Readout of U.S. Attorney General Merrick B. Garland’s Meeting with Ukrainian Prosecutor General Andriy Kostin
Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch released the following statement regarding the ongoing situation in Baltimore:
I’d first like to address the ongoing situation in Baltimore and the actions that we here at the department are taking to address it. I have been in direct contact with officials in Maryland, including the Governor and I have directed this department to provide any assistance that might be helpful in restoring calm and resolving the unrest that broke out across the city. I also want to express my deepest condolences to the family of Freddie Gray. The Civil Rights Division and the FBI are already conducting a full and independent investigation into the tragic death of Mr. Gray. And both the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services and the Community Relations Service have been working to defuse tensions as that process continues. Vanita Gupta, head of the department’s Civil Rights Division and Ronald Davis, director of the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office), are meeting with faith and community leaders in Baltimore and they visited a police officer last night who remains hospitalized after being injured in the conflict. They told me he seemed to be in good spirits and I want to convey my best wishes for his speedy recovery.
I want to make clear once again that these senseless acts of violence are not only a grave danger to the community – and they must stop – but they are also counterproductive to the ultimate goal here, which is developing a respectful conversation within the Baltimore community and across the nation about the way our law enforcement officers interact with the residents they are charged to serve and protect. That is a conversation that I am committed to advancing. I am heartened that the unrest seemed to ease last night and that members of the community are trying to come together to clean up their city and I am hopeful that progress will continue in the coming days.
Let me add something else. As we watch events unfold in Baltimore, it is easy to view Baltimore as a symbol of issues that we must all deal with. And of course, the difficult situation there highlights so many issues that are part of our national debate. But I’d ask that we remember that Baltimore is more than just a symbol. Baltimore is a city; it is a great city; it is a beautiful city; it is one of our cities. Like so many cities, Baltimore is struggling to balance great expectations and need with limited resources. It is dealing with balancing the challenges of public safety and community expression. And it is home to more than 620,000 people. It was their home that the peaceful protesters were trying to make better. And it was their home that the injured officers were trying to protect.
Let us keep all the people of Baltimore in our thoughts and prayers in the coming days.
Watch the video of Attorney General Lynch's remarks.