WASHINGTON — The Justice Department will investigate whether the Baltimore Police Department engaged in a pattern of unconstitutional policing, law enforcement officials said on Thursday, a day after the mayor asked for an inquiry.
The request by Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake came days after the state’s attorney for Baltimore filed criminal charges against six officers involved in the arrest of Freddie Gray, who died April 19 after being injured while in police custody. His death set off large demonstrations, arson and looting.
At a policing conference earlier on Thursday, the Baltimore police commissioner, Anthony W. Batts, said he did not object to an outside investigation, adding that he was committed to reforming the Police Department. He said he recognized that Baltimore residents did not trust the city to make changes voluntarily.
“I am willing to do anything it takes to win that trust back,” he said. “If it’s D.O.J., whatever it takes.”