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Department Of Justice May Look Into Baltimore Police Brutality

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- In light of the number of police brutality cases, the Baltimore City police department could be under the microscope of the Department of Justice after a letter asks for a full review by the attorney general.

Rochelle Ritchie has more on the letter and who sent it, as well as the mayor's reaction.

A letter sent by the president of the Baltimore city council to the Department of Justice asking for a full-fledged review of the Baltimore City police department's policies, procedures and practices.

In a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, Baltimore City Council President Bernard "Jack" Young says the number of cases involving allegations of excessive force by city police officers is disturbing and he wants a full review---a probe the mayor supports.

"While some electives are acting surprised about this issue, it's something that has been in black and white and been an issue for decades. I am just the one willing to do the hard work to correct the problem," said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.

Incidents alleging police brutality caught on camera. Just this year, one officer is seen punching a man repeatedly at a bus stop and in another incident, officers used batons and Tasers on a man outside of a popular lounge. Both men are now suing.

"He ain't doing nothing," said one witness.

The issue of police brutality in Baltimore City is a historic problem. According to our media partner, the Baltimore Sun, in just the last three years, the city has paid nearly $3 million in cases of false imprisonment, false arrest and assault. Many of the officers are still on duty now.

"They were never suspended; they were never disciplined," said Police Commissioner Anthony Batts. "They were just asked to take a couple of days off to catch their breath before they went back to duty."

The Sun's investigation highlights one officer on the force since 1993 that has cost taxpayers more than $600,000 in cases of police misconduct.

The mayor says getting rid of those few bad apples in the department is key.

"That's why, with Commissioner Batts, we disbanded that unit that was responsible for the excessive number of those complaints," she said.

The Department of Justice has not confirmed if they will investigate but the police commissioner says their doors are open.

"They will go back and look at our training. Most likely, they'll go back and look at our Internal Affairs process. They'll go back and look at if there are issues dealing with our supervision," Batts said.

Our media partners are the Sun also found the city has faced over 300 lawsuits for civil rights and constitutional violations.

New legislation is on the table for officers to be equipped with body cams to hold officers responsible.

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