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Baltimore meeting on police brutality moved to handle bigger crowd

To accommodate a bigger crowd, the U.S. Justice Department has changed the location of Thursday evening's town hall meeting about alleged misconduct within the Baltimore Police Department.

The meeting at Coppin State University will now be held at the Physical Education Complex instead of the Grace Jacobs Center. The new site will hold at least 350 people; the old one could hold 80.

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The Justice Department, which is reviewing the Police Department's policies and procedures, is holding the meeting to help address allegations of brutality and other misconduct. The community forum comes months after the federal agency agreed to help reform the nation's eighth-largest police force.

After The Baltimore Sun reported details Sunday, residents complained that many could be turned away because of the size of the meeting room. A Justice Department spokeswoman said the agency started looking for a bigger location Friday.

The agency started the collaborative review in January, but the 90-minute meeting at Coppin State will be the first public gathering at which Baltimoreans can share views on the police force.

Last fall, Police Commissioner Anthony W. Batts requested federal help days after a Sun investigation revealed that residents had suffered broken bones and battered faces during arrests, and the city had paid $5.7 million since 2011 in court judgments and settlements in 102 civil suits alleging police brutality.

The meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. The Physical Education Complex is at Gwynn Falls Parkway and North Warwick Avenue.

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