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Mayor says Freddie Gray's family declined request to meet with her

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said Wednesday she has tried to meet with the family of Freddie Gray, but they declined the meeting through their attorney.

Gray died over the weekend from injuries sustained in police custody, though the mayor says it's unclear whether police had probable cause to arrest him. His family is being represented by veteran attorney William H. "Billy" Murphy Jr.

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"I'm looking for other ways to reach out," Rawlings-Blake said.

The U.S. Justice Department said Tuesday it is opening a criminal investigation into Gray's death — an incident that continues to spark angry demonstrations.

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The mayor said the police department is now looking for additional videos of the incident from police cameras.

"We're reviewing the cameras in the area to find out if there's any visual evidence that would be helpful to the investigation. As we find it, and as we can release it, we will immediately do that."

The mayor said police conduct has long been an issue Baltimore neighborhoods. Even after Baltimore's murder rate dropped below 200 in 2011, many residents still weren't happy with they way police officers behaved, she said.

"They were mad as hell by the way they were being treated by the police department," Rawlings-Blake said.

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Gray suffered a spinal cord injury while in police custody on April 12. He died seven days later. The lack of thorough public explanations as to why he was stopped or how he was injured has roiled a city struggling with allegations of police brutality and racial issues as the nation wrestles with similar problems.

"It's a bad incident. We have to make sure we get to the bottom of it," Rawlings-Blake said. "'I'm confident that one day Mr. Gray's family will know the truth of what happened."

Six Baltimore officers remain suspended with pay pending the results of the police investigation. The number of investigations into Gray's death grew to four on Tuesday: a criminal review that will be turned over to the state's attorney's office by May 1; an internal administrative investigation to determine if officers should be fired or disciplined; a review from an independent panel that Batts commissioned; and now, a civil rights investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice.

City Council President Bernard C. "Jack" Young called for a federal civil rights investigation months ago.

"If they had come in when I had asked them, maybe this would not have happened," Young said Wednesday.

lbroadwater@baltsun.com

Twitter.com/lukebroadwater

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