Readout of Attorney General Lynch's Visit to Baltimore, Maryland
Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch traveled to Baltimore, Maryland, today for meetings with Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Commissioner Anthony Batts and line officers for the Baltimore Police Department, members of Congress, faith, youth and community leaders and the family of Freddie Gray. This was Attorney General Lynch's first trip since being sworn in. She was joined on the trip by staff including Acting Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Civil Rights Division, Director Ronald Davis of the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services and Director Grande Lum of the Community Relations Service.
During the Attorney General's meeting with faith leaders and members of the Maryland congressional delegation, she emphasized that she came to Baltimore to listen to concerns expressed by all groups and reinforced her commitment to have the Justice Department remain in Baltimore after the cameras leave in order to help the city rebuild and move forward. The Attorney General noted that watching people come together following the unrest last Monday has been personally inspiring.
The Attorney General then met with Baltimore Police Commissioner Batts and line police officers. In her meeting with rank and file officers, the Attorney General thanked them for their work telling them: “You have picked a noble profession, you have picked a hard profession, but you have picked one of the best professions out there today, because you have picked the one that lets you go out there every day and say I’m going to help somebody.” She also discussed the spotlight on Baltimore saying, "We don't always choose moments, sometimes they choose us."
During the Attorney General's meeting with Baltimore United Leaders, she heard from youth leaders who have focused on police reform issues. The Attorney General and her staff heard about the efforts by the young people as well as their concerns. The Attorney General assured youth leaders and community leaders that the independent civil rights investigation was ongoing and would be done as expeditiously as possible.
Following her meetings, the Attorney General spoke to pool reporters and shared that her meetings with city leaders, community leaders and police were positive. The Attorney General said she took away a sense that everyone - community leaders, city officials and police officers - cares about the city and is working hard to overcome the loss of trust between the police and community.
“What I heard was both instructive and constructive,” said Attorney General Lynch
The Attorney General noted that the department has been engaged in a Collaborative Reform Initiative with Baltimore Police Department since October and that the Community Relations Service was on the ground meeting with community leaders. She emphasized that the aim of her trip was to hear firsthand ideas for how the Justice Department could assist the city in addition to the work already being done. Asked specifically to respond to city leaders asking for a “pattern or practice” investigation, she said she would consider the request.