- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 5, 2015

U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch and other Justice Department leaders took a trip to Baltimore on Tuesday to visit Freddie’s Gray’s family and other city officials in an effort to improve relations between the community and local police.

The new attorney general’s visit comes after protests and rioting rocked the city following the April 19 death of 25-year-old Gray, who was fatally injured in police custody.

Ms. Lynch’s first stop was the University of Baltimore, where she met with some members of Gray’s family, who left without speaking to the press, The Baltimore Sun reported.

The attorney general is also expected to speak with Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, as well as law enforcement officers to thank them for their service and for protecting demonstrators, the department told The Associated Press.

“It’s a listening session,” a Justice Department official told The Hill, adding that the department seeks to improve relations between the community and local police.

The department said Ms. Lynch wants to make it clear she doesn’t want the image of the many officers who valiantly protect communities to be tainted by accusations against a few officers, AP reported.

The attorney general spoke out last week about unrest in the city and promised to provide assistance to the city, The Hill reported.

“They are also counterproductive to the ultimate goal here, which is developing a respectful conversation within the Baltimore community and across the nation about the way our law enforcement officers interact with the residents they are charged to serve and protect,” she said. “That is a conversation that I am committed to advancing.”

• Jessica Chasmar can be reached at jchasmar@washingtontimes.com.

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