On Tuesday, Attorney General Loretta Lynch met privately with the family of Freddie Gray, the 25-year-old Baltimore man who suffered injuries in police custody that led to his death.
"It was wonderful for the first black woman attorney general in the history of this country to care so much about our city that she came here today to express her full involvement in coming up with a solution to our common problems," Gray family attorney William H. "Billy" Murphy Jr. told the Baltimore Sun. He noted that Lynch offered the family her condolences.
According to the Sun, Lynch spent some five hours taking closed-door meetings with Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, "Police Commissioner Anthony W. Batts, clergy leaders and activists who frequently protest alleged police brutality and excessive force."
The new attorney general, who was sworn in just last week, also took the opportunity to praise the Baltimore Police Department in its handling of protests and demonstrators since Gray's death.
"I have watched the police of this city, and I know that there are difficulties. I know that we have struggles, and we are here to help you work through those struggles in the way that will hopefully be the best and most productive way for this department," Lynch said Tuesday, according to CBS News. "But to all of you who are on the front lines, I just want to say thank you."
Praise for the embattled Police Department seemed odd to many, considering that the Justice Department is conducting "a civil rights investigation into Gray's death and a review [of] the city's police force, which has paid nearly $6 million since 2011 to settle claims of police brutality, according to a Baltimore Sun investigation," CBS News notes.
The attorney general's visit also came just days after six officers were criminally charged in Gray's death.
"You really have become the face of law enforcement," she said. "Now, you may say that's for good or ill, I know, but we don't always choose moments. Sometimes they choose us. And how we live with that and how we go through with that, determines what kind of officers we are," she said, according to CBS.
Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, a Baltimore Democrat, told the Sun that he called Lynch's visit to Baltimore "a transformative moment" in changing the culture of policing across the nation.
Rawlings-Blake told CBS News that the relationship between the citizens of Baltimore and the Police Department is like a marriage, adding, "Separation is not an option. Divorce is not an option. We have to figure out how we're going to make this marriage work, make it healthy and make it thrive so that our city can thrive."