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Baltimore Mayor asks DOJ to investigate whether police have 'pattern' of violating 4th amendment

Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has asked the US Department of Justice to investigate whether Baltimore City Police have engaged in a "pattern or practice" of stops, searches or arrests that violate the 4th amendment.

"I believe 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," Mayor Rawlings-Blake{}wrote in a letter to Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch.

In a Wednesday morning press conference Rawlings-Blake also pledged that the department "will have body cameras before the year's end." The city is moving into a procurement process and a body camera pilot program is slated to be in operation by the end of 2015.

"We have to get it right," Rawlings-Blake said of police reform. "Failure is not an option."

One of the steps which has already been taken--in partnership with Police Commissioner Anthony Batts--was the elimination of the Violent Crimes Impact Section police unit, which had been "the target of repeated citizen complaints for harassment and use of force," Rawlings-Blake said.

According to the DOJ, if Attorney General Lynch agrees to open an investigation into the Baltimore Police Department, an investigation will begin to seek out any persistent patterns of misconduct, focusing on such areas as excessive force, discriminatory policing, and improper stops, searches or arrests.

If any patterns or practices of unlawful policing are found, a reform agreement or Consent Decree would likely be negotiated.

The DOJ has already opened an investigation into the death of Freddie Gray, the man who died after spending a week in a coma following an arrest in west Baltimore. Six officers have been charged in connection with his death.

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