Justice Dept. opens Baltimore police probe; 1K protest

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Tension Increases in Baltimore After Freddie Gray Death

BALTIMORE (AP) -- The Justice Department said Tuesday it has opened a civil rights investigation into the death of Freddie Gray, a black man who suffered a fatal spinal-cord injury under mysterious circumstances after he was handcuffed and put in the back of a police van.

After the probe was announced, at least 1,000 people gathered at a previously planned rally at the site of Gray's arrest. Protesters marched to a police station a couple of blocks away, chanting and holding signs that read "Black Lives Matter" and "No Justice, No Peace" - slogans that have come to embody what demonstrators believe is widespread mistreatment of blacks by police.

Pricilla Jackson carried a sign reading, "Convict Freddie's killers," that listed the names of the six officers suspended with pay while local authorities and the U.S. Justice Department investigate the death. Jackson, who is black, said she wants Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake to know that she and others have been brutalized by police.

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Justice Dept. opens Baltimore police probe; 1K protest
BALTIMORE, USA - APRIL 27: Police take security measures during a riot over the death of Freddie Gray in Baltimore, Maryland, USA, on April 27, 2015. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 27: Baltimore Police officers push back a protestor on Reisterstown Road near Mowdamin Mall, April 27, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. The funeral service for Freddie Gray, who died last week while in Baltimore Police custody, was held on Monday morning. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Baltimore police officers carry an injured comrade from the streets near Mondawmin Mall April 27, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Violent street clashes erupted in Baltimore on Monday after friends and family gathered for the funeral of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man whose death in custody triggered a fresh wave of protests over US police tactics. Police said at least seven officers were injured -- one of them was unresponsive -- as youths hurled bricks and bottles and destroyed at least one police vehicle in the vicinity of the shopping mall not far from the church where the funeral took place. AFP PHOTO/BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 27: A Baltimore Police officer gestures toward protestors near Mondawmin Mall, April 27, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. A group of young protestors clashed with police in the streets near Mondawmin Mall in the afternoon following Freddie Gray's funeral. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 27: A police vehicle chases protestors away in a parking lot along Reisterstown Road near Mondawmin Mall, April 27, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. A group of young protestors clashed with police in the streets near Mondawmin Mall in the afternoon following Freddie Gray's funeral. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
A boy throws a brick at a police van, Monday, April 27, 2015, during a skirmish between demonstrators and police after the funeral of Freddie Gray in Baltimore. Gray died from spinal injuries about a week after he was arrested and transported in a Baltimore Police Department van. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
A demonstrator walks past police with a brick as they respond to thrown objects, Monday, April 27, 2015, after the funeral of Freddie Gray in Baltimore. Gray died from spinal injuries about a week after he was arrested and transported in a Baltimore Police Department van. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 27: Baltimore Police officers in riot gear look toward protestors along Reisterstown Road near Mondawmin Mall, April 27, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. A group of young protestors clashed with police in the streets near Mondawmin Mall in the afternoon following Freddie Gray's funeral. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Police move down a street in response to demonstrators who were throwing objects, Monday, April 27, 2015, after the funeral of Freddie Gray in Baltimore. Gray died from spinal injuries about a week after he was arrested and transported in a Baltimore Police Department van. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Baltimore police officers push back demonstrators who are throwing rocks at the police, after the funeral of Freddie Gray, on Monday, April 27, 2015, at New Shiloh Baptist Church in Baltimore. Gray died from spinal injuries about a week after he was arrested and transported in a Baltimore Police Department van. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
Baltimore police officers detain a demonstrator after clashes with police, after the funeral of Freddie Gray, on Monday, April 27, 2015, at New Shiloh Baptist Church in Baltimore. Gray died from spinal injuries about a week after he was arrested and transported in a Baltimore Police Department van. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
Police put out a fire caused by a teargas canister April 27, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Violent street clashes erupted in Baltimore on Monday after friends and family gathered for the funeral of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man whose death in custody triggered a fresh wave of protests over US police tactics. Police said at least seven officers were injured -- one of them was unresponsive -- as youths hurled bricks and bottles and destroyed at least one police vehicle in the vicinity of a shopping mall not far from the church where the funeral took place. AFP PHOTO/BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 27: Protestors surround a Baltimore Police officer near Mowdamin Mall, April 27, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. The funeral service for Freddie Gray, who died last week while in Baltimore Police custody, was held on Monday morning. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 27: Baltimore Police officers arrest a man near Mowdamin Mall, April 27, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. The funeral service for Freddie Gray, who died last week while in Baltimore Police custody, was held on Monday morning. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Baltimore police officers clash with protesters in the streets near Mondawmin Mall April 27, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Violent street clashes erupted in Baltimore on Monday after friends and family gathered for the funeral of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man whose death in custody triggered a fresh wave of protests over US police tactics. Police said at least seven officers were injured -- one of them was unresponsive -- as youths hurled bricks and bottles and destroyed at least one police vehicle in the vicinity of the shopping mall not far from the church where the funeral took place. AFP PHOTO/BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, USA - APRIL 27: Protesters clash with police during a riot over the death of Freddie Gray in Baltimore, Maryland, USA, on April 27, 2015. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Demonstrators destroy the windshield of a Baltimore Police car as they protest the death Freddie Gray, an African American man who died of spinal cord injuries in police custody, in Baltimore, Maryland, April 25, 2015. Protesters returned to Baltimore's streets Saturday to vent outrage over the death of Gray on April 12. AFP PHOTO/JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Demonstrators destroy a Baltimore Police car as they protest the death Freddie Gray, an African American man who died of spinal cord injuries in police custody, in Baltimore, Maryland, April 25, 2015. Protesters returned to Baltimore's streets Saturday to vent outrage over the death of Gray on April 12. AFP PHOTO/JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
A man is kicked as he attempts to get up after being knocked down, following a march to City Hall for Freddie Gray, Saturday, April 25, 2015 in Baltimore. Gray died from spinal injuries about a week after he was arrested and transported in a police van. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
A protestor, left, fights with a bar patron outside of a bar near Oriole Park at Camden Yards after a rally for Freddie Gray, Saturday, April 25, 2015, in Baltimore. Gray died from spinal injuries about a week after he was arrested and transported in a police van. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
A protestor, right, pulls a bag away from a group of women after a rally for Freddie Gray, Saturday, April 25, 2015, in Baltimore. Gray died from spinal injuries about a week after he was arrested and transported in a police van. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
A woman stands by her car with the back window broken out after a march to City Hall for Freddie Gray, Saturday, April 25, 2015 in Baltimore. Gray died from spinal injuries about a week after he was arrested and transported in a police van. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 25: Hundreds of protestors gather outside city hall in honor of Freddie Gray on April 25, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Gray, 25, was arrested for possessing a switch blade knife outside the Gilmor Homes housing project on Baltimore's west side on April 12 . According to his attorney, Gray died a week later in the hospital from a severe spinal cord injury he received while in police custody. (Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 25: Hundreds of protestors gather outside city hall in honor of Freddie Gray on April 25, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Gray, 25, was arrested for possessing a switch blade knife outside the Gilmor Homes housing project on Baltimore's west side on April 12 . According to his attorney, Gray died a week later in the hospital from a severe spinal cord injury he received while in police custody. (Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images)
Protesters march during a rally in Baltimore, Maryland, on April 25, 2015, against the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody. Organizers anticipated the biggest outpouring of public anger since Gray, 25, was arrested on April 12, only to die in a coma seven days later from severe spinal injuries. AFP PHOTO / ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS (Photo credit should read Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 25: Hundreds of protestors gather in honor of Freddie Gray April 25, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Gray, 25, was arrested for possessing a switch blade knife outside the Gilmor Homes housing project on Baltimore's west side on April 12 . According to his attorney, Gray died a week later in the hospital from a severe spinal cord injury he received while in police custody. (Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images)
A protester gestures at police during a rally in Baltimore, Maryland, on April 25, 2015, against the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody. Organizers anticipated the biggest outpouring of public anger since Gray, 25, was arrested on April 12, only to die in a coma seven days later from severe spinal injuries. AFP PHOTO / ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS (Photo credit should read Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images)
Demonstrators put their fists in the air as a sign of 'black power' during a protest against police brutality and the death of Freddie Gray outside the Baltimore Police Western District station in the Sandtown neighborhood April 22, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Gray, 25, was arrested for possessing a switch blade knife April 12 outside the Gilmor Homes housing project on Baltimore's west side. According to his attorney, Gray died a week later in the hospital from a severe spinal cord injury he received while in police custody. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 23: The bulletin board in front of the Sharon Baptist Church asks that people pray for the family of Freddie Gray April 23, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Gray, 25, was arrested for possessing a switch blade knife April 12 outside the Gilmor Homes housing project on Baltimore's west side. According to his attorney, Gray died a week later in the hospital from a severe spinal cord injury he received while in police custody. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, USA - APRIL 23: Hundreds of people gather outside the Western District Police Station during a march through the streets of Baltimore to seek justice for the death for Freddie Gray who died from injuries suffered in Police custody in Baltimore, USA on April 23, 2015. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, USA - APRIL 23: Protestors and police clash as hundreds of people march through the streets of Baltimore to seek justice for the death for Freddie Gray who died from injuries suffered in Police custody in Baltimore, USA on April 23, 2015. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Marchers chant near the Baltimore police department's Western District police station during a march for Freddie Gray, Wednesday, April 22, 2015, in Baltimore. Gray died from spinal injuries about a week after he was arrested and transported in a police van. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
WASHINGTON, USA - APRIL 23: Young men sit in the middle of a street blocking traffic as hundreds of people march through the streets of Baltimore to seek justice for the death for Freddie Gray who died from injuries suffered in Police custody in Baltimore, USA on April 23, 2015. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Demonstrators and police officers wrestle over a metal barricade as containers of liquid are thrown during a protest against police brutality and the death of Freddie Gray outside the Baltimore Police Western District station in the Sandtown neighborhood April 22, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Gray, 25, was arrested for possessing a switch blade knife April 12 outside the Gilmor Homes housing project on Baltimore's west side. According to his attorney, Gray died a week later in the hospital from a severe spinal cord injury he received while in police custody. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
The Rev. Westley West leads a march for Freddie Gray to the Baltimore Police Department's Western District police station, Wednesday, April 22, 2015, in Baltimore. Gray died from spinal injuries about a week after he was arrested and transported in a police van. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
A member of the Baltimore Police Department stands guard outside of the department's Western District police station as men hold their hands up in protest during a march for Freddie Gray, Wednesday, April 22, 2015, in Baltimore. Gray died from spinal injuries about a week after he was arrested and transported in a police van. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
A woman holds a sign during a protest for Freddie Gray outside the Baltimore Police Department's Western District police station, Wednesday, April 22, 2015, in Baltimore. Gray died from spinal injuries a week after he was arrested and transported in a police van. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Marchers raise their fists in the air near the Baltimore Police Department's Western District police station during a march for Freddie Gray, Wednesday, April 22, 2015, in Baltimore. Gray died from spinal injuries about a week after he was arrested and transported in a police van. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
A man shouts insults at Baltimore Police officers guarding the Western District station during a protest against police brutality and the death of Freddie Gray in the Sandtown neighborhood April 22, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Gray, 25, was arrested for possessing a switch blade knife April 12 outside the Gilmor Homes housing project on Baltimore's west side. According to his attorney, Gray died a week later in the hospital from a severe spinal cord injury he received while in police custody. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Baltimore Police officers keep demonstrators back while standing guard outside the Western District station during a protest against police brutality and the death of Freddie Gray in the Sandtown neighborhood April 22, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Gray, 25, was arrested for possessing a switch blade knife April 12 outside the Gilmor Homes housing project on Baltimore's west side. According to his attorney, Gray died a week later in the hospital from a severe spinal cord injury he received while in police custody. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Marchers raise their fists in front of Baltimore police guarding the department's Western District police station during a march for Freddie Gray, Wednesday, April 22, 2015, in Baltimore. Gray died from spinal injuries about a week after he was arrested and transported in a police van. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
A demonstrator is arrested after climbing over a metal barricade during a protest against police brutality and the death of Freddie Gray outside the Baltimore Police Western District station in the Sandtown neighborhood April 22, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Gray, 25, was arrested for possessing a switch blade knife April 12 outside the Gilmor Homes housing project on Baltimore's west side. According to his attorney, Gray died a week later in the hospital from a severe spinal cord injury he received while in police custody. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
A Baltimore Police officer secures metal barricades in front of City Hall in anticipation of protests against police brutality and the death of Freddie Gray April 22, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Gray, 25, was arrested by Baltimore Police for possessing a switch blade knife April 12 outside the Gilmor Homes housing project on Baltimore's west side. According to his attorney, Gray died a week later in the hospital from a severe spinal cord injury he received while in police custody. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Christian Johnson Sr. (L) holds his daughter Chrisette Johnson, 6, on his shoulders and puts his fist in the air as a sign of 'black power' during a protest against police brutality and the death of Freddie Gray outside the Baltimore Police Western District station April 22, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Gray, 25, was arrested for possessing a switch blade knife April 12 outside the Gilmor Homes housing project on Baltimore's west side. According to his attorney, Gray died a week later in the hospital from a severe spinal cord injury he received while in police custody. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Hundreds of demonstrators gather outside the Baltimore Police Western District station during a protest against police brutality and the death of Freddie Gray in the Sandtown neighborhood April 22, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Gray, 25, was arrested for possessing a switch blade knife April 12 outside the Gilmor Homes housing project on Baltimore's west side. According to his attorney, Gray died a week later in the hospital from a severe spinal cord injury he received while in police custody. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
A demonstrator is arrested after climbing over a metal barricade during a protest against police brutality and the death of Freddie Gray outside the Baltimore Police Western District station in the Sandtown neighborhood April 22, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Gray, 25, was arrested for possessing a switch blade knife April 12 outside the Gilmor Homes housing project on Baltimore's west side. According to his attorney, Gray died a week later in the hospital from a severe spinal cord injury he received while in police custody. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Demonstrators shout insults at members of the Baltimore Police as they stand guard outside the Western District station during a protest against police brutality and the death of Freddie Gray in the Sandtown neighborhood April 22, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Gray, 25, was arrested for possessing a switch blade knife April 12 outside the Gilmor Homes housing project on Baltimore's west side. According to his attorney, Gray died a week later in the hospital from a severe spinal cord injury he received while in police custody. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Demonstrators shout insults at members of the Baltimore Police as they stand guard outside the Western District station during a protest against police brutality and the death of Freddie Gray in the Sandtown neighborhood April 22, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Gray, 25, was arrested for possessing a switch blade knife April 12 outside the Gilmor Homes housing project on Baltimore's west side. According to his attorney, Gray died a week later in the hospital from a severe spinal cord injury he received while in police custody. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 22: Baltimore Police mounted officers stand at the ready during a protest against police brutality and the death of Freddie Gray outside the Baltimore Police Western District station in the Sandtown neighborhood April 22, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Gray, 25, was arrested for possessing a switch blade knife April 12 outside the Gilmor Homes housing project on Baltimore's west side. According to his attorney, Gray died a week later in the hospital from a severe spinal cord injury he received while in police custody. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Protestors participate in a vigil for Freddie Gray down the street from the Baltimore Police Department's Western District police station, April 21, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Gray, 25, died from spinal injuries on April 19, one week after being taken into police custody. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Tully White IV holds his son Tully White V, 2 years old, during a vigil for Freddie Gray down the street from the Baltimore Police Department's Western District police station, April 21, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Gray, 25, died from spinal injuries on April 19, one week after being taken into police custody. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Protestors participate in a vigil for Freddie Gray down the street from the Baltimore Police Department's Western District police station, April 21, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Gray, 25, died from spinal injuries on April 19, one week after being taken into police custody. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Neighborhood children light candles at a memorial after a march and vigil for Freddie Gray, April 21, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Gray, 25, died from spinal injuries on April 19, one week after being taken into police custody. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Supporters and family members of Freddie Gray lead a march to the Baltimore Police Department's Western District police station during a vigil for Freddie Gray, Tuesday, April 21, 2015, in Baltimore. Gray died from spinal injuries a week after he was arrested and transported in a police van. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Members of the Baltimore Police Department stand behind barriers outside of the Western District police station during a march for Freddie Gray, Tuesday, April 21, 2015, in Baltimore. Gray died from spinal injuries about a week after he was arrested and transported in a police van. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Protesters march on Laurens Street during a demonstration over the death of Freddie Gray, April 21, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Gray, 25, died from spinal injuries on April 19, one week after being taken into police custody. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Baltimore resident Priscilla Jackson signs a memorial following a demonstration over the death of Freddie Gray, April 21, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Gray, 25, died from spinal injuries on April 19, one week after being taken into police custody. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Protesters sit outside the Baltimore Police Department's Western District police station at the end of a march for Freddie Gray, Tuesday, April 21, 2015, in Baltimore. Gray died from spinal injuries a week after he was arrested and transported in a police van. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Gloria Darden, at center in hood, mother of Freddie Gray, leads a march with supporters to the site of Gray's arrest, Tuesday, April 21, 2015, in Baltimore. Gray died from spinal injuries a week after he was arrested and transported in a police van. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
A woman reaches for a lighter as she and other protestors light candles spelling out the name of Freddie Gray during a vigil at the intersection of Gray's arrest, Tuesday, April 21, 2015, in Baltimore. Gray died from spinal injuries a week after he was arrested and transported in a police van. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Supporters and family members of Freddie Gray lead a march to the Baltimore Police Department's Western District police station during a vigil for Freddie Gray, Tuesday, April 21, 2015, in Baltimore. Gray died from spinal injuries a week after he was arrested and transported in a police van. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Thousands march through the streets of Baltimore to seek justice for the death for Freddie Gray who died from injuries suffered in Police custody in Baltimore, USA on April 18, 2015. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Protestors stand outside of the Baltimore Police Department's Western District police station during a march and vigil for Freddie Gray, Tuesday, April 21, 2015, in Baltimore. Gray died from spinal injuries a week after he was arrested and transported in a police van. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Rev. Jamal Bryant leads a rally outside of the Baltimore Police Department's Western District police station during a march and vigil for Freddie Gray, Tuesday, April 21, 2015, in Baltimore. Gray died from spinal injuries a week after he was arrested and transported in a police van. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
A protestor raises his fist outside of the Baltimore Police Department's Western District police station during a march and vigil for Freddie Gray, Tuesday, April 21, 2015, in Baltimore. Gray died from spinal injuries a week after he was arrested and transported in a police van. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
WASHINGTON, USA - APRIL 18: Thousands march through the streets of Baltimore to seek justice for the death for Freddie Gray who died from injuries suffered in Police custody in Baltimore, USA on April 18, 2015. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
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"They're hurting us when they throw us to the ground and kick us and punch us," said Jackson, 53.

At least one an activist was detained when he jumped past police barriers.

Gray's mother, Gloria Darden, was overcome with grief and carried away at one point by several men, writhing and sobbing uncontrollably, her face obscured by a hood and dark glasses. The crowd parted to let her through. Another female family member collapsed in tears and was also helped away.

As the sun fell, some protesters lit candles and the demonstration peacefully dispersed. More protests were planned for later in the week.

Gray, 25, was taken into custody April 12 after police "made eye contact" with him and another man in an area known for drug activity, police said. Gray was handcuffed and put in a transport van. At some point during his roughly 30-minute ride, the van was stopped and Gray's legs were shackled when an officer felt he was becoming "irate," police said.

Police Commissioner Anthony Batts said that Gray asked for an inhaler, and then several times asked for medical care. He was eventually rushed to a hospital.

Gray died Sunday - a week after his arrest - of what police described as "a significant spinal injury."

Exactly how he was injured and what happened in the van is still not known.

Justice Department spokeswoman Dena Iverson said investigators are "gathering information to determine whether any prosecutable civil rights violation occurred."

It's not uncommon for federal investigators to look into allegations of excessive police force. Justice Department investigations in the last year include probes into the fatal shooting of an unarmed black 18-year-old in Ferguson, Missouri - a case that resulted in no charges against the officer - and an ongoing review of a police chokehold death of a New York City man.

There's a high threshold for bringing federal civil rights charges against police officers in such cases. Federal investigators must show an officer willfully deprived a person of his or her civil rights by using more force than the law allows, a standard that's challenging in rapidly unfolding confrontations in which snap judgments are made.

The mayor said she welcomed the Justice Department probe.

"Whenever a police force conducts an internal investigation, there are always appropriate questions of transparency and impartiality," she said. "My goal has always been to get answers to the questions so many of us are still asking with regards to Mr. Gray's death."

In the Baltimore case, the six suspended officers have been on the force anywhere from three years to 18 years.

According to court documents, Officer Garrett Miller accused Gray of carrying a switchblade, which was discovered in Gray's pocket after he was stopped.

The other suspended officers were identified as:

- Lt. Brian Rice, 41, with the department since 1997.

- Sgt. Alicia White, 30, with the department since 2010.

- Officer Caesar Goodson, 45, who has been there since 1999.

- Officers William Porter and Edward Nero, who along with Miller, all joined in 2012.

Kim Deachilla, a spokeswoman for the Baltimore Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 3, said a law firm that contracts with the union is representing them.

The officers' specific roles in the arrest were not released by city officials. Bystander video of the arrest shows officers on bicycles, in patrol cars and outside the transport van.

The lawyer for Gray's family said he believes the police had no reason to stop him.

"Running while black is not probable cause. Felony running doesn't exist, and you can't arrest someone for looking you in the eye," attorney Billy Murphy said.

Batts said the reason for Gray's stop is "a question we have to dig into."

Harold Perry, 73, a retired small businessman who is nearly blind, said he heard the arrest through his bedroom window. A young man was screaming "You're hurting me! Get your knee off my back," Perry said.

He said he also heard the young man say, "I'm an asthmatic."

In the bystander video, Gray is screaming, but it's not clear what he is saying.

At a news conference Monday, officials vowed transparency and pledged to hold those found responsible accountable. Batts said the investigation will be completed by May 1 and the results will be sent to the state attorney's office to determine whether criminal charges will be filed. Batts also said he is ordering that police review and rewrite "effective immediately" its policies on moving prisoners and providing them with medical attention.


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