In the wake of Freddie Gray's death in police custody, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced Friday that the Department of Justice will launch a full-scale civil rights investigation into Baltimore's police.

"This investigation will begin immediately," Lynch said, adding that investigators will examine whether police violated the constitutional rights of residents.

The decision comes after local officials and community leaders pressed the Justice Department to launch an inquiry similar to investigations into police departments in Ferguson, Mo., and Cleveland that examined whether officers engaged in patterns of excessive force, the Baltimore Sun reports. 

"Our goal is to work with the community, public officials, and law enforcement alike to create a stronger, better Baltimore," Lynch said. "The Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division has conducted dozens of these pattern or practice investigations, and we have seen from our work in jurisdictions across the country that communities that have gone through this process are experiencing improved policing practices and increased trust between the police and the community."

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