MONEY Autos

5 Reasons This Could Be the Worst Road Trip Weekend Ever

Crazy traffic is a given. But that's hardly the only reason Memorial Day could be a nightmare for road trips.

In a new survey conducted for Citi cards, 54% of Americans said they prefer to travel on non-holiday weekends rather than holidays like Memorial Day. The most common reasons given for staying home for the holidays were traffic (47%) and high costs (30%).

Maybe these people are on to something. Here are a handful of reasons why the Memorial Day weekend is shaping up as a less-than-ideal time for getting on the road. As you’ll see, traffic and high costs are only part of the problem.

Horrendous Traffic
The forecast from AAA calls for 37.2 million Americans to travel at least 50 miles from home over the big holiday weekend. That’s an increase of nearly 5% compared with Memorial Day 2014, and it would represent the heaviest amount of traffic on this weekend in a decade. Only a small portion of these travelers will fly: roughly 9 out of 10 will be in automobiles.

Cheap gas, an improving jobs scene, and pent-up demand after a long and brutally snowy winter in the Midwest and Northeast have been cited as reasons why so many Americans are more than ready to kick off summer with a road trip. The East Coast will be particularly clogged with cars. An estimated 890,000 vehicles will drive Maine Turnpike over the weekend, a 5.2% increase over last year. Nearly 1 million New Jersey residents are expected to travel this weekend—in a state that has a population of just 9 million. “Motorists need to pack their patience along with the sunscreen as they set out for the Jersey Shore,” a spokesperson from AAA Mid-Atlantic cautioned.

Aggressive Police Enforcement
To cope with holiday weekend crowds, police will be turning Miami Beach into a “mini police state,” in the words of the Miami New Times, with road closures, parking bans, barricades, one-way traffic loops, and police checkpoints in popular areas. Around the country, police have stated they will be aggressively enforcing everything from so-called “slow poke” left-lane driving rules to laws mandating the wearing of seatbelts with a national “Click It or Ticket” campaign.

Crackdowns on DUIs will be widespread as well—in Arizona, California, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee, to name just a few states. In the latter, police may employ “No Refusal” tactics, which allow them to seek a search warrant and draw blood from someone who is suspected of driving under the influence and refuses a breathalyzer test. The same kind of enforcement will be used by police in parts of Texas, where the “No Refusal” process can be applied not only to car drivers, but those behind the wheel of boats as well.

Drunk Drivers, Car Accidents
The main reason for ratcheting up enforcement of DUI laws and other driving regulations on Memorial Day weekend is that, hopefully, it sets the tone for the entire summer season. The holiday weekend starts what’s known as the 100 Deadliest Days on American roads (for teens especially), and the goal is to crack down hard at the beginning to save lives in the long run. According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, 146 people were killed in crashes involving impaired drivers during Memorial Day weekend in 2013.

Data from the National Safety Council forecasts that there will be 383 fatalities from traffic accidents over the upcoming Memorial Day weekend, and car crashes will result in another 46,300 injuries. What’s scary is that historically, the days around the July 4 holiday are even more dangerous for drivers and passengers than Memorial Day.

Texters, Tailgaters, Bikers, New Yorkers
Texting behind the wheel is the behavior most likely to induce road rage from fellow motorists, according to a new survey conducted on behalf of Expedia. Tailgaters and left-lane hogs tied for second place in terms of aggravating people on the roads, while New York City came out on top for having the country’s rudest drivers. All of this rage has manifested itself in drivers yelling or using profanity behind the wheel (26% admitted to doing so), and by employing a rude gesture that probably involves a single finger (17% admit to this, while 53% say they’ve been on the receiving end).

Memorial Day is also a traditional time for many biker rallies, which have been known to bring about traffic (and worse) in the past, and which this year may cause locals, police, and motorists to be more on edge than usual given the recent biker shootout that left nine people dead in Waco, Texas. Major motorcycle gatherings are planned this weekend in Washington, D.C., Red River, N.M., and Myrtle Beach, S.C.,, among other places.

Soaring Motel Rates
Hotel rates are up roughly 5% nationally compared to last year. That doesn’t seem like a big deal. But the one segment of the lodging industry favored by road trippers has spiked to an outsized degree. According to AAA, rates at supposedly cheap two-diamond properties are averaging $144 per night, a rise of 16% over last year. That kind of sharp increase may more than offset the money you’re saving thanks to cheap gas.

TIME Washington

Hundreds Protest Washington Police Wounding of 2 Unarmed Suspects

Hundreds of people protesting a police shooting gather outside of City Hall in Olympia, Wash., on May 21, 2015
Rachel La Corte—AP Hundreds of people protesting a police shooting gather outside of city hall in Olympia, Wash., on May 21, 2015

The officer reported he was being assaulted with a skateboard early on Thursday before the shooting

(OLYMPIA, Wash.) — Hundreds marched peacefully in Washington state’s capital city to protest a police shooting that wounded two unarmed stepbrothers suspected of trying to steal beer from a grocery store.

The officer reported he was being assaulted with a skateboard early Thursday before the shooting that left a 21-year-old man in critical condition and a 24-year-old man in stable condition. Both were expected to survive.

The stepbrothers are black, and the officer is white, but Olympia Police Chief Ronnie Roberts said, “There’s no indication to me that race was a factor in this case at all.”

Protesters who turned out Thursday evening held signs that read “Race is a Factor” and “We Are Grieving.”

The two men were identified as Andre Thompson, 24, and Bryson Chaplin, 21, both of Olympia.

“It was terrible,” the young men’s mother, Crystal Chaplin, told KIRO-TV. “It’s heartbreaking to see two of my babies in the hospital over something stupid.”

The shooting is being investigated by a team of detectives from several agencies. Brad Watkins, chief deputy of the Thurston County Sheriff’s Department, said two skateboards were recovered from the shooting scene and an investigation will likely take three to six weeks. The young men had no guns, investigators said.

The crowd of demonstrators rallied first at a park, then marched about a mile to a building that houses the Olympia police headquarters and City Hall. Protesters chanted “Black Lives Matter,” ”No Justice, No Peace” and the names of the young men who were shot.

Olympia police tweeted their thanks to marchers “for keeping the event nonviolent.”

“We are committed to helping our community work through this difficult circumstance and help us understand this tragic event,” the police chief told a news conference Thursday afternoon.

Officer Ryan Donald was among those who responded around 1 a.m. Thursday to a call from a Safeway store, Roberts said. Employees said two men tried to steal beer and then threw the alcohol at workers who confronted the pair.

Officers split up to search for the men. Donald encountered two men with skateboards who fit witnesses’ descriptions, and moments later, he radioed in that shots had been fired, the police chief said.

In radio calls released by police, Donald calls dispatchers once he spots the men, and again to report that he fired shots.

“I believe one of them is hit, both of them are running,” Donald said.

He tells dispatchers that one of the men “assaulted me with his skateboard.”

“I tried to grab his friend,” Donald said. “They’re very aggressive, just so you know.”

He says he has one man, then both, at gunpoint and asks for help.

Seconds later, he shouts, “Shots fired! One down,” and asks for more backup units. He then says the second man has been shot.

The police chief said Donald wasn’t injured but an officer “has the right to defend himself” if a suspect wields an object that could be used as a deadly weapon.

Donald, 35, who is on administrative leave pending the investigation, has been with the department for just over three years. No residents have filed complaints against him, and he was recently recognized by the agency for being proactive on investigations, Roberts said. He worked previously as an Army police officer, the chief said.

The shooting follows a string of high-profile killings of unarmed black men by police, including Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and Eric Garner in New York City, which set off weeks of protests and a national “Black Lives Matter” movement that has gained momentum across the country.

Olympia Mayor Stephen H. Buxbaum called for calm in the community.

“It deeply saddens me that we have two young people in the hospital as a result of an altercation with an officer of the law,” he said. “Let’s come together to support their needs, the officer’s needs, the needs of the families and our community’s needs. Let’s not be reactive.”

Merritt Long, a retired chairman of the state’s liquor control board, was one of several residents to attend the news conference Thursday.

“Does the punishment fit the crime?” he asked afterward. “Given the seeming epidemic of this happening not only here but in our country, it makes you pause and wonder what’s going on.”

TIME Civil Rights

Michael Brown’s Temporary Shrine Will Be Replaced With a Permanent Plaque

Volunteers Cheyenne Green, right, and Derrick Robinson help remove items left at a makeshift memorial to Michael Brown Wednesday, May 20, 2015, in Ferguson, Mo.
Jeff Roberson—AP Volunteers Cheyenne Green, right, and Derrick Robinson help remove items left at a makeshift memorial to Michael Brown Wednesday, May 20, 2015, in Ferguson, Mo.

It could be installed as early as Thursday

The city of Ferguson, Mo., removed on Wednesday an improvised shrine for Michael Brown and will have it replaced with a permanent plaque dedicated to the young man’s memory.

The shrine emerged hours after Brown, a young black man, was fatally shot by white police officer Darren Wilson on Aug. 9. It marks the spot he was killed and features stuffed animals, flowers and candles, which, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, will be stored by the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis.

“There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think about my son,” said Michael Brown Sr., his father. “We’re just really trying to move forward.”

The present temporary shrine has become a symbol for the “Black Lives Matter” civil rights movement, which was, to a certain degree, sparked by the death of Brown and the ensuing protests in Ferguson.

The new plaque could be installed as early as Thursday.

[St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

TIME indonesia

Indonesia’s ‘Virginity Tests’ Obsession Highlights Its Truly Rotten Armed Forces

Indonesian Air Force female soldiers par
AFP/Getty Images Indonesian air-force female soldiers parade during a ceremony in Jakarta on April 9, 2007

Institutions grounded in sense and equality would never employ such a ghastly procedure, say activists

For decades, Indonesian women wishing to join the armed forces and police force, and also those planning to marry military officers, have had to quietly undergo a humiliating procedure known as the “virginity test.”

It’s a dirty secret that wasn’t made public — until Human Rights Watch began highlighting the practice. In a report released last week, the New York City–based advocacy group called for Indonesia’s military to stop imposing virginity tests on female recruits and fiancées of military officers — six months after revealing that Indonesia female police candidates were required to take the test.

“They argue that they want the physically and mentally best candidates to join the armed forces,” Andreas Harsono, Indonesia researcher at HRW, tells TIME. “It’s the same logic in seeking military wives. They consider a virgin is mentally healthier than a nonvirgin. They reportedly often say, ‘How could you defend the honor of our nation if you cannot defend your own honor?’”

General Moeldoko, the military commander, sees nothing wrong with the practice. “It’s a good thing, why criticize it?” he told journalists last Friday. The virginity test “is a measure of morality. There’s no other way,” he added.

His reaction echoed that of a high-ranking police officer. The head of the national police law division, Inspector General Moechgiyarto, said the test was necessary to maintain the police force’s moral standards. “If she [a candidate] turns out to be a prostitute, how could we accept her for the job?” he said last November. (Other police officials denied the practice, though. Then national police chief General Sutarman said that same month that female recruits were required to undergo medical examinations, not virginity tests.)

The invasive two-finger virginity test, which the World Health Organization slams as having “no scientific validity” and which Indonesia’s National Commission on Violence Against Women condemns as a form of sexual violence, is a recurring topic in Indonesia. Public officials and legislators frequently float an idea to impose virginity tests, particularly on schoolgirls.

Last February, a city councilor of Jember, in eastern Java, suggested that graduating middle-school students should be required to take virginity tests. “If she is not a virgin, she can’t graduate,” he said. In late 2013, the education chief of Prabumulih, in South Sumatra province, proposed the test as a requirement for female students to enter high school. Both ideas, as with others, were shelved following public outcry.

But why is Indonesia so enamored of the idea of virginity? The authoritarian New Order regime may be gone, but its idea of women as a symbol of the nation’s moral guardian is still very much alive, says Lies Marcoes, a women’s-rights activist and medical anthropologist. In the democratic reform era, the rise of religious conservatism and the sense that moral values are under siege have made the idea even stronger. “Virginity has become more sacred,” Lies says. “For state institutions like the military, virginity test is a ‘moral’ symbol to cover up what is rotten.”

It is estimated that female officers comprise just 3% and 2% of the police and the armed forces, respectively. Male police and military officers far outnumber their female counterparts, but no officials have ever mentioned what test is required to gauge the men’s morality.

The use of virginity testing has been documented in several other countries. In Afghanistan, women and girls accused of “moral crimes,” such as running away (often from an abusive home or forced marriage) or extramarital affairs, are often subjected to the test. Despite a court ruling condemning the practice, virginity tests are still illegally used in Egyptian detention facilities. India has not yet systematically put in place a new protocol banning the test on rape survivors across the country.

It is unclear when Indonesia’s police and armed forces began conducting the virginity test, but HRW interviewed women who took the tests from as far back as the 1960s. Female military candidates are usually tested en masse at military hospitals, in large halls that are divided into curtain-separated examination rooms. “Those who defend the virginity test believe in junk science,” says Harsono of HRW. “They believe if [a woman’s hymen] is torn between 11 o’clock and 1 o’clock, it’s due to accidents. If it’s torn at 6 o’clock, they believe the woman has had active sexual activities.”

Irawati Harsono, commissioner at the women’s commission and a retired police officer, had to take the test when she joined the police force three decades ago. “As a woman who experienced it, I felt the test was very discriminatory and degrading,” she says. “Nobody could forget it, which means it is a traumatic experience.”

One retired air-force officer recalled she couldn’t have sex with her newlywed husband during their honeymoon, four years after she took the test. “My body was so stiff. I couldn’t open my legs,” she said, as quoted by HRW. “It was because of the trauma that I had with that ‘virginity test.’”

Following the HRW report last week, several lawmakers called for an end to the virginity test, saying there is no connection between virginity and morals. Interior Minister Tjahjo Kumolo had promised in December that he would scrap virginity tests for women joining the civil-service colleges.

Activists urge President Joko Widodo to abolish it, but the Indonesian leader, a social conservative, has so far been reticent on the issue. And there is little expectation of a major reversal on the attitude or policy. “The more the public thinks the nation’s morals are in disarray,” Lies says, “the stronger is the pressure on women to guard the symbol of purity, which is measured with the most ancient parameter that lies in the subconsciousness of patriarchal men: ‘virginity.’”

TIME police

Thousands Attend Funeral for 2nd Slain Hattiesburg Officer

Mississippi Officers Killed
Ryan Moore—AP Hattiesburg police officers carry the coffin of their fallen colleague, Officer Liquori Tate, after the funeral service in Hattiesburg, Miss. on Saturday, May 16, 2015 at West Point Baptist Church. Tate and officer Benajmin Deen were killed in the line of duty a week earlier after pulling over a speeding car. (Ryan Moore/WDAM-TV via AP) NO SALES

Masses gathered to pay their respects to 25-year-old officer Liquori Tate

(HATTIESBURG, Miss.) — A funeral was held Saturday for one of two Mississippi police officers shot to death a week ago during a traffic stop.

Thousands of mourners and law enforcement officers from around the country paid their respects to 25-year-old Officer Liquori Tate.

The services — with choir singing, eulogies and police honors — were held at West Point Baptist Church in Hattiesburg. He was to be buried nearby in Starkville.

Under rainy skies, people lined the highway from Hattiesburg to Starkville, many waving American flags, to honor the slain officer as the funeral procession passed.

A funeral was held Thursday for Benjamin Deen, the other officer killed.

Police say 29-year-old Marvin Banks shot the two officers after Deen pulled over a speeding car driven by Banks’ girlfriend, 22-year-old Joanie Calloway.

“He sent a powerful message to our nation’s youth: that you can be good, and that you can be all that you want to be,” Mayor Johnny DuPree said of the 25-year-old Tate. “Liquori Tate proved that you don’t have to be rich, and you don’t have to be old to affect the lives of millions of people. And both officers have changed the mindset and the way that we respect the jobs that officers perform every day.”

Tate, who was known as CoCo to friends and family, had a childhood dream of becoming a law enforcement officer, playing with police cars and games when he was young. That dream was realized June 11, 2014, when he was sworn in as a Hattiesburg officer after a stint at ABC Security.

He was known among colleagues as a dedicated worker with a contagious smile who worked tirelessly to strengthen his relationship with the community.

“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass,” HPD officer Robert Magee said. “It’s about learning to dance in the rain.

“Officer Tate had many storms in his short life, and after every storm, there was rain. But not only did he dance in the rain, he didn’t mind taking others (dancing) with him.”

Tate may have said it best himself through one of his old Facebook posts, which was shared in a tribute program during the service.

“Life is too short,” the post read. “So if I die today I’m happy how my life turned out. And I’m happy that I had a chance to meet the people that I met and I enjoyed every moment that I have spent with each and every one of them. That’s my word.”

TIME Crime

California Police Find Stolen Gun in Hands of a 3-Year-Old

The little girl reportedly pointed the gun at the detectives visiting her home

Police officers in San Bernardino, Calif., found a stolen gun on Tuesday in one of the last (and most dangerous) places they’d expect — in the hands of a 3-year-old girl.

The toddler apparently pointed the loaded weapon at the visiting detectives but did not pull the trigger, the Los Angeles Times reported, allowing them to safely take it away from her.

Police arrested the girl’s mother, 20-year-old Kimberly Torres, and sent the child to protective services, according to San Bernardino Police Lieutenant Rich Lawhead.

“Obviously it’s a jaw-dropper for something like that to happen,” Lawhead said. “This could have ended much differently.”

The gun was one of several weapons and pieces of equipment stolen from the car of a Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy on May 7, following which a 25-year-old man named Ramon Quintero was apprehended with one of two stolen guns and some equipment. The car Quintero was driving was registered to Torres, leading police to her home.

The 20-year-old woman was charged with possession of stolen property and child endangerment likely to produce bodily injury, but was apparently bailed out Wednesday morning.

[LAT]

TIME police

No Criminal Charges for Wisconsin Cop in Unarmed Teen’s Shooting Death

This combination made with file photos provided by the Madison, Wis. police department and Wisconsin Department of Corrections shows Madison Police officer Matt Kenny, left, and Tony Robinson, a biracial man who was killed by the officer.
AP This combination made with file photos provided by the Madison, Wis. police department and Wisconsin Department of Corrections shows Madison Police officer Matt Kenny, left, and Tony Robinson, a biracial man who was killed by the officer.

Tony Robinson, 19, was shot and killed on March 6

A Wisconsin police officer who fatally shot an unarmed black teenager in March will not face criminal charges, the Dane County District Attorney announced Tuesday, marking the latest case of a police-involved killing to draw national attention.

In a lengthy and detailed explanation of his investigation into the shooting of 19-year-old Tony Robinson, District Attorney Ismael Ozanne told reporters he had determined that the use of deadly force by officer Matt Kenny, who is white, was lawful.

Following Tuesday afternoon’s announcement, Robinson’s mother, Andrea Irwin, told CNN her family “absolutely” plans to file a civil lawsuit against the police. “The things that have taken place since my son passed and the things that have been done to my family, to me, they’ve gone above and beyond to try to make sure they kick me when I’m down,” she said. “They have done a smear campaign against my child and against me since this all began.”

Kenny was responding to reports of a disturbance in Madison on March 6 that involved a man dodging through traffic and punching multiple people, Ozanne said. A friend of Robinson’s initially called 9-1-1 just before 6:30 p.m., concerned about Robinson’s erratic behavior. The friend said Robinson was “tweaking” after he took hallucinogenic mushrooms, the Wisconsin State Journal reports. Other emergency callers said a man fitting Robinson’s description had punched multiple pedestrians in the area.

When Kenny arrived on the scene minutes later, Robinson was in his friend’s apartment. According to Kenny’s account, Ozanne said, Robinson immediately punched Kenny in the face. Kenny then fatally shot Robinson seven times within three seconds, with all of the bullets striking the teen.

Robinson’s death sparked days of large protests within Madison. It was another death in a string of highly publicized killings of unarmed black men around the country that have become a cultural and political flashpoint since the shooting of Mike Brown in Ferguson, Mo., last August. This year, police officers involved in killings of black men in North Charleston, S.C., and Baltimore were dealt murder charges.

In the wake of recent riots tied to police killings of unarmed black men by white officers, Ozanne urged Madison residents to maintain peace following Tuesday’s announcement. As the first black district attorney in Wisconsin, he said he “understands the pain” of unjustified racial profiling. But he also said his decision was based on the facts that were presented to him, not emotion.

“My decision will not bring Tony Robinson Jr. back,” Ozanne said. “My decision will not end the racial disparities that exist in the justice system, in our justice system.”

Read next: These Two Stats Show the Big Problem With Policing in America

TIME Crime

These Two Stats Show the Big Problem With Policing in America

Policemen hold their hats at their side during a vigil service for two fellow officers killed during a traffic stop, in Hattiesburg
Lee Celano—Reuters Policemen hold their hats during a vigil service for two officers killed during a traffic stop in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, on May 11, 2015.

We know how many cops are killed in the line of duty, but not the number of people killed by cops

There are two sets of numbers that tell us a lot about the state of policing in America. This week, the FBI released the latest tally of cops killed in the line of duty. The grim toll in 2014 was 51 law enforcement officers who were killed while doing their jobs (the figure does not include those who died in work-related accidents). That’s an 89% rise from the year before, but still below the average of 64 deaths from 1980 to 2014.

We have those comparisons because the FBI database is considered complete and updated every year. What we don’t know is the corollary number: how many people die as a result of encounters with the police. The FBI does compile a list—the latest shows there were 461 suspects killed in 2013 by police officers, up from 397 in 2010—but it is in no way a comprehensive account because the information is provided voluntarily and only some of the nation’s almost 18,000 police departments contribute. Plus, the FBI’s list is short on details and only specifies the type of weapon used in fatal incidents. Numbers compiled by advocacy groups suggest that the number of people killed by police is much higher, although lower than it once was. According to the New York Times, for example, 91 people were shot and killed by police officers in New York City in 1971 compared with eight in 2013, which was a record low.

The lack of a reliable, comprehensive database has become a flashpoint in the debate over policing following a string of high-profile fatal incidents involving white officers and unarmed black men. These deaths have led to sometimes violent protests and a renewed focus on police use of force against minorities. And the public response helped prompt FBI director James Comey to call for better data in a speech on law enforcement and race. “The first step to understanding what is really going on in our communities and in our country is to gather more and better data related to those we arrest, those we confront for breaking the law and jeopardizing public safety, and those who confront us,” Comey said.

As the FBI’s new data on officer deaths shows, those confrontations can sometimes be fatal. The most common incident leading to an officer’s death came from answering a disturbance call (11), followed by involvement in car chases or traffic stops (10) and ambushes (8). Others were killed while involved in investigations, tactical situations or dealing with drug-related issues.

“There are certainly cases in the last year that have been directly related to the rise in tensions between police and minority communities,” says Marquette University criminology professor Meghan Stroshine, referring to incidents like one in New York City in December, in which two NYPD officers were deliberately targeted and shot “execution-style” apparently as retribution for police-related deaths of unarmed black men. “We have some cases clearly that were of a retaliatory nature or in the name of correcting perceived past wrongs.”

Just within the last two weeks, several officers have died on duty. The first NYPD officer to be killed in the line of duty since December died on May 4 after being shot by a gunman in Queens. And last week, two officers in Hattiesburg, Miss., were killed during a traffic stop. Four suspects have been charged.

TIME Crime

Number of Cops ‘Feloniously’ Killed on Duty Spiked in 2014, FBI Says

Funeral Held For NYPD Officer Brian Moore Fatally Shot On Duty
Spencer Platt—Getty Images The funeral of police officer Brian Moore, who died last Monday after being shot in the head while on duty two days earlier in Queens, in Seaford, N.Y., on May 8, 2015.

An additional 44 died in accidents, the FBI says

Fifty-one law enforcement officers were “feloniously” killed in the line of duty last year, the FBI announced Monday, a steep jump from the year before. The new data comes a week after the fatal shooting of a New York City police officer and two days after two officers in Hattiesburg, Miss., were shot and killed.

That figure represents an 89% increase from the 27 recorded in 2013, which the FBI called the lowest between 1980 and 2014, but remains below the average of 64 for that period. Eleven of the slain officers were killed while responding to disturbance calls; 10 during traffic stops or pursuits; and eight from ambushes. Firearms were behind 46 of the 51 killings, including one officer who had his own weapon turned against him. A vehicle was used in four of the deaths, the FBI added, and one assailant killed an officer with “personal weapons (hands, fists, feet, etc.).”

Another 44 officers were accidentally killed in the line of duty as a result of incidents like car crashes, shootings and smoke inhalation. That’s down from 49 in 2013.

TIME justice

Attorney General to Investigate Baltimore Police Department

U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch appears before the Senate Appropriations Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington on May 7, 2015.
Mark Wilson—Getty Images U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch appears before the Senate Appropriations Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington on May 7, 2015.

"We're talking about generations of mistrust"

The Justice Department is investigating the Baltimore Police Department to determine whether there is a pattern of discriminatory policing, and whether police are violating residents’ civil rights, Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced Friday.

“It was clear to a number of people looking at the situation that the community’s rather frayed trust was even worse and has been severed,” Lynch told reporters as she announced the investigation. “We’re talking about generations of mistrust, and generations of communities who feel very separated from government.”

Baltimore mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake requested the investigation on Wednesday, and the Justice Department rarely declines such requests. During the probe, the Justice Department will track the Baltimore Police Department’s use of force, and its pattern of stops, searches and arrests. The Attorney General said that when she first saw the demonstrations and riots in Baltimore following the death of Freddie Gray in police custody, “my first reaction was profound sadness, sadness for the loss of life, erosion of trust, for the sadness and despair that the community was feeling.”

The federal investigation comes just a few months after the Justice Department’s report on the Ferguson, Mo. police department following the death of Michael Brown last year, an investigation that uncovered a pattern of racist comments within the police department and led to the resignation of Ferguson’s chief of police.

The Attorney General acknowledged the recent federal investigations into police departments accused of civil rights violations, noting that “we’ve had a number of situations that have highlighted this fracture in various communities.” She added that she hopes these reports can help other jurisdictions maintain a fair law enforcement system.

“Our hope is that other jurisdictions, cities large and small, can look at these reports and say ‘are these the issues that I face?’” she said. “Our goal is to be a resource and a guide, but not to be a hand reaching into police departments…We truly believe that cities and police departments, they know these issues best.”

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