Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Police Comissioner Fired

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake fired Baltimore's top cop, Police Comissioner Anthony Batts this afternoon. Batts has been under fire since the death of Freddie Gray in police custody shined a light on violent and discriminatory practices in the police department. Batts was further criticized, along with the mayor, for his leadership during the unrest surrounding Gray's death and for tolerating (or failing to put a stop to) the unofficial soft strike being carried out by police, a widespread protest that has resulted in dangerously lax law enforcement across the city.

The latter point was highlighted this week when a mugging victim seeking help was turned away from two different police stations, in the Southwest and Southern districts. At both locations the victim was told that the station was closed for the night, 7pm to 7am. Police stations in major cities are generally open 24/7.

The Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance, an organization of black faith leaders, asked for Batts's ouster in April. Today they were joined by Baltimore United In Leadership Development (BUILD), which comprises a variety of schools, churches, and faith organizations.

The New York Times is following the story closely: