The Baltimore Police Department is investigating the placement of an inflammatory sign on the inside door of a transport van.
The sign, which reads in big, blue block letters: "Enjoy your ride, 'cuz we sure will," was spotted posted on the inside of a parked van.
A police spokesman released the following statement late Thursday:
"The nature and the posting of the wording is both concerning and unacceptable. Deputy Police Commissioner Dean Palmere has ordered that an inspection of all departmental vehicles be conducted. Internal investigations will be initiated when appropriate. This is an issue that is being taken very seriously."
The van appears similar to the type used to transport people who have been arrested, and the sign was mounted to a door that can only be seen from the inside of the back of the van when closed.
The wording also appears to be an oblique reference to a "rough ride" — one of the issues in the case of six Baltimore police officers who have been charged in the death of Freddie Gray. Prosecutors say the 25-year-old man suffered a fatal spinal cord injury on April 12 after being driven around Baltimore in a police van after his arrest.
A passerby took four photos of the sign and showed them to WBAL-TV.
The U.S. Department of Justice is investigating city police to determine whether there is a "pattern or practice" of violating constitutional rights or engaging in discriminatory policing.
William H. "Billy" Murphy Jr., an attorney representing Gray's family, said in an email that the sign is another example that points to a need for police reforms.
"This sign is yet more proof that the Baltimore City Police Department is in need of serious investigation, oversight and reform," Murphy wrote in a statement to The Baltimore Sun.
"While we wait for the Department of Justice to do this very thing, our response as a unified community should be patience and calm."