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Justice Department report: Baltimore police routinely violated civil rights

Baltimore police routinely violated the constitutional rights of residents by conducting unlawful stops and using excessive force, according to the findings of a long-anticipated Justice Department probe to be released Wednesday.

The practices overwhelmingly affected the city's black residents in low-income neighborhoods, according to the 163-page report. In often scathing language, the report identified systemic problems and cited detailed examples.

Police practices in Baltimore "perpetuate and fuel a multitude of issues rooted in poverty and race, focusing law enforcement actions on low-income, minority communities" and encourage officers to have "unnecessary, adversarial interactions with community members," the report said.

Launched after the death in April 2015 of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man, from spinal injuries suffered in police custody, the wide-ranging probe uncovered extensive problems with the way Baltimore officers do their job and police themselves, the report said.

Gray's death, which triggered rioting captured on live television, was one of several recent killings of unarmed black men by police across the country. The deaths have provoked a nationwide conversation about race, discrimination and police practices, and have exposed deep rifts between police and the communities they serve.

The results of the Justice Department's investigation are expected to be announced Wednesday in Baltimore at a news conference attended by high-ranking federal law enforcement officials and city leaders.

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