BREAKING: Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake Declines to Fire Self, Fires Police Commissioner Police Commissioner Anthony Batts InsteadPosted: July 8, 2015
Rawlings-Blake announced the firing in a news release Wednesday afternoon. She said Deputy Police Commissioner Kevin Davis will become interim commissioner.
Rawlings did not give a reason, but the move comes amid a spike in the city’s homicide rate.
Baltimore was rocked with civil unrest in April after black resident Freddie Gray died one week after suffering a critical spinal injury in police custody. Six police officers have been criminally charged in Gray’s death.
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake abruptly dismissed Police Commissioner Anthony Batts on Wednesday, hours after the city’s police union released a report sharply critical of the department’s response to rioting here in late April.
Ms. Rawlings-Blake announced the decision minutes before Mr. Batts was due to hold a news conference. She named Deputy Commissioner Kevin Davis as interim commissioner effective immediately. She was scheduled to address reporters later Wednesday afternoon.
The move came hours after the city’s police union said officers lacked appropriate riot gear and weren’t allowed to stop widespread looting during the unrest.
“Decisions implemented by top commanders of the Baltimore Police Department left officers in harm’s way,” union President Lt. Gene Ryan said at an earlier news conference. “Equally as important, the lack of preparation put the very citizens that we were sworn to protect in harm’s way as well.”
Police-department officials didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on the report. A spokesman for Ms. Rawlings-Blake dismissed the report as “no more than a trumped up political document full of baseless accusations, finger pointing and personal attacks.”
Lt. Ryan said officers reported being ordered not to arrest anyone without approval by department lawyers, and not to wear helmets “even as bricks and bottles were being thrown at them.” He said Mr. Batts needed to “step up” to improve conditions for officers but didn’t call for him to resign. Lt. Ryan said more than 200 officers were injured during unrest in the city; police officials have put the number at around 160….(read more)
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- Police Union: Baltimore Leadership Put Officers And City In Harm’s Way During Riots (dailycaller.com)
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- BREAKING: Six Baltimore Police Officers Charged in Freddie Gray Death (punditfromanotherplanet.com)
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