, the man who died last month of a severed spine and other injuries sustained while in police custody. Lynch said earlier this week that the Justice Department might need to go beyond a voluntary, collaborative review of use of force by city police that began in October.
“Although the city has made significant strides in their collaborative reform efforts with the Community Oriented Policing Services Office, I have not ruled out the possibility that more may need to be done,” Lynch said earlier this week.
An announcement of the broader investigation is expected Friday, according to a law enforcement official who requested anonymity because the decision had not been made public.
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