May 07, 2015

Cardin, Mikulski, Cummings, Delaney, Edwards, Hoyer, Ruppersberger, Sarbanes, Van Hollen Write Attorney General Lynch in Support of “Pattern or Practice” Investigation of the Baltimore Police Department

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski together with Representatives Elijah Cummings, John Delaney, Donna F. Edwards, Steny Hoyer, Dutch Ruppersberger, John Sarbanes and Chris Van Hollen (all D-Md.) have sent a letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch supporting the request made this week by Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake to have the Department of Justice (DOJ) Civil Rights Division open a federal “pattern or practice” investigation of the Baltimore Police Department (BPD).

 

“By using your authority under 42 U.S.C. § 14141, you have the ability to help repair the public’s trust in the BPD and ensure the protection of our citizens’ constitutional rights.  Such an investigation could address issues such as allegations of persistent patterns of police misconduct, use of excessive force, discriminatory policing or use of profiling, and improper stops, searches, or arrests.  We would welcome a detailed report on the BPD along with recommendations to reform this critical agency in a timely manner,” the Members wrote.

 

“We ask the Justice Department to continue its Collaborative Reform Initiative through the COPS Office that is providing technical assistance to the BPD.  We also ask the Justice Department continue its criminal and civil rights investigation into the death of Baltimore resident Freddie Gray.”

 

The letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch follows:

 

 

May 7, 2015

 

The Honorable Loretta Lynch

Attorney General

United States Department of Justice

950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

Washington, D.C. 20530

 

Dear Attorney General Lynch:

 

We thank you for visiting Baltimore, Maryland, earlier this week during your first official trip since being sworn into office last week.  We appreciated the meetings you held with members of the Congressional delegation, local officials, community leaders, and the family of Freddie Gray.  We welcome the active engagement in Baltimore of officials from the Civil Rights Division, COPS (Community Oriented Policing Services) Office, and Community Relations Service.

 

           We write to strongly support the request made earlier today of Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake of Baltimore to have the Civil Rights Division open a federal “pattern or practice” investigation of the Baltimore Police Department (BPD).  By using your authority under 42 U.S.C. § 14141, you have the ability to help repair the public’s trust in the BPD and ensure the protection of our citizens’ constitutional rights.  Such an investigation could address issues such as allegations of persistent patterns of police misconduct, use of excessive force, discriminatory policing or use of profiling, and improper stops, searches, or arrests.  We would welcome a detailed report on the BPD along with recommendations to reform this critical agency in a timely manner.

 

           We ask the Justice Department to continue its Collaborative Reform Initiative through the COPS Office that is providing technical assistance to the BPD.  We also ask the Justice Department continue its criminal and civil rights investigation into the death of Baltimore resident Freddie Gray.

 

            Thank you again for your leadership on these issues and the personal attention and time you have devoted on behalf of the citizens of Baltimore.  We stand ready to assist you in your efforts and look forward to working with you as you begin your tenure as Attorney General.

 

 

Sincerely,

 

 

Benjamin L. Cardin                                                                             Barbara A. Mikulski

United States Senator                                                                         United States Senator

 

Elijah E. Cummings                                                                             John Delaney

Member of Congress                                                                          Member of Congress

 

Donna F. Edwards                                                                               Steny H. Hoyer

Member of Congress                                                                          Member of Congress

 

C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger                                                                  John Sarbanes

Member of Congress                                                                          Member of Congress

 

Chris Van Hollen

Member of Congress

 

 

 

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