Justice Department launches Baltimore police investigation

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WASHINGTON -- The Justice Department launched on Friday a pattern or practice investigation into the methods of the Baltimore Police Department, weeks after the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray.Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced Friday the investigation, which will look into whether the police department has used excessive force and conducted unlawful searches, seizures and arrests, and discriminatory policing practices. She said she launched the investigation at the urging of Baltimore officials and community leaders, and with the support of the Baltimore police union. "Our goal is to work with the community, public officials, and law enforcement alike to create a stronger, better Baltimore," Lynch said.

Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake had requested the investigation into the city's police department, similar to the probe conducted in Ferguson, Missouri after the shooting death of Michael Brown last summer, earlier this week when Lynch was in town. Gray suffered a fatal injury to his spine while in police custody under unclear circumstances.

Six officers have been arrested and face charges, ranging from false imprisonment to murder.

By Evan Perez

CNN Justice Reporter

CNN's Athena Jones and Dana Ford contributed to this report.

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