Department of Justice to launch investigation into Baltimore Police Department

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(CNN) — The Justice Department plans to launch a pattern or practice investigation into the methods of the Baltimore Police Department, a law enforcement source said Thursday.

The investigation was requested by the city’s mayor, and is expected to be announced officially on Friday, the source said.

The investigation comes in the wake of Freddie Gray’s death, and the outrage that followed.

Gray, 25, suffered a fatal injury to his spine while in police custody under circumstances that remain unclear.

In asking for the investigation, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said such an inquiry was necessary to achieve the kind of “sustainable and significant reform” of the department that she and the citizens of Baltimore want to see.

“The DOJ has employed these investigations in communities across our nation to reform serious patterns and practices of force, biased policing and other unconstitutional practices by law enforcement,” she told reporters. “I’m asking the Department of Justice to investigate if our police department has engaged in a pattern or practice of stops, searches or arrests that violate the Fourth Amendment.”

The Justice Department is already investigating whether Gray’s civil rights were violated. But the so-called pattern or practice investigation would be far broader, a full-scale civil rights investigation of the entire police department.

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