Attorney General Loretta Lynch said Thursday that she's days away from deciding whether to launch an investigation into the behavior of Baltimore City police, to see if officers are routinely violating the civil rights of city residents.
The city of Baltimore has asked the Justice Department to investigate, and newly sworn-in Lynch told a Senate subcommittee that a decision would be coming soon.
"We're currently in the process of considering the request from city officials and community and police leaders for an investigation into whether the Baltimore City Police Department engaged in a pattern or practice of civil rights violations," she said. "And I intend to have a decision in the coming days."
The Justice Department has run these investigations before, such as its investigation into whether police in Ferguson, Missouri, showed patterns of civil rights abuse. In March, the Justice Department released a report that did find evidence of racial bias within the department, which forced the Ferguson chief of police to resign.
Lynch was in Baltimore this week, and met with dozens of people to say the Justice Department would help however it can. At Thursday's hearing, she hinted the department may in fact decide to probe the city police force.
"I spoke with an officer who had been injured amidst the violence, and I heard a number of ideas regarding ways in which the Justice Department can continue assisting Baltimore as they work to recover from recent unrest," she said.
"Although the city has made significant strides in their collaborative reform efforts with the Community Oriented Policing Services office, I have not ruled out the possibility that more may need to be done," she added. "And I assure you, senators, that I am listening to all voices."