Agents of the Department of Justice wasted little time launching a civil-rights investigation into the death of Freddie Gray.  In a press release, Attorney General Loretta Lynch explained that “Department officials heard from residents about concerns regarding the Baltimore Police Department and the lack of trust they feel exists between the police and the community.”

Lynch promised to bring “the full resources of the Department of Justice to bear in . . . investigating the wrongdoing.”  She made this statement several days before state charges were filed against police officers and before any authority had completed an investigation.  So, the attorney general of the United States made a simple conclusion: Black man dead, white wrongdoing to blame.  Of course, it might very well turn out that one or more of the officers is guilty of unlawful conduct—maybe even homicide.  But neither we nor the attorney general, back in late April when the statement was issued, had enough information to make such a bold assertion.

The rhetoric and quick federal involvement could mislead one into believing that Baltimore is run by a reincarnation of Bull Connor and that some outside entity must stand up for the rights of disenfranchised black folks.  Baltimore, of course, is a majority black city whose mayor and police commissioner are black.  The city council consists of 15 members, 10 of whom are black.

It took Baltimore authorities a mere three weeks (light speed for any justice system) to charge the six police officers alleged to be involved in the spinal injury that led to Gray’s death.  And incidentally, the chief prosecutor for the city is a black female.

State and local officials obviously have the legal situation under control and will try the officers in front of what will likely be a majority-black jury.  State charges will be much easier to prove than a federal civil-rights violation because the latter charge requires the prosecution to show that someone acting with law-enforcement authority willfully violated Gray’s civil rights—knowing the action was wrong and against the law to do so.  This willfulness requirement poses a high hurdle that is absent from the state charges.

According to Lynch—the chief prosecutor for cases involving the federal government—her “ultimate goal” is to have “a respectful conversation within the Baltimore community and across the nation about the way our law enforcement officers interact with the residents they are charged to serve and protect.”

For a look at how this “conversation” is likely to turn out, we need only examine Ferguson, Missouri.  A state grand jury found no probable cause to charge police officer Darren Wilson in the death of Michael Brown.  The federal civil-rights investigation also concluded that no federal charges could be brought against Wilson.  Most likely, the DOJ knew that it could never make a civil-rights case against Wilson, but an open investigation would give them an opportunity to advance the idea that white cops are oppressing innocent black citizens, and that federal oversight is the only cure.

The DOJ Civil Rights Division rolled into town, got access to email accounts, and guess what?  People are stupid and treat email as if it were private correspondence.  They send and view porn and even swap jokes, some of which are racist.  Looking at the numbers, it also appears that the police arrest blacks at a higher rate than whites.  In Ferguson, which is two-thirds black, 93 percent of all arrests involve black suspects.

This is hardly surprising.  According to the 2013 national crime statistics compiled by the FBI, blacks, who are 13.2 percent of the U.S. population, account for 28 percent of all arrests nationwide and 52 percent of all murder and non-negligent homicide arrests.  So the data show that the national black arrest rate is about twice their percentage of the population.  It should have been a shock to no one that blacks are involved in a supermajority of arrests in Ferguson.

Rather than seeing black crime correlating to broken families and the ravages of dependency brought about by the ever-advancing Great Society, the DOJ concluded that Ferguson officials engaged in a pattern and practice of minority oppression.  The DOJ report recommended that Ferguson take steps “to promote reconciliation, to reduce and eliminate bias, and build understanding.”

These are not toothless suggestions.  The DOJ requires that the recommendations and other measures “be a part of a court-enforceable remedial process that includes involvement from community stakeholders as well as independent oversight.”  In other words, the courts, with assistance from DOJ trial attorneys, will have the ultimate say in how policing is carried out in Ferguson.

Baltimore is the next target.  No police department in the country can survive the DOJ’s search for stupid jokes and comments in emails or the assumption that a high number of black arrests in majority-black communities means racism.

No matter what the outcome is of the prosecution of the six police officers, Baltimore should brace itself for “a court-enforceable remedial process.”