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Justice Department report on Baltimore police to be released

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Posted at 7:35 PM, Aug 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-09 19:35:29-04
BALTIMORE, MD - JULY 10:  Baltimore policeman during the National Anthem before a baseball game between the Baltimore Orioles and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on July 10, 2016 in Baltimore, Maryland.  The Orioles won 4-2.  (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***

Baltimore policeman during the National Anthem before a baseball game between the Baltimore Orioles and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on July 10, 2016 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)

Findings of a Justice Department investigation into alleged systemic constitutional violations by Baltimore’s police department are to be announced Wednesday, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The Department of Justice monitored the department’s policing methods, including use of force, searches and arrests, for more than year.

The federal report comes weeks after charges were dropped against the remaining officers facing trial in the 2015 death of Freddie Gray.

Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby, in a statement, said the report “will likely confirm what many in our city already know or have experienced firsthand.”

“While the vast majority of Baltimore City Police officers are good officers, we also know that there are bad officers and that the department has routinely failed to oversee, train or hold bad actors accountable.”

Gray, 25, died after suffering a neck injury while in police custody in April 2015, igniting protests and illuminating tension and distrust between the black community and Baltimore’s police force.

Mosby’s statement added, “Since the death of Freddie Gray, a number of reforms have been put in place as a result of the prosecution of the six police officers. I’m positive that the Department of Justice report will lead to even more reforms, which is an important step in ensuring best practices for a fully functioning police-prosecutor relationship.”

Six officers faced charges ranging from second-degree depraved-heart murder to manslaughter to second-degree assault.

But after a mistrial and the acquittals of two officers, Mosby announced on July 27 that all pending charges would be dropped, saying the criminal justice systems needs “real, substantive reforms” to hold officers accountable.

“We could try this case 100 times, and cases just like it, and we would still end up with the same result,” she said at the time.

“There were individual police officers that were witnesses to the case, yet were part of the investigative team, interrogations that were conducted without asking the most poignant questions, lead detectives that were completely uncooperative and started a counter-investigation to disprove the state’s case,” Mosby said.

Gray died a week after police stopped him on a Baltimore street. During his arrest, officers placed Gray in the back of a police van that made several stops.

By the time the van arrived at the police station, Gray was unresponsive. His neck was broken and compressed, prosecutors said in court, comparing the spinal injury to those suffered after a dive into a shallow pool.

The Department of Justice is conducting a separate investigation into Gray’s death.

In 2015, the Justice Department released an in-depth report into the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed black man, by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson. The report found widespread civil rights abuses by authorities, including systematic racial discrimination in the Missouri city’s police department and municipal court.