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Justice Department Probes Baltimore Police-Custody Death

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- New details in the investigation into the highly controversial death of Freddie Gray while in Baltimore police custody. Federal authorities announce they are looking into the case.

This, after city police release the names of the six officers involved in Gray's April 12 arrest.

Derek Valcourt has new video of the incident and more on the federal probe.

The Department of Justice confirms it is launching its own investigation into the death of Freddie Gray, specifically looking at the actions of the officers involved conduct of the officers involved and whether they violated Freddie Gray's constitutional rights.

The mayor issued a statement in support of the decision:

"From the outset of our investigation, I have repeatedly affirmed my support for an outside review into the death of Mr Gray. Whenever a police force conducts an internal investigation, there are always appropriate questions of transparency and impartiality. 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. Any effort that adds additional transparency and builds community trust in this process is welcomed. This outside review will assist us in getting to the bottom of what happened to Mr. Gray in the most objective and transparent way possible."

What happened to 25-year-old Freddie Gray is now the focus of an intense police investigation and protests throughout the city.

Click here for the latest on the investigation into Freddie Gray's death.

Cell phone video was taken in the moments after police chased down Gray, when he ran away from them on April 12. Officers reported he was arrested without force or incident.

Less than an hour after he was loaded into the back of a police van, he was hospitalized in a coma with severe neck injuries that attorneys say included a spine that was 80 percent severed. He died a week later.

New video obtained by WJZ shows the police van moments after the arrest stopped a little more than a block down the road. Police explain the driver believed Gray was acting irate in the back, so they briefly removed him from the van.

"And at that point, Gray is placed in leg irons and put back in the wagon," said Deputy Commissioner Jerry Rodriguez, Baltimore City Police Department.

Police are now releasing the identities of the six officers involved. They are:

Lieutenant Brian Rice, 41. He has been an officer since 1997.
Sergeant Alicia White, 30. She has been an officer since 2010.
Police officer William Porter, 25. He has been an officer since 2012.
Police officer Garrett Miller, 26. He has been an officer since 2012.
Police officer Edward Nero, 29. He has been an officer since 2012.
Police officer Caesar Goodson, 45. He has been an officer since 1999.

All of them are now suspended with pay, pending the outcome of the investigation.

"The truth will come out, it will just take a little bit of time," said Rob Weinhold.

Weinhold is a former Baltimore police officer turned crisis leadership expert WJZ frequently interviews for perspective on law enforcement. He urges patience as city officials look into the many critical unanswered questions:

Did Gray's life-threatening injuries occur before he was put in the van? What happened while he was being transported? And perhaps, most importantly, were his injuries caused by officers' actions?

"And so, investigators need the time to sift through the information and make sure the facts from witness testimony line up with physical evidence, which then support autopsy findings. And eventually, when you put it all together, you have a fairly accurate picture of what exactly happened," said Weinhold.

The police commissioner told reporters he expects the findings of their investigation to be turned over to Baltimore City State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby's office by May 1. It will be up to her to determine what, if any, charges the officers involved should face.

She says her office is conducting its own independent investigation into the matter.

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