Baltimore police officers routinely discriminate against blacks and use excessive force, a damning Justice Department report has found.
The 163-page findings say officers make large numbers of stops and searches that disproportionately target black pedestrians and drivers.
The searches mostly take place with dubious justification in poor, black neighborhoods, according to the findings.
Physical force is used unnecessarily, including against juveniles and the mentally disabled.
Officers often get physical as a retaliatory tactic because they “did not like what those individuals said”, and make unlawful arrests for speech deemed disrespectful.
The police are not adequately held accountable for misconduct, according to the report.
“BPD teaches officers to use aggressive tactics,” it adds.
“BPD’s trainings fuel an ‘us vs. them’ mentality we saw some officers display toward community members, alienating the civilians they are meant to serve.”
After the report was released on Wednesday morning, Baltimore Police’s commissioner said officers who have committed egregious violations had been fired.
Black residents account for roughly 84% of stops, though they represent just 63% of the city’s population, found the report.
Officers also perform unconstitutional public strip searches, including of people who are not under arrest.
The Justice Department is taking legal action to force the police agency to commit to improving its procedures.
The report partially blames the officers’ misconduct on a “zero tolerance” policy dating back to the early 2000s.
State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby, the city’s top prosecutor, said the report confirmed “what many in our city already know or have experienced firsthand”.
The federal investigation was launched after the April 2015 death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man who died when his neck was broken in the back of a police van.
The death set off protests and the worst riots in decades.
Six officers were tried, but three were acquitted, one case ended in mistrial and charges were dropped against the others.
The Justice Department in recent years has launched similar investigations into the police in Chicago, Cleveland, Albuquerque and Ferguson, Missouri, among other cities.
(c) Sky News 2016