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New U.S. attorney general visits Baltimore after unrest

Xinhua, May 6, 2015 Adjust font size:

Newly sworn-in U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch on Tuesday visited Baltimore, Maryland, for the first time since rioting convulsed the city late April in a bid to help ease tensions.

"We're here to hold your hands and provide support," said Lynch at the University of Baltimore, adding that the Justice Department would help the city, partly by offering recommendations to improve the city's police department.

Lynch also met privately with Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony Batts and the family of 25-year-old African-American, Freddie Gray, whose death on April 19 thrust the city into the vortex of a heated national debate over police brutality in minority neighborhoods.

Lynch's visit to Baltimore came four days after a Maryland state prosecutor announced charges against all the six Baltimore police officers involved in Gray's death.

Meanwhile, independent investigations into Baltimore law enforcement by the U.S. Justice Department's Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation were also underway.

According to an investigation report by local news daily Baltimore Sun in last September, the city of Baltimore shelled out about 5.7 million U.S. dollars since 2011 over lawsuits claiming that police officers "brazenly beat up alleged suspects."

"Victims include a 15-year-old boy riding a dirt bike, a 26- year-old pregnant accountant who had witnessed a beating, a 50- year-old woman selling church raffle tickets, a 65-year-old church deacon rolling a cigarette and an 87-year-old grandmother aiding her wounded grandson," the newspaper reported. Endite