On the Situation in Baltimore, Maryland: Statement to the PC

In our April 30 statement on the situation in Baltimore, Maryland, the United States informed the Permanent Council that the U.S. Department of Justice opened an independent investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death of Freddie Gray after an encounter with Baltimore police, to determine whether any prosecutable civil rights violations had occurred.

On May 8, Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced that the U.S. Department of Justice had also opened a civil investigation into the Baltimore Police Department that will seek to determine whether there have been systemic violations of the United States Constitution or federal law by Baltimore police officers. This investigation will focus on the Baltimore Police Department’s use of force, including deadly force, and its stops, searches, and arrests, as well as whether there is a pattern or practice of discriminatory policing.

In announcing the investigation, the Attorney General said that the “goal is to work with the community, public officials and law enforcement alike to create a stronger, better Baltimore.”

The United States will inform OSCE participating States of the outcome of these investigations, as appropriate, as well as other elements of the U.S. government’s efforts to address issues related to policing in the United States. As we have said previously, the United States continues to believe that respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, tolerance, and the rule of law are the underpinnings of a strong democratic nation. We will always strive to fulfill our OSCE commitments to the highest possible standard.

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

As delivered by Ambassador Daniel B. Baer to the OSCE Permanent Council, Vienna