Baltimore Police News

Friday, 21 February 2020 11:22 Written by  Published in Justice Read 331 times
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Good Cop - Bad Cop  - We all know as n any profession we have some great police, some really really good police, some good police, adverage police hump cops, bad cops and dirty cops. what most might not understand is no one hates a dirty cop worse than americas good police, and for those that think, all police are dirty if they don't drop a dime on dirty police, fail to understand two things, 1st they need to practive what they preach in that by their not calling in tips on the dirty criminal activity in their own enightborhood are not much better than than the criminals running drugs, and shooting innocent kids. As for Police, If an officer's cover is blown, criminals in his area will move until he is off-duty, likewise, if I am known for diming out bad cops, word gets out and nothing will be done near me, but if I take my notes and either call in myself, or have my wife call in from a payphone, I can cntinue reportng things seen and take out more dirty cops than the first one seen. That said, in my 16 years, I had not seen any serious dirty police, the worse, i had seen was eating off an officers post, use of foul langauge (but there was a time when we were trained to use strong language, it seemed kindness was mistaken as weakness and use of strong language had comands followed more quickley which becomes a safety issue for everyone involved. When I was hired an old timer told me now that I was hired the only way I could lose my job would be to Lie, Steal, or take drugs. He said other than quitting, this is the hardest job in the world to be fired from, they give you instructions for everything you can and cannot do, follow the rules and you will be OK. I have seen guys fired over stealing $5.00 or failing to submit found money, throwing away evidence, officers finding or having drugs turned over to them, but woth no arrest officers have been known to destroy said evidence rather thanw rite a simple found property report ans submitting the evdence. The point is, for the most part more than 99% of Baltimore's police are good police. We hope these stories will help show that while we have had soem bad cops, for the most part we have some fo the nations best police. 

Baltimore Police News

Articles Compiled by; The Court Jester


Baltimore Police News

"We have had these types of conversations before. I have made it very clear that I work with the police and instructed them to do everything they could to make sure the protesters were able to exercise their right to free speech. It is a very delicate balancing act because while we tried to make sure they were protected from the cars and the other things that were going on, we also gave those who wished to destroy the space to do that as well. And we worked very hard to keep that balance and to put ourselves in the best position to de-escalate, and that's what you saw."

Mayor Stephanie-Rawlings Blake
26 April 2015
The next day Baltimore's 2015 Riots broke out

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Sometimes the police used trickery over brute. this was my favorite way to police. I once yelled into a apartment that was being burglarized telling those inside that I was Baltimore Police K9 Unit and wanted them to come out, or I would send my dog in, I turned my head away from the window gave a couple of deep barks, with that the two teenagers inside came running to the window ready to turn themselves in.

What follows is a similar story, but instead of being in the late 1980's early 1990's this story took place in February of 1918, and this Patrolman pulled off a masterful con. 

 

The Evening Sun Thu Feb 28 1918 Trick or treat72

Click the Above Article, or HERE to see the Full Size Article

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The Evening Sun Fri Jul 9 1943 dog pole72

Click the Above Article, or HERE to see the Full Size Article

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4 June 2018

Baltimore Police commander under investigation for theft from police-community relations nonprofit

Kevin Rector Contact ReporterThe Baltimore Sun

A high-ranking Baltimore police commander who founded a nonprofit to improve police-community relations after the city’s 2015 unrest is under investigation for using the charity’s funds to pay for a personal European vacation.

Maj. Kimberly Burrus admitted she was being investigated for theft by the department’s internal affairs section during a December custody hearing for her son. Burrus oversaw robbery and non-fatal shooting investigations for the Baltimore Police Department before being selected for a national fellowship known for grooming the nation’s next police chiefs.

T.J. Smith, a police spokesman, confirmed the department is “looking into this matter internally,” but said he was “not at liberty to discuss” the “personnel matter.”

Melba Saunders, a spokeswoman for Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby, said her office could not comment either because it was an “open and pending matter.”

Neither Burrus nor her attorney responded to requests for comment.

However, Burrus and her now ex-husband, Capt. Torran Burrus — also a Baltimore police commander — revealed the allegations being investigated in testimony at the custody hearing, which was reviewed by The Baltimore Sun.

Baltimore police replace Northern District commanderKimberly Burrus founded the group Blue Love Across America in 2015 with her then-husband and several other active and retired Baltimore police officers to raise money for barbecues, ice cream socials and other events where police and citizens could “address the complexity of reducing crime and maintaining a positive view of one another,” according to the group’s website.

The launch of the nonprofit came in the wake of the rioting that caused millions of dollars of damage and protests against police brutality following 25-year-old Freddie Gray’s death from injuries suffered in police custody. Mosby charged six officers in Gray’s death — none of whom were convicted — and the U.S. Justice Department launched an investigation that ultimately determined city police routinely discriminated against residents in poor, predominantly black neighborhoods and violated their constitutional rights.

“During these sensitive times many people have their views about the relationship between law enforcement and community,” Kimberly Burrus wrote in a blog post on the nonprofit’s website in July 2015. “It is one thing to be upset, discouraged and disappointed but we have to be an active participant in change. What have you done to change the current status?”

By 2016, however, the organization was no longer active, and Kimberly and Torran Burrus were in the midst of a divorce. At some point, Torran Burrus — who served on the nonprofit’s board of directors — notified the police department’s internal affairs office that he had found evidence that his wife had misused funds that had been donated to the charity, he said during the Dec. 1 custody hearing.

The evidence was a bank statement that he said he spotted in a recycling bin on his wife’s porch.

“I saw that there was money from the account, this nonprofit that was designed to better the relationships, the trust, repair the trust, between Baltimore police track carjacking suspects using crime patterns, but then detective shoots himselfcommunities and the police department,” Torran Burrus said in court. “Over $2,000 was taken and used to purchase tickets for Kim’s vacation.”

He said he turned the information over to internal affairs because his “name is attached to the nonprofit, and I didn’t want it to appear that, if there was something unscrupulous happening, that I was a part of this.”

Torran Burrus declined through an attorney to comment for this article.

Kimberly Burrus admitted during the hearing to using the nonprofit’s funds to buy plane tickets for her and her two sons. She said she had tried to use her personal credit cards to purchase the flights, but when they didn’t work, she used the nonprofit’s card — and later decided not to pay the money back.

“It was my intention initially to put the money back, but what happened was the taxes were never done on the nonprofit,” she testified. “I was starting to get letters from the state saying that if I didn’t turn in X, Y, Z, then the nonprofit would be closed out. I got a letter from the bank saying that if I didn’t provide certain documentation, that the bank account would be closed out. So I didn’t return the funds.”

Kimberly Burrus did not explain why taxes were not filed for the organization or why the organization’s bank account was going to be closed, but said the funds she’d used for the flights were owed to her as compensation for expenditures she had previously made to cover costs for the nonprofit.

Martin Cadogan, her attorney in the custody and internal affairs cases, asked her if she had spent more on the nonprofit than she had taken out for the flights, and she said she had — including on the group’s website and filing fees for starting the nonprofit.

State business records show Kimberly Burrus filed articles of incorporation for Blue Love Across America in June 2015, but that the business was subsequently forfeited. It is currently listed as “not in good standing” — meaning it has fallen out of compliance with Maryland law.

Akil Hamm, chief of Baltimore City Public Schools Police, served on the nonprofit’s board. He said he was “shocked” by the allegations against Kimberly Burrus when advised of them by The Sun.

New Northern District commander brings 'focus' to post“I didn’t touch any of the money. I did attend maybe two or three board meetings that we had, where they did discuss where the finances were, in terms of expenditures, but I didn’t have access to any funds or credit cards or anything like that,” he said. “We met three times well over a year ago and we had one event, and other than that, I haven't been a part of it.”

Ericka Cooper, a retired internal affairs detective who served as vice president of the board, and Capt. Natalie Preston, an active commander and the nonprofit’s treasurer, could not be reached for comment. Preston testified at the hearing that she was questioned by internal affairs and defended Kimberly Burrus.

Torran Burrus said everyone involved in the organization made personal contributions to it, and estimated he had contributed about $500. When Cadogan asked him if Kimberly Burrus had “put out thousands of dollars,” he responded, “Absolutely not.”

Kimberly Burrus was sent to her current fellowship with the International Association of Chiefs of Police by then-Commissioner Darryl De Sousa, who had completed his own IACP fellowship before being appointed police commissioner in January by Mayor Catherine E. Pugh. De Sousa has since resigned after being charged federally with willfully failing to file federal income tax returns for three straight years in 2013, 2014 and 2015. De Sousa has admitted to not filing his tax returns.

The IACP did not respond to requests for comment on the investigation into Kimberly Burrus.

In addition to the allegations against Kimberly Burrus, Torran Burrus testified during the court hearing that he also had filed a 14-page internal affairs complaint against his supervisor, Col. Osborne Robinson, alleging Robinson had harassed him about an affair Robinson was having with Kimberly Burrus by making lewd comments and gestures at work. Torran Burrus said he was on paid leave for more than a year because of stress from the situation, which he claimed the department was ignoring.

Robinson, who previously oversaw patrol and is now in charge of a police integrity unit, denied the allegations.

“I did not harass him at any point, and nor was I ever his direct supervisor,” Robinson said. “There’s always been several layers between us, so it would have been very difficult for me to harass him on a daily basis when he very rarely had to deal with me.”

The police department did not respond to questions about the harassment allegations and whether they are being investigated.

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 The following was written by Retired Lieutenant Leo T. Kelly in the late 1920's early 1930's. It was found in his writing by his son Leo T Kelly Jr retired Deputy Commissioner and transcribed by his granddaughter Patricia (Kelly) Wilhelm. Mrs. Wilhelm was also a member of the Baltimore Police Department as she worked in our Central Records Divison as did her great-grandfather also a member of the department.  

A Plea for Policemen

Kind reader, remember the policeman’s life is an extra hard one, that his trials and troubles are many. Alone in the dark and stormy night, every law-breaker is his enemy, his friends are few (as he really has no time to make friends ) and his position being such that he has at times o do things which he does not like; in fact which he hates to do. During these times it seems every man rallies against him. The fireman and the soldier, unquestionably brave men, still there is attached to their positions something of a “Stirring Drama,” something if the hero. There are crowds around to cheer on the former, while the latter fights in numbers, cheering and urging one another on with bands of music playing such martial airs as the “Star Spangled Banner,” the Marry Own, o the Marseilles which make a man fight ten times his number. But how about the poor policeman? No crowds to cheer him on, no stirring tunes at the dead of night. Not all was still, save the tread of his own feet. An assassin jumps out from a dark hallway and without a seconds warning sticks a knife in the policeman’s heart, and he does without even a chance t fight back. Let a dozen thugs are beating a policeman nobody helps him. Why in the world does not the honest citizen side in with him? Why do you allow your faithful servant, the protector of yourself, your wife and little children to be beaten to death by thugs, by the enemies of every honest man? To me, It is a mystery which I have tried to solve but failed. Do not condemn us all for the few. Take any three thousand men, and you shall find a few “Black Sheep” among them. Bear in mind, whenever you feel like criticizing policemen, that he must decide in ten seconds what it takes the courts years to render a decision on. Suppose the hears people fighting in a house if he hesitates a second there might be a murder, a soul gone to meet its God. If he breaks the door in, he is “rash,” a “bull-head,” taken before the trial board and discharged. Yes, and maybe; and in the penitentiary on perjured testimony: which is easy to get against a policeman, he is the poorest paid man in the united states for the work he does and the danger he is in, the long hours on duty night time, reserve all day, or vice versa. He is asked thousands of questions a day, such as; What is the best cure for teething babies? How to grow hair on a dog? Where “John-son” lives (and ten thousand Johnsons I  Baltimore)? How to cook Turnips? How many blacks in the Masonic Temple? Where are gold bricks for sale? What train did I come in on? Did you see my son Jim, he came into the yards with the cattle? And hundreds of other questions, all of which he is expected to answer, And though most of our policemen are walking encyclopedias they cannot very well answer the above, and the questioner walks away offended. Citizens think twice, investigate before you condemn the policeman, forgive his little faults. Had he the patience of  Jobe and the wisdom of Solomon he would yet make mistakes; because he is human. Yours truly Sergt.

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Remember the Honor System...
All Told meant the Sergeant varified his men were there,
and you can bet they were as he said

"All Present and or Accounted for!"

Baltimore PD to Use Fingerprint Scanning to Track Officers' Time at Work

The PD plans to require officers to scan their fingerprints at the start and
end of shifts to prove they’ve worked the hours claimed on their pay slips

Feb 1, 2018

BALTIMORE — The Baltimore Police Department plans to require officers to scan their fingerprints at the start and end of shifts in order to prove they’ve worked the hours claimed on their pay slips, officials have confirmed to The Baltimore Sun.

The move comes as the department struggles to control ongoing overtime spending of nearly a million dollars a week and amid the ongoing federal trial of two Gun Trace Task Force officers whose corrupt colleagues have admitted to rampant overtime fraud by the unit.

“Let’s not sugarcoat this: Criminals found a gap in the system and took full advantage of it,” T.J. Smith, a department spokesman, said Wednesday. “That’s not fair to the city, and it’s not fair to the men and women in this agency who do their job honorably every day.”

Smith said the department is in the early phases of implementing the new biometric technology. Officials have purchased some hardware, but do not have an estimate for when officers will begin using it or how much the system will cost.

He said adoption of the biometric system is not about a lack of trust in officers and supervisors, to tell the truth on their time sheets, but “instilling a layer of trust in the community that we are doing something” about the vulnerability of the current paper-based overtime and payroll system to fraud.

“We’re not just going to say, ‘Oh well,’ and everybody crosses their fingers and hopes we do better in the future,” Smith said. “We’re taking steps to make sure we do better.”

According to multiple current and former commanders in the department, the underlying hope is that the technology will not only halt outright corruption but curtail a longstanding culture within the department in which frontline supervisors — lieutenants and sergeants — use unearned overtime and other unapproved paid time off as an “internal currency” for motivating and rewarding proactive policing.

In the Gun Trace Task Force case, officers are accused of, and some have admitted to, outright overtime fraud. Some officers claimed overtime pay while on vacation or while gambling at a local casino.

But prosecutors, defense attorneys, and witnesses called in the case also have discussed officers being given informal days off, called “slash days,” as a reward for good work. Former Detective Maurice Ward, one of six officers who have pleaded guilty in the case, testified that unearned overtime pay was used in the department to motivate officers.

Several commanders who requested anonymity to speak candidly about the department said the actions of the gun unit were criminal and in no way reflected common practices, but the practice of frontline supervisors using “slash days” — or “g days,” when a gun seizure is being rewarded — is more “widespread,” despite not being sanctioned by top leadership.

Supervisors, they said, are desperate for ways to keep officers motivated in a city where morale-crushing crime is rampant. They said the practice goes back years.

“You would hear squads say, ‘Yeah, we got five guns last week, so we got five g days,” one former commander said. “Some districts were well known for it. Some supervisors were well known for it.”

“It’s a well-known, not-talked-about secret,” said another former commander. He said he saw slash days used to motivate officers, to reward them, and to get them to work undesirable details. “I don’t think that the overwhelming majority of supervisors who are doing it think that they are doing anything wrong. They think that they are looking out for guys who are working hard.”

Another commander, who said he supports the introduction of biometric systems, said the culture of the department has allowed some supervisors and officers to begin thinking that they are owed something extra simply for doing their jobs.

“Unless you have a way to track where people are when they say they’re working, particularly overtime, then there is always going to be abuse,” he said.

For years, the police department has far exceeded its overtime budget. Last year, it budgeted $16 million for overtime and spent $44.9 million.

Much of that spending is to cover patrol shortages, the department says. Officials have said the department is hundreds of officers short, and that a scheduling structure in the officers’ contract — four days on, three days off — is forcing it to draft officers to work additional overtime shifts during the week to maintain necessary staffing levels.

Current and former commanders say overtime is a necessary component of every police department’s budget, as police must respond to unforeseen emergencies.

But the fraud revealed in the Gun Trace Task Force case, record levels of violent crime and ballooning overtime expenditures despite a half-a-billion-dollar police budget have forced a new reckoning with the problem within City Hall.

After the Gun Trace Task Force officers were indicted in March, Mayor Catherine Pugh ordered an audit of police overtime, which she said she wanted completed “as soon as possible.”

“We allow police overtime to run up when a lot of other areas of the city, like schools, housing and parks and recreation, could benefit from that money,” she said at the time.

The audit has not been completed.

City Solicitor Andre Davis said Wednesday he could not discuss the status of the audit because it is “an integral part of ongoing litigation” around a police union lawsuit against the city claiming unpaid overtime.

Lt. Gene Ryan, president of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 3, could not be reached for comment.

The current and former commanders who spoke with The Sun said the audit would not be easy, in part because the payroll systems in place to track overtime have been inadequate for so long.

Officers put in for overtime by using paper forms that must be filled out by hand and then entered manually by clerks. The computer system in which overtime is logged lacks clear categories that distinguish the reasons for the work, making it more difficult to track and justify.

Smith said the logistics for the new biometric program have not all been worked out, but the department is not the first “large organization with a lot of moving parts” to introduce such a system and is confident it will improve its payroll process.

“This is not any type of groundbreaking thing that we’re coming up with,” he said. “This is technology that exists.”

©2018 The Baltimore Sun

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The Evening Sun Fri Jul 9 1943 72

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CHANGED FOREVER / Freddie Gray's impact on the BPD

BALTIMORE (WBFF) - City officers have stood trial; the murder rate has soared, with more than 1,000 people killed; and there's the consent decree. All have impacted the way this city is policed. April 12, 2015: the day that forever changed policing in Baltimore. The events surrounding Freddie Gray's death led to major reform within the Baltimore Police Department. New police vans were rolled out, body-worn cameras implemented and leadership changes made. Amid the turmoil, then-mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake requested the Department of Justice to investigate the BPD. By the time it was over, the justice department discovered a pattern of illegal policing, and within months, a federally-supervised reform plan went into place. The consent decree's aim was to change how police patrol the streets of Baltimore. On Friday, the federal monitor will present its first public update to the judge overseeing the consent decree. The monitor will provide details on where reform efforts stand at this point regarding the BPD. 4 April 2018- Baltimore Police Commissioner Darryl De Sousa said Wednesday he is close to signing an agreement with a six-member panel — including two former Baltimore police detectives — to investigate the unsolved death last year of Det. Sean Suiter. De Sousa said he has a memorandum of understanding with the former detectives “sitting on my desk right now” to investigate the fatal shooting of Suiter — one of the few unsolved killings of a police officer in the Baltimore department’s history. “What I can say is it’s going to be two former Baltimore City police detectives,” De Sousa told reporters at City Hall on Wednesday. He said the detectives were “well respected” in the field. “When I share the names you’ll understand what I’m saying.” The police chief said the two former detectives will be joined by “a few other outside police leaders.” 

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“I added up the years of the six members on the panel,” he said. “It was 220 years of law enforcement experience.”

De Sousa said he hoped to finalize the agreement with the investigators “in the next couple of days” and bring in the outside panel next week.

He said he would not provide more information until the agreement was finalized. He did not say who would be named to the panel, how long they would work or how much they would be paid.

“The mandate is for them to take a look at the case, come up with findings and come up with recommendations,” De Sousa said.

Suiter was shot at about 4:30 p.m. Nov. 15 in a vacant lot in the 900 block of Bennett Place in Harlem Park. It was the day before he was to give testimony before a federal grand jury investigating Baltimore’s corrupt Gun Trace Task Force. Police have said Suiter was not a target of that investigation.

His death has been the subject of much debate within the police department. Some believe the detective killed himself. Others say he was killed.

The state medical examiner ruled the death a homicide, not a suicide.

De Sousa and Mayor Catherine E. Pugh outlined their policing strategies during the media briefing Wednesday at City Hall.

After three straight years of more than 300 homicides, the city is beginning to see crime decline.

Homicides have fallen 27 percent to begin 2018. Violent crime has dropped by 20 percent.

Pugh’s budget for the next fiscal year includes funding for 100 new officer positions and more money for the anti-violence Safe Streets program. She also included money to help fund an intervention program for boys and young men called Roca and extra services in seven Violence Reduction Initiative Zones throughout the city.

A timeline of the investigation into the killing of Baltimore homicide Detective Sean SuiterDe Sousa said he’s deploying a mobile command vehicle to parts of the city where violence is most intense.

“We’re definitely trending in the direction we want,” De Sousa said of crime. “We have a lot of work to do.”

The commissioner also described more technologies his officers will soon be using.

Starting in June, De Sousa said, the Baltimore Police Department will begin employing crime analysts in East and West Baltimore, who will use “crime forecasting software” to predict where criminal activity will occur and position patrol officers there. He said a computer algorithm will tell officers how long to monitor a location.

“The crime analysts will direct the officers per shift, telling them where to go,” he said. “The whole concept behind the crime forecasting software is to tell us where to go before the crime occurs.”

The predictive policing strategy was created by Sean Malinowski, a deputy chief in Los Angeles, who has built a national reputation as a math-saavy police commander. Part statistician, part crime fighter, he has spent the past year helping Chicago police open high-tech “nerve centers” in violent neighborhoods.

Computers in those centers predict retaliatory shootings and transmit reports of gunfire to patrol officers. Those reports hit officers’ cellphones an average of three minutes before the first 911 call, Chicago police say.

Predictive policing has won over police chiefs around the country but also stirred debate among civil libertarians.

De Sousa said he hopes to allay any community concerns over predictive policing by sharing the algorithms the analysts will be using with the community.

“We’re going to be completely transparent about what those algorithms are,” he said.

Pugh said she heard about predictive policing while researching which police departments in other cities were being successful.

“The reduction in violence in Chicago has been attributed to these types of centers,” she said.

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A Maryland House committee heard testimony Friday on a bill that would allow civilians to become voting members on police trial boards.

The city Fraternal Order of Police didn't object to having one civilian voting member, 11 News has learned. The offer came during contract talks, but was rejected by the City Hall negotiating team under then-Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.

Officers who face a discipline hearing are currently judged by fellow officers. Legislation allowing two members of the public to help decide the outcome of the proceedings is once again on life support.

"It's late, to be honest with you. The bill got held up in that committee. They didn't have an early hearing. It was introduced late, so the chances are less than perfect to get the bill through," said the bill's sponsor, Delegate Curt Anderson, D-Baltimore City.

According to the proposal, police receiving probation before judgment verdicts are not entitled to a hearing board. The legislation does not supersede bargaining agreements. The board must consist of an odd number of voting members. Two civilians will be allowed to vote, but they must be trained by the Maryland Training and Standards Commission and on procedures of the Law Enforcement Officers' Bill of Rights. Board members cannot be part in the investigation or interrogation of the law enforcement officer.

"We are willing to make concessions, but it should be done at the table. It shouldn't be done down here in Annapolis," FOP Lodge 3 President Gene Ryan said.

The city police union also opposes giving the police commissioner the final authority to decide the outcome of the trial board.

"That may not stay in the bill. Certainly, our commissioner would want that," Anderson said.

It's unlikely the bill will get out of committee. The House chairman opposes changing the Law Enforcement Officers' Bill of Rights. His counterpart in the Senate is against using legislation to circumvent union negotiations.

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After being shot, Baltimore police officer spends four years recovering in hope of returning to duty

In a large room filled with workout equipment at MedStar Union Memorial Hospital’s Curtis Hand Center, Keith Mcneill gripped a small clip between his thumb and index finger and placed it on a metal bar. It was a simple task — and just over four years in the making.

Mcneill was sitting in his Toyota Tundra outside a friend’s auto body shop in East Baltimore on March 14, 2014, when a masked man approached and began banging on a door.

Mcneill identified himself as a Baltimore police officer. The man pulled out a .45-caliber handgun and opened fire. Bullets punched holes in Mcneill’s left arm, his chest, his abdomen.

He remembers a bumpy ambulance ride. He doesn’t remember the pain. But he avoided looking at his left arm, for fear he’d go into shock.

Hundreds of people are shot to death in Baltimore each year. Hundreds more are wounded but survive. Few remain in rehabilitation as long as Mcneill.

The lifelong Baltimorean had served 19 years on the force when he was shot. He had risen to sergeant, supervising seven officers in the city’s Eastern District. Now he’s on medical leave, earning a salary but focusing on his recovery.

On each of the more than 1,400 days since the shooting, through multiple operations and endless physical therapy, a precipitous weight loss and months in a wheelchair, Mcneill has drawn motivation from a single goal: To return to duty.

Police work, his wife says, is a calling.

Mastering the hand exercises at Union Memorial is the last step of his medical odyssey — and perhaps the most important since trauma surgeons saved his life.

Four or five of the eight bullets fired at Mcneill tore through his left arm, wrecking the system of bone, tendon, muscle, blood vessels and nerves that make his hand work. Restoring its function is critical for his return to work.

“Sometimes it hurts a little and I’m sore after workouts,” Mcneill, 43, said during a recent rehab session. “I have faith I will regain full use of my hand. I’m very patient.”

At the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center, a top-tier facility that sees the most grievous wounds Baltimoreans can inflict on each other, Mcneill recognized the elevator and hallways. He had escorted other victims there.

Now he was the patient. All injured police officers are taken to Shock Trauma.

His heart raced. Then it stopped.

More than 65 police officers have been killed in Baltimore in the last two centuries, almost two thirds by gunfire. Doctors say Mcneill lost so much blood he nearly joined them.

Another officer collected Mcneill’s wife, Danielle, and their son, then a junior in high school, and took them to the hospital. She didn’t reveal the severity of Mcneill’s injuries.

Separate surgical teams attended to Mcneill’s abdomen, chest and arm.

“Damage control,” said Dr. Thomas Scalea, the center’s physician-in-chief.

The doctors performed a procedure new at the time: inserting balloons through the femoral artery in the leg to the aorta to stop bleeding so they could make surgical fixes. It likely saved his life.

Mcneill was in surgery when Danielle arrived so she set up in the fifth-floor waiting room.

Scalea emerged after hours of surgery. Mcneill was unconscious.

“I did all I can,” he told Danielle. “Now it’s up to God and Keith.”

There would be more procedures to come — Scalea can’t say how many. For the first several days, he didn’t bother closing the wound in Mcneill’s belly because he would just have to open it again to clear debris, make more repairs and tackle infection.

Mcneill remained unconscious. Danielle, who had been his high school sweetheart, lefther job as a secretary at a Catholic school — and most food and sleep — for life on the fifth floor. As Mcneill was returned to the operating room each morning, she would say a prayer.

Mcneill woke after three weeks. He and his wife cried with relief. He would spend the next year in and out of the hospital, for patches, repairs and complications, and two more returning for other treatments.

“When we do this, a year and a half isn’t a long time,” Scalea said. “Three years is a long time.”

I did all I can. Now it's up to God and Keith.—        Dr. Thomas Scalea, physician-in-chief at University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center

The family imagined each treatment or operation as a step forward. Mcneill, a reserved man speaking publicly for the first time, acknowledged frustration and fear only rarely — such as the moment when doctors couldn’t find a pulse in his arm, calling the limb’s viability into question.

Every nerve in his arm had been injured or severed, says Dr. Ray Pensy, an orthopedic surgeon at Shock Trauma and the University of Maryland Center for Hand and Upper Extremity Care. He performed his first operation on Mcneil the day after the shooting, and continues to assess whether additional tweaks might offer incremental improvements.

Pensy knew a working hand was vital. When Mcneill woke, he immediately wanted to see his arm. Nurses, fearing the sight would cause his volatile blood pressure to spike, had hoisted the limb up and behind his head to hide the scaffolding holding it together.

During eight or so surgeries, Pensy installed metal rods from Mcneill’s shoulder to his wrist and moved tendons and nerves from healthy fingers to damaged ones.

In between procedures, Mcneill was relearning how to walk and talk. Though he watched hours of the Food Network to pass time, he relied on a feeding tube for nutrition. He dropped from 235 pounds to 170 pounds.

His wife, initially queasy about bodily fluids, learned to change bandages, colostomy bags and the feeding apparatus.

Mcneill used a wheelchair during his stay the University of Maryland Rehabilitation & Orthopaedic Institute and later at the hand center.

He also wheeled himself to court, to testify against his shooter. Police said Gregg Thomas had a grievance when he showed up at the auto body shop, but was targeting the wrong place. After three mistrials, he was convicted in 2017 of attempted murder and gun charges, and was sentenced to life in prison plus 35 years.

The rehab continues. For two years, Mcneill has been visiting the hand center to grasp fat wooden dowels, lift weights, pinch clips. Danielle helps ferry equipment.

“It’s a miracle to see him here doing anything,” she said. “I couldn’t even recognize him after it first happened. His face was bloated and he was hooked up to machines.”

Mcneill has found joy in tending to his beloved yard again and using power tools to build a wood trash bin receptacle. A steak lover who settled for mashed potatoes as his first meal after the shooting, he revels now in eating meat.

The strides he has made have left an impression on medical staff. Lauren Davis, his hand therapist, said she rarely sees a patient for so long — and so willing to keep pinching clips.

That wasn’t even possible when Mcneill first started hand therapy. He had little range of motion or strength.

She began by using her hands to stretch his fingers. She made custom braces for support and later she added bands to stretch the digits. She used paraffin wax to warm his joints and soften scar tissue.

Mcneill has moved onto arm bikes and other gym equipment to build strength.

His progress is evident. When he started at the hand center, he worked on picking up small pieces of cut up sponge. Now he can affix the most resistant clip to the thickest bar.

Doctors are considering transferring another tendon from a healthier finger to a scar-covered one to improve mobility this summer. Moving one of the two tendons that bend the middle finger of his injured hand to the index finger won’t harm the former, Davis said, but could require retraining the latter.

Pensy said the recovery after reattaching an amputated hand is less complicated. But Mcneill continues to press for the next thing.

“If you give a mouse a cookie, he’ll want milk, and then a napkin,” Pensy said. “When you’re doing well, you want to keep going. Keith is highly motivated to keep going, and if we can provide more function to achieve his goals then we will proceed.”

Mcneill’s goal remains returning to duty.

The department he would rejoin is much changed.

Freddie Gray died in police custody, the city erupted in riots and violence surged — a three-year spike in killing that has begun to abate only this year.

Investigators with the U.S. Justice Department found the department routinely violated the constitutional rights of citizens, particularly the poor and minorities, and the city entered a court-enforced consent decree that requires reforms.

Eight members of the elite Gun Trace Task Force were convicted of federal racketeering charges for shaking down citizens, stealing cash and drugs and claiming unearned overtime.

Anthony Batts, the police commissioner when Mcneill was shot, was fired, as was his successor, Kevin Davis.

Mcneill says police still have a positive impact on his community. Darryl De DeSousa, the new police commissioner, said Mcneill is what the city needs.

“Sergeant Mcneill is a courageous officer who possesses the character and attitude that the community wants in a police officer,” De Sousa said. “He puts the community first. After going through the unthinkable, all he wants to do is return to doing the job he loves. Just like on that fateful night he was shot, Sgt. Mcneill continues to fight. We will continue to support him and we hope that he can soon return as a full-duty Baltimore police officer.”

Back at the hand center, Lauren Davis massaged warm wax on Mcneill’s tired hand.

“It will happen,” Mcneill said.

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2 Feb 2018

Baltimore Police Recruits Set to Graduate
w/Poor Understanding of Law,
Says Academy’s Legal Instructor

A third of Baltimore Police academy recruits set to graduate and become cops lack a basic understanding of the laws governing constitutional policing and are being pushed through by the department nonetheless, according to the academy’s head of legal instruction.

“We’re giving them a badge and a gun tomorrow, the right to take someone’s liberty, ultimately the right to take someone’s life if it calls for it, and they have not demonstrated they can meet [basic] constitutional and legal standards,” said Sgt. Josh Rosenblatt Friday.

After a gun and badge ceremony at the academy Saturday, the recruits will receive eight weeks of training on the street before formally becoming Baltimore police officers, department officials noted.

But Rosenblatt, an attorney by training, said in an interview with The Baltimore Sun that 17 of those 50 recruits failed to pass scenario-based practical tests on legal standards related to basic police work, such as the need for probable cause before making arrests.

He said all did pass eventually, but only after he and other legal instructors were removed from administering the tests.

Some of the recruits, he said, have not been able to master the basic material. Four have been in the academy for 18 months, having been recycled back from previous classes to continue their training, and still haven’t grasped the legal concepts, he said.

“With 18 months of training, they’re still failing to meet very basic legal standards,” he said. “Don’t illegally arrest people. Don’t illegally search people. These are not high standards.”

Acting Police Commissioner Darryl De Sousa said Friday night that he is looking into Rosenblatt’s concerns and reviewing the curriculum at the academy.

“Under my watch, there isn’t going to be a single police officer who does not satisfactorily pass any Maryland police training requirements,” De Sousa pledged. “They won’t be allowed to go on the streets. It’s plain and simple.”

A spokesman for Mayor Catherine Pugh said she is confident De Sousa is addressing the concerns. The Baltimore State’s Attorney’s office referred all questions to police.

Rosenblatt said he decided to speak to The Sun because academy leaders have ignored concerns raised by him and others.

After some recruits repeatedly failed legal tests, Rosenblatt said, academy officials returned to an old, less rigorous multiple-choice test.

Academy leaders also decided the tests would be administered by other police officers at the academy, rather than by Rosenblatt and other legally-trained instructors, Rosenblatt said.

“When I said that police officers are not more qualified to test the law than lawyers are, I was forcefully told that I was wrong,” Rosenblatt said.

When the multiple choice test was administered, every recruit passed, he said.

De Sousa defended the testing, saying it met state standards. But he said he would be reviewing how the current recruit class was tested and would make “any modifications” that are needed.

“I’ll take a look at that, and we’re doing it really rapidly,” he said.

Rosenblatt said his more rigorous testing model was not new — he introduced it after becoming an academy instructor two or three years ago — and has not been a problem before.

Pugh and police officials have said that the department is hundreds of officers short, and is doing everything it can to fill those positions.

Pugh has said the department should have 3,000 officers and called the fact that it has fewer than 2,000 on active duty working on the streets “really devastating.”

She has also said that her administration has made huge strides in recruitment — including by shortening the amount of time it takes to get new police officers on the job.

In September, then-Commissioner Kevin Davis — who Pugh fired last month — said that recruitment was outpacing attrition for the first time in years.

“There’s rumors out there and urban legends out there about no one wants to come to Baltimore, no one wants to be a Baltimore cop,” Davis said. “That’s all really a bunch of B.S.”

At a Neighborhoods Symposium Dec. 5, Pugh said she had used her Bloomberg Innovation Team, funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies, to brainstorm and come up with solutions to the shortage after two years of frozen police hiring and attrition rates of 20 to 25 officers a month had left the force depleted.

“I was in a position that I had to step up hiring police officers for our city,” she said. And she claimed her administration had been able to cut the time it takes to “become a police officer” dramatically.

The department has promised to improve training on constitutional policing as part of its consent decree with the U.S. Department of Justice.

The decree, which mandates sweeping reforms to the police department, was the result of a U.S. Department of Justice investigation that concluded the police department had engaged in widespread unconstitutional and discriminatory policing for years, particularly in poor, predominantly black neighborhoods.

The federal agency said illegitimate police stops, searches and seizures were a major problem for the department, as was a lack of adequate training for officers. 

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Baltimore Police Officers found Guilty in Gun Trace Task Force Corruption Case

Justin Fenton The Baltimore Sun

A federal jury has convicted two Baltimore Police detectives for their roles in one of the biggest police corruption scandals in recent memory.

Detectives Daniel T. Hersl, 48, and Marcus R. Taylor, 31, were found guilty of racketeering conspiracy and racketeering. Federal prosecutors said they and other members of the Gun Trace Task Force had acted as “both cops and robbers,” using the power of their badges to steal large sums of money from residents under the guise of police work.

The convicted officers join six of their former colleagues who previously pleaded guilty in the case, four of whom took the stand at the trial and testified for the government.

Three other men, including a bail bondsman who was supplied drugs by the unit’s supervisor Sgt. Wayne Jenkins, have also pleaded guilty.

 

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1/3 Baltimore Recruits Fail Final Academy Tests, So They Get Rid Of It

The Baltimore Police Training Academy's head of legal instruction said many recruits haven't met basic standards.

Baltimore, MD – The Baltimore Police Training Academy’s head of legal instruction said that a third of the recruits who will graduate from the academy on Saturday have not demonstrated sufficient understanding of practical legal standards.

“We’re giving them a badge and a gun tomorrow, the right to take someone’s liberty, ultimately the right to take someone’s life if it calls for it, and they have not demonstrated they can meet [basic] constitutional and legal standards,” Sergeant Josh Rosenblatt told The Baltimore Sunon Friday. “Don’t illegally arrest people. Don’t illegally search people. These are not high standards.”

Sgt. Rosenblatt, who is also an attorney, said that he turned to the media after academy leaders refused to address the concerns raised by him and others.

He explained that 17 of the 50 recruits who are being pushed through to graduation by the department were unable to pass basic scenario-based practical tests on legal standards, such as the need to establish probable cause before affecting an arrest.

Four of the recruits were attending the academy for the second time, but were still unable to understand and apply many basic legal concepts after spending 18 months in training, he said.

The testing model wasn’t the problem, Sgt. Rosenblatt explained. He said that he personally implemented the measure two or three years ago, and that there were no problems with prior classes.

But after some recruits failed the legal tests repeatedly, academy administrators reverted to an old, less difficult multiple-choice test, and decided to have the tests administrated by police officers, instead of trainers like Sgt. Rosenblatt.

Every recruit passed the antiquated, less-rigorous test, he said.

“When I said that police officers are not more qualified to test on the law than lawyers are, I was forcefully told that I was wrong,” Sgt. Rosenblatt said.

Acting Police Commissioner Darryl De Sousa told The Baltimore Sun that he will be examining the academy’s curriculum, as well as the concerns raised by Sgt. Rosenblatt.

“Under my watch, there isn’t going to be a single police officer who does not satisfactorily pass any Maryland police training requirements,” Commissioner De Sousa vowed. “They won’t be allowed to go on the streets. It’s plain and simple.”

He also defended the use of the multiple-choice test, and said that it met state standards. Commissioner De Sousa did say that he planned to review how testing was conducted on the current class of recruits, however.

“I’ll take a look and that, and we’re doing it really rapidly,” he told The Baltimore Sun.

In the recent past, Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh acknowledged that the city was struggling to fill hundreds of police positions. She said that under her administration, officers were being trained and put to work more quickly.

“I was in a position that I had to step up hiring police officers for our city,” Pugh said, adding that her administration had been able dramatically reduce the time needed to “become a police officer.”

The academy’s training concerns came at a particularly instrumental time for the department, which had promised to improve constitutional policing as part of a consent decree following a U.S. Department of Justice investigation.

That investigation determined that officers had made illegitimate stops, searches and seizures, and that a lack of adequate police training was a major concern.

Following Saturday’s graduation, the new recruits will complete eight weeks of training in the field before they officially become Baltimore Police Department officers, the department said.

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Grave Concerns: Will Detective Suiter’s death bring Commissioner Davis down?

COMMISSIONER DAVIS TJ SMITH BY BAYNARD WOODS NOV2272Click here or the picture above

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Often the media will release a story without enough facts to tell a complete story, and insinuations of foul play are started. Had they released their tapes with all the facts might t have changed the opinions of those that now might not be willing to admit they may have jumped the gun. personally I like to come up with conclusion based on all the facts, not be force fed someone else opinion using only partial facts. In this case for instance - Internal doc details meeting w/ Asst State's Atty in April says ASA "...satisfied with how the events took place." The time stamped administrative report shows why the laps in time was there, the time stamp show it wasn't something they came up with at a later date. Please take a minute to read what was written and make your mind up while you have more facts. I should also point out, we don't work on a quota system, policeTroy Chesley Sr. don't make more if they arrest more. In this case, it would appear as if the initial stop team couldn't find it, which is not unusual, we often have guys do multiple searches, even on a grid search in a wide open field, we might go over it two or tree times with "fresh eyes" to have a better chance of finding what we are looking for, in a dark car, at night with plenty of small places to hid tiny packages, it don't take long to lose something. But I won't take sides, all I can do is present the information I have been given Son of officer slain in 2007 fatally shot Friday night 

The son of a Baltimore police officer killed in 2007 was fatally shot in the head Friday night behind a Northwest Baltimore apartment complex, the third killing in the area in a day. The shooting was reported just before 11 p.m. in an alley behind the 3900 block of Wabash Ave.

Officers found Trayvon Chesley, 22, of the 3200 block of Dorithan Road, at the scene. Chesley is the son of detective Troy Lamont Chesley Sr., a Baltimore police officer killed off duty in a shooting in 2007, said Maj. Steven Ward. Police said Trayvon Chesley suffered from gunshot wounds to the head and body. He was pronounced dead on the scene by paramedics. The scene is about two blocks from the home of Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh.

At the scene, paramedics could be seen standing over the victim's body, then placing a white sheet on top. A woman standing outside the crime scene tape surrounded by family yelled, "Don't put that on my grandson!" between sobs. A young woman approached the scene, asked if the victim was someone she knew, then ran away screaming. From around a nearby corner she could be heard wailing as detectives inspected the scene. Earlier Friday, a 50-year-old man was fatally shot while riding a bicycle about 1.5 miles away at the intersection of Wolcott and Norfolk avenues. That fatal shooting came after a 16-year-old boy was shot and killed just around the corner Thursday night. Anyone with information was asked to call detectives at 410-396-2100.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

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The bill to place the Baltimore City Police Department under the control of the city, versus the state, will not move forward. 

Councilman Brandon Scott, chair of the city council's public safety committee, said he's very disappointed in the decision.

"I'm extremely disappointed that HB-1504 will not be moving forward," he said in a statement. "Today's event represents a lost opportunity for all Baltimoreans. Baltimore's citizens deserve the same level of local control afforded to residents of all other Maryland jurisdiction."

Monday, members of the Baltimore City Council passed a resolution in support for House Bill 1504, which would make Baltimore police a city agency. 

RELATED: Baltimore City Council votes to control police department

Del. Curt Anderson, chai rof the Baltimore City delegation, introduced the bill in Annapolis. 

As written, it would give the mayor and city council "full power and authority" over city police.

An opinion written by the Office of the Maryland Attorney General and requested by Anderson throws that into jeopardy.
The office's counsel to the general assembly, Sandra Brantley, writes, if passed, the bill could leave the city "exposed to significantly higher" lawsuit damages, a concern as millions have already been paid from city coffers to people alleging police brutality.
Those settlements have come even as the department benefits from "sovereign immunity" given to state agencies.
"Basically what they're saying is that the city police department gets sued so frequently that the city can't afford to be a local agency and its going to increase liability. That tells you the structure is broken," said Scott in an interview Friday. 
Friday's decision not to move forward with the bill comes just two days after seven Baltimore police officers were indicted in a racketeering conspiracy. 

See also: 7 Baltimore Police officers indicted in racketeering conspiracy

The Baltimore Police Department has been controlled by the state since the Civil War.

Anderson was unable to be reached Friday evening.

A spokesperson for Mayor Catherine Pugh said she had no comment on the developments.

Watch Returns -- March 6th. - 8 March, 1838

The Sun (1837-1987); Mar 8, 1838;

pg. 2

Watch Return - March 6th.

For the past week or two, the rowdies, loafers, and thieves, have kept themselves quiet, and the watch-houses have been graced with the attendance of but few prisoners besides the usual compliment of vagrants who nightly take up their lodgings on the soft side of a plank floor. The following are the amount of cases for the last four days.

The Middle District is certainly preferred by the women as the scene of their orgies, for they have the exclusive honor of being the only inmates of the lock-up room there for four nights past. Elizabeth Mosier was accused of transferring $2 from the pockets of one Sergeant Hill, to her own, but the Sergeant gallantly refused to appear against her, and she was accordingly discharged. Mary Price was found drunk in the street, and locked up until she became sober. Nancy Thomas amused the guardians of the night with a specimen of her talent in *scolding, for which she was locked up, and in the morning committed.

In the Eastern District a card party of blacks was broken up, and the sable gamesters committed to prison, Ann Stansbury, a black woman, was also committed to answer the charge of stealing a quantity of clothing.

In the Western District George W. Stuard and James Disney were arrested, the former for abusing wife, and the latter for assisting him in his brutality. They were both committed. William Hannah was also found amusing himself in the same way, and was bound over to answer for it at the court. * Scolding - an angry rebuke or reprimand. -Origin1150-1200; (noun) Middle English, variant of scald < Old Norse skald poet (as author of insulting poems); also see skald; (v.) Middle English scolden, derivative of the noun 

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Uniform - Hats

Baltimore Police Don New Chapeau
The Sun (1837-1990) - Baltimore, Md.
8 Oct 1944 Pg 10   Pages 1

Baltimore Police Don New Chapeau

It may not have been designed by Schiaparelli, but Patrolman Paul E. Harman of the Central District Police Station, likes his new chapeau (hat).

The dark blue octagonal cap which Patrolman Harman and all district men on the Baltimore police force donned at 4 P. M. yesterday (Saturday 7 Oct 1944) replaces the oval-topped cap which has been the style here for more than 30 years.

“All the men like'em.” Patrolman Harman, a native Baltimorean who lives at 3212 Matson St, said. They’re neater, lighter and they won’t blow off as easily as the old ones.” "Besides, my wife likes mine. She says it’s more becoming, and, brother, that’s good enough for me. That woman ought to know about hats. She buys enough. “

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Defense says prosecutor steered police away from evidence Freddie Gray had history of 'crash for cash' schemes

Officers' attorneys say Freddie Gray had history of 'crash for cash' schemes.

The police detectives who investigated the death of Freddie Gray were told that he had a history of participating in "crash-for-cash" schemes — injuring himself in law enforcement settings to collect settlements — but were advised by a state prosecutor not to pursue the information, according to defense attorneys for the six officers charged in Gray's arrest and death.

The defense attorneys said in a court motion Thursday that Assistant State's Attorney Janice Bledsoe told police investigators working the case in its early stages not to "do the defense attorneys' jobs for them" by pursuing information they had about such schemes and evidence that Gray "intentionally injured himself at the Baltimore City Detention Center."

Bledsoe, the lead prosecutor in the case against the officers, represented Gray in a 2012 case in which he pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine.

The defense attorneys argued that her alleged statement "would seem to indicate some level of knowledge that exculpatory evidence exists which could benefit the officers charged in Mr. Gray's death and that the prosecutor did not want this information uncovered by investigators."

The defense attorneys said they obtained the information from interviews with prosecution witnesses.

They have argued in previous motions that Baltimore State's Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby has failed to provide large amounts of evidence through the normal discovery process, and that they have spent hundreds of hours collecting evidence on their own.

Defense attorneys have sought to have Mosby and others removed from the case.

Mosby's office did not respond to a request for comment. Prosecutors say they have disclosed all the evidence to which the defense is entitled.

Defense attorneys for the six officers declined to comment Thursday or could not be reached.

Police did not respond to a request for comment on the allegations about conversations between its investigators and prosecutors. A corrections department spokesman said he couldn't confirm whether Gray had been injured at the jail without more information, such as the date of the alleged incident, which defense attorneys did not provide in their motion.

Gray, 25, died after sustaining a severe spinal cord injury in the back of a police transport van. His death in April sparked widespread protests against police brutality. On the day of his funeral, rioters clashed with police, looted businesses and burned buildings.

Questions about his injury remain. Some say he could have injured himself. Others say police might have subjected him to a "rough ride" in the back of the van. Neither theory has been proved.

Officer Caesar R. Goodson Jr., the driver of the van, is charged with second-degree depraved-heart murder. Sgt. Alicia D. White, Lt. Brian W. Rice and Officer William G. Porter are charged with manslaughter. Officers Edward M. Nero and Garrett E. Miller, who were involved in Gray's initial arrest, face lesser charges, including second-degree assault.

All have pleaded not guilty. A trial is scheduled to begin in October.

The defense motion Thursday included more allegations to support the defense argument that prosecutors had improper communications with the medical examiner before her determination that Gray's death was the result of a homicide.

The defense said Dr. Carole Allen told the defense that she was given statements by the police officers, but not by anyone else, such as Donta Allen, who was arrested the same day as Gray and was in the back of the van, in a separate compartment, at the alleged time of Gray's injury.

Defense attorneys said the medical examiner was given "an oral summary of [Donta Allen's] statement by [prosecutors] and their opinion as to Mr. Allen's motives in providing a statement."

"As part of the autopsy findings, the [Office of the Chief Medical Examiner] gave no weight to the statement of Donta Allen that Freddie Gray had been 'banging himself, like he was banging his head against the metal … like he was trying to knock himself out or something.'"

After Mosby announced charges against the officers, Allen rejected media reports that suggested he had heard Gray trying to injury himself.

Allen said he heard "very little banging for like four seconds," and nothing else.

"I know that man for a fact did not hurt himself," Allen said at the time.

A spokesman for the medical examiner's office could not be reached for comment.

Defense attorneys repeated their argument that members of Mosby's office have made themselves witnesses in the case by acting outside their prosecutorial role as investigators.

Mosby's office has said there is little precedent for removing prosecutors on the grounds raised by the defense.

The defense said that's true — but "not surprising since the actions of the [state's attorney's office] and its attorneys in the Freddie Gray case are unprecedented."

"Rarely," they wrote, "do prosecutors inject themselves so deeply into the fabric of an investigation — as State's Attorney Mosby and her prosecutors have done — to make themselves material witnesses in a case in which they are supposed to act as lawyers."

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twitter.com/rectorsun

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun 
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Dog Shoots Officer

Dog Triggers Officer's injury
The Sun (1837-1989); Feb 10, 1974; pg. A18

Dog Triggers Officer’s in injury

A Southern District Police Officer, Austin L. Harres, was accidentally shot in the right foot with a householder’s high powered pistol last night while checking a report on a suspected break-in in Cherry Hill.

According to police, a dog caused the blast from a .357 magnum pistol that pierced Officer Harres's foot; near the toes. He was in satisfactory condition in Mercy Hospital last night.

The officer and Russell Brown, of the 600 block Cherrycrest road, were combing the vicinity at about 9.30 P.M. Mr. Brown, the complainant, was carrying the pistol when his dog jumped on him, triggering the gun, police said.

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A Letter to Baltimore's interim Police Commissioner from Bealefeld and Bernstein

Dear Commissioner Davis:

Beginning in 2008, the number of homicides and shootings in Baltimore began to steadily decline, culminating with a homicide rate below 200 in 2011, which had not occurred since 1977 (nor been repeated since). The strategies we employed to achieve these remarkable results have been adopted in cities across the country. They are not complicated or novel; indeed, it is public safety 101. A few are discussed below, which you might consider as you take on the important and difficult role of police commissioner:

Target the most violent offenders. In the last few years, this has become just a catch-phrase, while the nuts and bolts to effectively target and prosecute those individuals who are committing most of the violent crime in the city have been abandoned. "Bad Guys with Guns" was a multi-layered approach to first stem the wave of violence and then hold the perpetrators accountable. We accomplished this by getting the right people in the room (patrol officers, detectives, energetic and smart prosecutors, parole and probation officers, federal agents) to identify who the trouble-makers were in communities long plagued by violence and then go after them relentlessly. We showed how making fewer arrests could actually lower violent crime rates if you focused on the few who were the drivers of the violence.

We did not do it alone. Federal prosecutors stepped forward and became a critical component in the crime fight. State prosecutors began using more comprehensive prosecution strategies to build cases against networks of violent offenders, resulting in more convictions and substantially increased sentences. Parole and Probation and the Department of Juvenile Services were crucial in helping to locate potential shooters and their intended victims to get them out of harm's way. We required convicted gun offenders to register, and then dedicated and committed police officers visited them at home to monitor their activities and prevent violence before it happened. And Comstat, Gunstat and Policestat provided the data to tell us what was — and was not — working, holding us accountable.

Engage the Community. In order to interact with the community, cops need to get out of their cars, which is a challenge with a 21st century work force that is wedded to technology but often lacks the personal skills and confidence necessary in police service work. Work stations in patrol cars are great tools, but smart phones clipped to their duty belts facilitate officers' leaving their cars and working face to face with the people they serve. And you will need to invest in training to give your officers the confidence they need to get out of their comfort zones and engage with the people in the community. Many of your officers are more fearful than you might imagine, and that fear manifests itself in aggression and inaction. Remember that policing isn't something the community wants done to them, or for them, rather they want policing done with them.

You will have to make a significant personal investment in time and energy in getting to know the people of Baltimore. Accept the fact that you are not from here and get busy learning the history of neighborhoods and the people who live there. They will be eager to embrace you but will quickly perceive if you aren't authentic.

Give people the opportunity to share their ideas and criticisms, but manage expectations. Monthly police district/community council meetings are a treasure and a great opportunity for you to get your message out to the people on the front lines. But you must be consistent in your message and admit when you or the department has made a mistake and how you are going to fix it. Simply telling people the place is broken won't win you any points. Baltimoreans want to see results, and like their cops, they don't appreciate being told that they are second rate.

Build strong partnerships. Internally, you must shore up the support of the command staff and the rank and file. You are an outsider, and more than a few of your commanders want the top job. This will cause considerable distraction when you can least afford it. Tell everyone what your goals are to ensure that all of them are contributing to getting it done.

You also need to meet quickly with all your outside partners in law enforcement. They have a wealth of experience and ideas. Be specific about what you need and what they can provide.

There are a host of influential organizations representing the business and philanthropic communities whose support you should enlist as soon as possible. You will need money to fund the improvements you need. While your budget is substantial, more than 80 percent covers salaries and benefits, which does not leave you much flexibility.

Other city and state agencies must partner with you if you are to have any chance at all. You will need to get alleys cleaned, vacant buildings boarded and public pools made accessible as places of refuge for the children on the hot summer days ahead, among other initiatives.

Parole and probation, the state's attorney's office and the feds can all be major allies if you work with them collaboratively. This is not about simply standing together in front of the TV cameras. It is about getting in a room with everyone and rolling up your sleeves in order to implement these and other strategies. And no finger-pointing. We screwed up plenty, but we didn't blame others when things did not go well.

Many are anxious for you to succeed. Many will offer their help, and you will need to know how much or how little to take. You will need dedicated partners who are true allies willing to forgo agendas, ego, and most importantly, politics. The good news is that many of these people are still around, ready and willing to reengage a strategy that was proven and, frankly, just getting started. What all of us knew was that while 2011 was historic, it was just the beginning of what could have been a major movement toward restoring confidence and cooperation between the community and the people sworn to serve it.

Of course, the police department's role in fighting crime is just one piece in a very large puzzle to make Baltimore a great city. The problems we face are much deeper than just locking up bad guys. Simply focusing on yesterday's shooting, while necessary, is short-sighted. True leadership requires an understanding that only a collaborative, thoughtful approach that works to create an educational system for our children to prepare them for life; establishes services and programs that provide assistance to families so they can live healthy, nutritional lives in affordable housing in sustainable neighborhoods; and provides an economic plan that creates jobs not only for the highly educated and entitled, is the only way to root out violent crime. Creating a safe environment for all these things to occur is the first important step.

Frederick H. Bealefeld III was commissioner of the Baltimore Police Department from 2007 until his retirement in 2012; his email is This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Gregg Bernstein was Baltimore's state's attorney from 2010 to 2014 and is a partner at Zuckerman Spaeder LLP; his email is This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
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Baltimore Police Officer Stabbed while Responding to Domestic Incident

A Baltimore police officer was stabbed multiple times as he was responding to a domestic incident at home in the Mid-Town Belvedere neighborhood early Saturday morning, the department said.

The uniformed patrol officer from the Central District was dispatched at 2:16 a.m. a to a home in the unit block of W. Biddle Street for a domestic incident. While investigating the incident, police said the officer was stabbed several times by a man.

Police said the officer was taken to an area hospital and his condition is "serious and stable."

The suspect was taken into custody at the scene. Police did not identify the suspect Saturday morning.

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Baltimore Police Top Spokesman to Depart

Capt. Eric Kowalczyk

Baltimore Police spokesman to depart agency after 13 years, including past two shaping message
 
 

Kowalczyk, 37, was a sworn officer in a position typically held by civilian communications professionals. He said he worked to improve the agency's outreach efforts across media platforms, particularly to highlight the existing community work officers were doing.

"The work we've been doing over the past two years was to try to find ways to humanize our officers," he said. "It was to find stories that connected with the outreach efforts we were doing." The agency now counts 130,000 Twitter followers, one of the most of any police department in the country, but was also criticized in some corners for a public relations approach that could be too heavy-handed.

He also marshaled the agency's outreach efforts as frustration with the department boiled over into unrest and rioting following the death of Freddie Gray in police custody. Kowalczyk said that frustration had accumulated over the years.

"One of the things we've said routinely is that the solution won't come overnight," he said. "It will take a lot of energy put into really engaging and showing the community that there's a sincere desire to be equal partners."

In its review of the riot response, the police union singled out the media relations office for disseminating a "gang threat" against police officers that was later deemed not credible. Kowalczyk said that the agency spread the warning under exigent circumstances and would do so again out of caution, which the union said lacked introspection over the way it undermined public trust.

Kowalczyk was a trailblazer of sorts as one of the agency's most prominent openly gay members. Earlier in his career, he served as an LGBT liaison for the agency to the public, and helped put together an LGBT advisory council for then-Police Commissioner Anthony W. Batts.

Recently, the department started putting together materials for Pride Week and sought gay officers who would be willing to tell their story. A few years ago, few were willing to be part of such efforts, he said.

"One by one, we started to see officers and sergeants popping up – more than I had an idea were even in the department," Kowalczyk said. He paused, holding back emotions: "It was very moving to see how far we've come."

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Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun


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Baltimore police chief Anthony Batts fired

Michael Winter, USA TODAY 8:38 p.m. EDT July 8, 2015

The Baltimore mayor fired the troubled city's police commissioner Anthony Batts, saying that a recent spike in homicides weeks after an unarmed black man died of injuries in police custody required a change in leadership. Wochit

(Photo: Andrew Burton, Getty Images)

Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake announced Wednesday that she has replaced Police Commissioner Anthony W. Batts.

Deputy Police Commissioner Kevin Davis, a veteran Maryland law enforcement official, was named the interim commissioner.

A Los Angeles native, Batts headed the department since the fall of 2012 after serving as chief in Long Beach and Oakland.

In a brief statement Tuesday evening, Batts said, "I've been honored to serve the citizens and residents of Baltimore. I've been proud to be a police officer for this city," the Baltimore Sun reported.

Rawlings-Blake said her motivation for replacing Batts was a spike in murders during the past month and not a police union report criticizing her and Batts for the April riots after Freddie Gray was fatally injured while in police custody. Six officers have been indicted, including one for murder.

"We cannot grow Baltimore without making our city a safer place to live," the mayor said at a news conference. "We need a change. This was not an easy decision, but it is one that is in the best interest of the people of Baltimore. The people of Baltimore deserve better."

So far this year, there have been 155 homicides in Baltimore, compared with 105 in 2014, WBAL-TV reported. Shootings have also spiked, with 303 shootings this year, nearly double a year ago.

May was the most violent month in four decades, with 43 slayings.

USA TODAY

Baltimore homicides in May worst in nearly 40 years

Tuesday night, three people were shot dead and one was wounded near the Baltimore campus of the University of Maryland.

Batts' dismissal came hours after the Baltimore police union released its review of the department's response to riots and unrest after Gray's death. The report found the response "lacking in many areas" and questioned Batts' leadership abilities.

"The question begs now, is the Baltimore Police Department prepared for the next potential unrest? Does Commissioner Batts have the leadership skills necessary to get the job done?" the review concludes.

"Before and during the riots, Police Commissioner Batts and his top commanders adopted a passive stance that put the image of themselves and City Hall ahead of the safety of its citizens and public servants," the review states. "This tentative posture allowed the destruction of personal property and needless injury to first responders."

USA TODAY

Report: Freddie Gray died of 'high-energy injury' in Baltimore

The mayor's office slammed the report by the Fraternal Order of Police.

"It is disappointing that the FOP continues to issue baseless and false information instead of working with us to find solutions that will protect our officers," spokesman Kevin Harris said in a statement. "The FOP is using the same sad playbook they relied on when they opposed our efforts to reform state laws and hold officers who act out of line accountable for their actions."

USA TODAY

6 Baltimore officers indicted in Freddie Gray's death

The statement said the city had "already identified and corrected some weaknesses, including the need to update how we assess the effectiveness of our riot gear and an order to begin the process of placing cameras in the backs of all police transport vans."

"Now is a time for healing; a time for progress," the statement continued. "This report offers neither."

Rawlings-Blake promised a review that would be "extensive, independent and consist of all of the facts."

"Our reviews will offer the citizens and officers more than a rehash of tired political rhetoric," her statement said.

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Baltimore Mayor Fires Police Commissioner Anthony Batts

Deputy Police Commissioner Kevin Davis named interim commissioner - 8 July 2015

Effective immediately, Deputy Police Commissioner Kevin Davis becomes interim commissioner. Davis is a veteran law enforcement official who joined the city department in January after serving as Anne Arundel County police chief, a position he resigned from in Nov. 2014.

"The mayor made a decision. Now we have to move on and move forward," Baltimore City Councilman Brandon Scott said.

Davis was also previously a high-ranking official in the Prince George's County Police Department, which he joined in 1992 and where he eventually became deputy chief before taking over the top spot in Anne Arundel County in July 2013.

The move comes on the same day that the Baltimore police union came out with its review of the department’s handling of the riots and unrest following the death of Freddie Gray.

Batts has come under fire in the months since the riots and as violent crime has spiked.

"It's Baltimore. We know people are dying. It's time for the next man up in this business. We have to move on. We thank Commissioner Batts for service, especially for the great things that he did, but also you have to hold him accountable for the not-so-great things that happened during his tenure in the Police Department so we know that in this business we have to move forward," Scott said. 

Through July 8 there have been 155 murders so far in 2015, compared to 105 at this point in 2014. In addition, there have been 303 shootings in the city this year, compared to 163 in 2014.

The recent spike in violence includes a quadruple shooting Tuesday night near the University of Maryland at Baltimore, during which three people died.

Batts served as police chief of Long Beach, California from 2002 to 2007 before becoming the chief in Oakland, California. In 2012, Batts replaced Fred Bealefeld, who announced his retirement after a five-year run as chief that included a drop in the number of homicides in Baltimore.

Rawlings-Blake, Davis hold news conference

During a news conference Wednesday afternoon, Rawlings-Blake said the scathing FOP report had nothing to do with her decision to remove Batts. She said the focus on police leadership recently has been a distraction from crime-fighting efforts.

"Together, we helped Baltimore city realize the second-lowest number of homicides in a generation, but as we have seen in recent weeks, too many continue to die on our streets," Rawlings-Blake said. "Families are tired of feeling this pain and so am I."

"We know that people are dying at record levels that have not seen since the '90s right now in our city and accountability starts at the top. Over the past few months, we have seen the relationship with the police and community deteriorate. We've seen the relationship with the police and police deteriorate and a lot of that people hold the police commissioner accountable for," Scott said.

The mayor said it "has not been an easy decision," but "the people of Baltimore deserve better."

Rawlings-Blake named Davis as the interim commissioner, citing his extensive law enforcement experience.

"Under (Davis') leadership, we will continue to take guns off the streets," Rawlings-Blake said.

Davis briefly spoke at the news conference. He stressed a service relationship with the community and building a relationship with the rank and file.

"I won't speak for the rank and file," Davis said. "I will walk with them. I will serve with them."

Meanwhile, Davis praised Batts for his service and friendship. He said he learned a lot from his predecessor.

"There aren't many police chiefs who've done what he's done (with police work)," Davis said.

To stem violence, Davis said, "We have to sharpen our focus."

Rawlings-Blake said the attention has been taken away from the essential work on making the city safer. She and Davis said they hope to return the focus on community policing and reducing crime in the city.

Officials release statements on Baltimore Police Department leadership change

Baltimore Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 3 President Gene Ryan released the following response.

"Our After Action Review, released this morning, detailed officers' concerns that the Baltimore Police Department's response to the riots was lacking in many areas. We look forward to working with Interim Commissioner Kevin Davis to unite the Baltimore Police Department and move both our Department and City forward."

Meanwhile, U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein released a statement on the change of leadership.

"Kevin Davis worked his way up through the ranks and helped to reform the Prince George’s County Police Department, raising morale and professionalism while dramatically reducing crime," Rosenstein said. "The Baltimore Police Department is filled with many outstanding officers who deserve our trust, respect and appreciation."

Rosenstein extended a statement to Batts.

"I extend my best wishes to Tony Batts. Commissioner Batts faced challenging circumstances and did what he believed was best for the citizens of Baltimore," Rosenstein said.

Baltimore City State's Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby released the following statement about the change.

"We've already met with Interim Police Commissioner Kevin Davis and look forward to working with him and the dedicated men and women of the Baltimore Police Department. Mr. Davis brings an extensive amount of experience to Baltimore City and I believe together we will continue to move our city forward. We thank and appreciate Commissioner Anthony Batts for his service to the city of Baltimore."

Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski also weighed in on the decision.

"I strongly support Mayor Rawlings-Blake's decision to bring in new leadership at the Baltimore City Police Department. It's necessary to get the crime surge under control and restore faith in the police department. Baltimore City residents need to be both safe and treated justly. During this transition, I offer my thanks and support to the men and women in blue serving our communities every day."

Baltimore City Council President Bernard "Jack" Young released a statement that read in part:

"I worked closely with Commissioner Batts and always found him open to my ideas for reforming the department. He was engaging, experienced, and served our city to the best of his ability.

"But as I've recently crisscrossed the city, connecting one-on-one with citizens and members of our police force, it became increasingly clear that a growing lack of confidence in the direction of our city’s crime-fighting strategy had the potential to severely damage the long-term health of our city.

"As we continue to engage in the difficult and transformative work of reforming the practices and procedures of our police department, and institute a concrete community policing strategy, we must do everything in our power to quickly restore the trust of our uniformed officers, and the members of the public they are sworn to protect and serve.

"I look forward to working alongside Interim Commissioner Davis as we build a stronger Baltimore." 

Refresh wbaltv.com and our app, and watch 11 News for late-breaking updates.

text size The latest on the Mayor's decision to terminate Commissioner Batts Updated: Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake held a press conference on Wednesday afternoon to speak about her decision to terminate Baltimore City Police Commissioner Anthony Batts, effective immediately. “This was not an easy decision but it is one that is in the best interest of the people of Baltimore,” the Mayor says. “The people of Baltimore deserve better.” “We will continue to look for ways to hold those who act out of line accountable for their actions,” she continued. The decision according to the Mayor was motivated primarily by a recent spike in crime and by the distraction surrounding scrutiny of leadership in Baltimore after the Freddie Gray riots. However, the decision also coincides with a report by the FOP Lodge #3 that was released earlier Wednesday. Furthermore, police announced this week that an outside, independent review of the department’s responses during the riots would begin with a roundtable discussion Wednesday. It will be conducted by the Police Executive Research Forum. Rawlings-Blake says her administration’s “primary focus is on making Baltimore a safer place” and says community members “cannot continue to debate the leadership of the department…. Obviously the commissioner understands that.” “It is clear that the focus has been too much on the leadership… and not enough on the crime fight. It is with the utmost urgency that we get the crime surge under control and when the focus is repeatedly on the leadership,” she says, “that’s attention that takes away” from crime fighting “with unified resolve.” She says that “we cannot keep having the level of violence in our city,” and referenced a quadruple shooting that left three dead late Tuesday night near UMB’s campus. She says, “Families are tired of feeling this pain, so am I.” “Let’s get to work – because we all love our city and it’s up to all of us to make it a safer place,” the Mayor says. Senator Barbara Mikulski says that she "strongly" support's the Mayor's decision "to bring in new leadership." "It's necessary to get the crime surge under control and restore faith in the police department," Mikulski says. "Baltimore City residents need to be both safe and treated justly. During this transition, I offer my thanks and support to the men and women in blue serving our communities every day." Effective immediately, Deputy Police Commissioner Kevin Davis will become Interim Commissioner and he says his friendship with Batts and lessons learned from him will help him in this new role. Davis has been with the department since January. Previously, he served as the chief of Anne Arundel County Police and was a former commander in Prince George’s County. Davis says, “My focus for the future is really pretty simple. It's all about the crime fight and it's all about our relationship with the community… My message to the rank and file: I will walk with them. I will serve with them,” he says. The Mayor did point out accomplishments brought on by Batts and says he “helped modernize our police force… brought more transparency and accountability.” She adds that reforms occurred because of “the hundreds of dedicated, hardworking men and women who put their lives at risk.” In response, FOP President Gene Ryan released the following statement: “Our After Action Review, released this morning, detailed officers’ concerns that the Baltimore Police Department’s response to the riots was lacking in many areas. We look forward to working with Interim Commissioner Kevin Davis to unite the Baltimore Police Department and move both our Department and City forward." U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein issued the following statement regarding Davis' appointment: “Kevin Davis worked his way up through the ranks and helped to reform the Prince George’s County Police Department, raising morale and professionalism while dramatically reducing crime,” said U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein. “The Baltimore Police Department is filled with many outstanding officers who deserve our trust, respect and appreciation.” Rosenstein also says, “I extend my best wishes to Tony Batts. Commissioner Batts faced challenging circumstances and did what he believed was best for the citizens of Baltimore.”

Read More at: http://foxbaltimore.com/news/features/top-stories/stories/159998-The-latest-on-the-Mayor-39-s-decision-to-terminate-Commissioner-Batts.shtml#.VZ2ev_msBFV

text size The latest on the Mayor's decision to terminate Commissioner Batts Updated: Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake held a press conference on Wednesday afternoon to speak about her decision to terminate Baltimore City Police Commissioner Anthony Batts, effective immediately. “This was not an easy decision but it is one that is in the best interest of the people of Baltimore,” the Mayor says. “The people of Baltimore deserve better.” “We will continue to look for ways to hold those who act out of line accountable for their actions,” she continued. The decision according to the Mayor was motivated primarily by a recent spike in crime and by the distraction surrounding scrutiny of leadership in Baltimore after the Freddie Gray riots. However, the decision also coincides with a report by the FOP Lodge #3 that was released earlier Wednesday. Furthermore, police announced this week that an outside, independent review of the department’s responses during the riots would begin with a roundtable discussion Wednesday. It will be conducted by the Police Executive Research Forum. Rawlings-Blake says her administration’s “primary focus is on making Baltimore a safer place” and says community members “cannot continue to debate the leadership of the department…. Obviously the commissioner understands that.” “It is clear that the focus has been too much on the leadership… and not enough on the crime fight. It is with the utmost urgency that we get the crime surge under control and when the focus is repeatedly on the leadership,” she says, “that’s attention that takes away” from crime fighting “with unified resolve.” She says that “we cannot keep having the level of violence in our city,” and referenced a quadruple shooting that left three dead late Tuesday night near UMB’s campus. She says, “Families are tired of feeling this pain, so am I.” “Let’s get to work – because we all love our city and it’s up to all of us to make it a safer place,” the Mayor says. Senator Barbara Mikulski says that she "strongly" support's the Mayor's decision "to bring in new leadership." "It's necessary to get the crime surge under control and restore faith in the police department," Mikulski says. "Baltimore City residents need to be both safe and treated justly. During this transition, I offer my thanks and support to the men and women in blue serving our communities every day." Effective immediately, Deputy Police Commissioner Kevin Davis will become Interim Commissioner and he says his friendship with Batts and lessons learned from him will help him in this new role. Davis has been with the department since January. Previously, he served as the chief of Anne Arundel County Police and was a former commander in Prince George’s County. Davis says, “My focus for the future is really pretty simple. It's all about the crime fight and it's all about our relationship with the community… My message to the rank and file: I will walk with them. I will serve with them,” he says. The Mayor did point out accomplishments brought on by Batts and says he “helped modernize our police force… brought more transparency and accountability.” She adds that reforms occurred because of “the hundreds of dedicated, hardworking men and women who put their lives at risk.” In response, FOP President Gene Ryan released the following statement: “Our After Action Review, released this morning, detailed officers’ concerns that the Baltimore Police Department’s response to the riots was lacking in many areas. We look forward to working with Interim Commissioner Kevin Davis to unite the Baltimore Police Department and move both our Department and City forward." U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein issued the following statement regarding Davis' appointment: “Kevin Davis worked his way up through the ranks and helped to reform the Prince George’s County Police Department, raising morale and professionalism while dramatically reducing crime,” said U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein. “The Baltimore Police Department is filled with many outstanding officers who deserve our trust, respect and appreciation.” Rosenstein also says, “I extend my best wishes to Tony Batts. Commissioner Batts faced challenging circumstances and did what he believed was best for the citizens of Baltimore.”

Read More at: http://foxbaltimore.com/news/features/top-stories/stories/159998-The-latest-on-the-Mayor-39-s-decision-to-terminate-Commissioner-Batts.shtml#.VZ2ev_msBFV

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'Hold the line' commands protected lives during riot, police say

Caption Monday unrest

Algerina Perna / Baltimore Sun

At North and Pennsylvania Avenues, Rashad Riddick, 36, wipes smoke from his eyes as he takes pictures of the police line where the CVS was set on fire and looted. Crowds filled the street here and in other areas on this day of Freddie Gray's funeral. Gray died in police custody on April 19th. 

Caption Monday unrest

Christopher T. Assaf / Baltimore Sun

Police officers in riot gear block Howard Street near Lexington Market to prevent looting. 

By Justin George The Baltimore Sun contact the reporter

Police respond to officers' claim they were ordered to do nothing during riots.

Police commanders said life was first priority to protect during April riots.

Police fire back at allegations they allowed rioters to destroy city.

Baltimore police commanders acknowledge that they ordered officers not to engage rioters multiple times on the day of Freddie Gray's funeral but said they did so to protect officers and citizens as they prioritized life over property.

In an interview with The Baltimore Sun, police Commissioner Anthony W. Batts and six top commanders who directed deployments on April 27 denied that they gave blanket orders to do nothing as rioters looted, raided businesses and even attacked officers with impunity.

More than two months after riots broke out across Baltimore, top brass and rank-and-file officers continue to spar over how platoons of officers were deployed that day. About 160 officers were injured in the riots and businesses suffered millions of dollars in damage.

In a June 8 meeting with The Sun's editorial  board, Baltimore police union president, Lt. Gene Ryan, is asked if and from whom a stand-down order came from the night of the April 27th riots. (Baltimore Sun)

Batts has repeatedly denied issuing a "stand down" order — akin to ordering a withdrawal — while officers say they were in effect given such an order, either over the radio or in person, when they were told "do not engage" or "hold the line."

Commanders told The Sun that they asked officers to "hold the line" as part of an overall deployment strategy to create a barrier between rioters and police operations and potentially vulnerable people. If officers broke lines during a face-off with rock-throwing protesters, for instance, they could be isolated and surrounded by mobs. And if officers broke the line to make arrests, they might have been forced to guard them amid all the chaos when transport vans weren't available.

"There's an amount of discipline necessary to navigate your way through a civil disturbance," Deputy Commissioner Kevin Davis said.

But some officers say they should have been able to break their shoulder-to-shoulder lines and charge rioters, make arrests and quell the disturbance. The police union supports their claims, and the organization is expected to release an "after action report" in the coming weeks that should include many first-hand accounts from officers.

The union has requested texts, emails and radio transmissions between police commanders and City Hall for review. As of Tuesday, the union had received only one tape from the voluminous riot transmission record.

The police union's president, Lt. Gene Ryan, said the Police Department could clear up any misconceptions or rumors by releasing the requested communications.

"If they have nothing to hide — and they always talk about being transparent — how come they haven't given me the tapes of the radio transmissions?" Ryan said. "If they have nothing to hide, why not give me what we asked them for?"

Police have said they will share information, and both the agency and Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake say they have called for their own probes into how deployments were handled.

Some officers have said they believe the mayor was behind the alleged "stand down" order so Baltimore police would not look as aggressive as body-armor-wearing officers responding to unrest last year in Ferguson, Mo.

Rawlings-Blake has denied that and said she would never allow people to loot, destroy or burn businesses.

"The mayor never gave an order to police to stand down, and there have been multiple officers who have come forward and have said there was no such order given either by the mayor or by the command staff," spokesman Kevin Harris said. "I can say unequivocally that the mayor never gave such an order or told the command staff to give such an order."

Batts and his top commanders said officers are confusing "stand down" with "hold the line" — a command they acknowledge was given repeatedly.

Their objective was simple, according to Deputy Commissioner Dean Palmere: "Protect assets, protect life."

An attorney for several officers who were injured during the riots and have filed workers' compensation claims said many of his clients contend that when commanders ordered officers not to engage rioters, they were putting all officers in danger.

"At Mondawmin, they were getting pummeled there, and there were commanders behind them saying 'Don't engage,'" Baltimore attorney Warren S. Alperstein said.

Gray was arrested on April 12 in West Baltimore after officers on bicycles said he ran from them after making eye contact. Police found what they say was an illegal pocket knife and cuffed his hands and legs and put him in the back of a police transport van.

Police and prosecutors say officers denied Gray medical help, and he was found unresponsive by the time the van arrived at the Western District police station. He had suffered a spinal injury and died a week later.

Freddie Gray coverage

The Baltimore state's attorney's office charged six officers involved in the arrest or transport of Gray with a range of criminal charges including second-degree murder and reckless endangerment. The officers have pleaded not guilty.

Gray's death launched Baltimore into weeks of protests that culminated with a day of rioting across the city, including arson, looting and violent clashes between police and rock throwers.

More than 380 businesses reported damage, and 61 buildings were burned, according to city officials.

Officers sustained injuries ranging "from concussions to fractures to really bad head wounds, facial wounds, stitches, staples," Alperstein said.

Alperstein said his clients understand the directive to not engage was a planned strategy. "Everybody that I've talked to said it was very clear we weren't to engage," Alperstein said.

But Alperstein said police should have been better prepared for violence on Monday, April 27. Protesters had thrown bottles at officers outside the Western District police station on the day Gray died. And violence escalated on Saturday, April 25, when rioters broke windows, destroyed police cars and hurled large objects at officers outside Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

Some officers say police commanders set the tone for Monday by also taking a hands-off approach on Saturday.

Commanders counter that police did make about 13 arrests on that day, even while they were outnumbered and outflanked.

Other area law enforcement agencies assisted city police during the riots on Monday.

Baltimore County police spokesman Cpl. John Wachter said he has seen television news reports and heard rumors about city officers being told to "stand down." But he said he doesn't have information that county officers were told to stand down.

Wicomico County Sheriff Michael A. Lewis said his officers heard orders for police to avoid engaging rioters. Lewis said he never heard a direct "stand down" order, but the message was clear.

"I never heard the order 'stand down,'" he said. "What I heard was 'hold the line, hold the line, retreat, retreat,' as guys were shouting, 'They're hitting us with bottles; they're hitting us with bricks.'"

Lewis and his team got to Baltimore around 2:10 a.m. on April 28 and were assigned to guard Baltimore police headquarters. Throughout the night until about 4:30 a.m., Lewis said he heard calls for help from officers over police communications.

Police, Mayor butt heads with union over reform

"Police officers screaming on the radio," Lewis recalls. "Everybody could hear what was going on. Those guys getting their asses kicked. I repeatedly heard, 'Hold the line, hold the line. Do not go after them.'"

Baltimore police acknowledge that officers didn't have adequate riot gear other than helmets. Some officers were still getting shields days later, and police did not have enough "turtle gear," or body armor to equip all officers.

Asked why, Palmere said, Baltimore police are not alone.

"Every major police organization is upgrading their gear," the deputy commissioner said.

was among several officers involved in deployments who unequivocally said they never told officers to stand down, withdraw or relax. They included Deputy Commissioner Kevin Davis, Lt. Col. Melissa Hyatt, Lt. Col. Sean Miller, Acting Lt. Col. William Marcus and Maj. Marc Partee.

Over nearly three hours, the commanders discussed how they had prepared for violence on April 27 before unexpected flashpoints began popping up all over the city, spreading officers too thin.

Before the riots began, Hyatt, the police incident commander that day, had prioritized how officers would respond to violence. Most officers were assigned to form "skirmish lines" or a unified front that aimed to stop protesters and, later, rioters from breaking through and outflanking police.

Tactical "arrest teams" were put on standby to make arrests as soon as property was destroyed or front-line officers were threatened.

Batts: More officers likely to be arrested, forced out as result of reforms

Behind the lines, police wanted to keep access open for arrest teams, police transport wagons, paramedics, firefighters and reinforcements. The lines were also created to protect injured officers, as well as the more than a dozen people police did arrest.

Many times, Hyatt said, incident command was deciding how to redeploy officers to areas where civilian and police lives were being threatened. Officers were sometimes told to stand by. Street-level commanders kept asking to be allowed to make arrests, Hyatt said, but incident command was evaluating if officers were needed elsewhere or if transport vans could get there.

skirmish lines would open up holes for attack, leaving important access points inaccessible and putting injured officers behind the lines at risk, commanders said.

"If five or 10 jump out to arrest someone," Miller said, rioters now have a hole to run through and attack "the backs" of officers.

Batts acknowledged that police were consistently outnumbered and outflanked — something he said he foresaw when he asked area law enforcement agencies to send Baltimore at least 1,000 officers days before any violence occurred.

Baltimore police received 200 extra officers in the days leading up to violence. At Mondawmin Mall, about 150 to 200 officers responded on the afternoon riots began. As violence spread, many officers were redeployed — but police couldn't abandon areas they had under control. Lines became thinner and thinner, Batts said.

While commanders said they understand officers' frustration watching looters smash open stores but insist that holding the line was often the best way to keep officers safe.

"It's a protective feature," Hyatt said.

Baltimore Sun reporters Luke Broadwater and Alison Knezevich contributed to this article.

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twitter.com/justingeorge

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun

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Live at 1:30: Baltimore FOP investigating city's handling of riots

BALTIMORE - The leadership of Baltimore’s police union is seeking all communications between the department’s command staff and City Hall executives as they investigate the handling of the recent riots and unrest.

Lt. Gene Ryan, president of FOP Lodge #3, said the union filed a Freedom of Information Act for all departmental communication tapes, command staff text messages and emails from April 27 to May 4.

Ryan added that these moves are part of the union conducting an “After Action Review” of the riots, which he said has the full cooperation of many of his members who were deployed to the front lines during the crisis. 

Live at 1:30 p.m.: FOP Lodge #3 holds a news conference regarding their concerns

In all, Ryan said, more than 160 police officers and scores of firefighters were injured in the recent riots in Baltimore City.

“We urge that City Hall immediately release this information to the public; however, once our review is completed we will release the findings to the Baltimore Police Department, City Hall, and the public with the hope that there will be many lessons learned, misconceptions resolved, and future planning improved,” said Ryan in a statement.

RELATED: Complete Baltimore unrest coverage

Baltimore City Fraternal Order Of Police

Lodge #3

June 3, 2015

Statement from President Gene Ryan:

Released 6-3-15

Over 160 Police Officers and scores of Fire Fighters were injured in the recent riots in Baltimore City. FOP Lodge #3 is conducting an After Action Review with the full cooperation of many of our members who were deployed to the front lines during the crisis. 

In order to do so, and in the spirit of full transparency and cooperation, we have requested, through the Freedom of Information Act, that we be given access to all departmental communication tapes, Command Staff text messages and emails between that same Command Staff and City Hall Executives and Staffers, from the period April 27, 2015 through, and including, May 4, 2015.

We urge that City Hall immediately release this information to the public; however, once our review is completed we will release the findings to the Baltimore Police Department, City Hall, and the public with the hope that there will be many lessons learned, misconceptions resolved, and future planning improved.

Lt. Gene Ryan, President
FOP Lodge 3

Supporters of Police Rally in Front of Baltimore City Hall
 
Pro-police rally

Amid lingering tension and plummeting arrest rates, violence has spiked across the city, and in May 40 people have been killed in Baltimore, the deadliest month since 1990. Many of the demonstrators questioned why those deaths have not attracted the same level of outrage as Gray's. Bob Frisch, 60, a retired city police sergeant who wore his badge on a neck chain, said the only way to overcome crime is for police to work closely with the community and if officers feel empowered to take guns out of the hands of criminals. "There's a real concern among the active duty that any action they take might be second-guessed," Frisch said. 

For the most part, the demonstrators spoke in general terms about wanting to support the difficult job police are asked Fact-checking the terminations by Baltimore Police Departmentto do. But some held signs showing support for the officers charged in Gray's death — they face a range of charges, including second-degree murder and manslaughter — and one poster read "#saveoursix." Col. Darryl D. DeSousa, the department's chief of patrol, greeted the demonstrators at the end of the rally and was cheered on when he posed for photographs with them. He said that police morale is starting to recover and that events like Saturday's demonstration will help. "It's a breath of fresh air for us," he said, as demonstrators posed for a group photo behind him. Officers "see stuff like this, it motivates them."  A smaller group of about a dozen people held a counter-demonstration at the edge of the City Hall plaza. When they first arrived, the two groups clashed, yelling in one another's faces until police intervened. The two groups screamed at one another for the next two hours but remained peaceful — a detachment of body-armored police remained with their van and mostly out of sight.

The demonstrators in support of police, many of whom said they had relatives who are officers, marched around the square but would linger in front of the counter-protest on its south side. Brian Forster, 35, stopped to blare a chant of "Blue lives matter" through a megaphone and from the street another man let his motorbike engine roar, drowning out all other sound.

Julie Gomez, 50, one of the organizers of the rally and the wife of a Western District officer, approached some of the opposing protesters and was able to find some common ground, agreeing that more should be done to improve the lives of people in the city's poorest neighborhoods. Freddie Gray coverage

"I have the utmost respect for them," Gomez said. "We have to get services to them."

But Gary Johnson, 28, one of the people Gomez had been talking to, said in an interview that it was disrespectful for supporters of the police to appropriate the popular "Black lives matter" protest slogan.

"Officers haven't been killed in Baltimore," he said. "Their fraternity is a profession, it's not a culture or a race of people."

Eventually the counter-rally dispersed, leaving the square to the police and their supporters. And at the invitation of the demonstration's organizers, the officers who had been assigned to the protest squeezed in together for a smiling group photo. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. twitter.com/iduncan Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun

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City police add new bureau, hope to strengthen public trust

Los Angeles police veteran Jerry Rodriguez named deputy commissioner

January 25, 2013

|By Justin George, The Baltimore Sun

Baltimore police Commissioner Anthony W. Batts announced Friday the creation of a new unit to oversee internal affairs, audits and the writing of police procedures, a move he hopes will strengthen public confidence in his agency.

Jeronimo "Jerry" Rodriguez, a 26-year Los Angeles Police Department veteran, was named deputy commissioner in charge of the new Bureau of Professional Standards. Rodriguez will report directly to Batts and joins Deputy Commissioner John Skinner at the top level of Batts' staff.

While Skinner will continue to run day-to-day crime-fighting operations, Rodriguez will focus his attention internally, handling matters that affect department employees, including about 3,000 sworn officers.

"This new Bureau will focus on employee conduct from the basics of written directives and standard operating procedures, to a new general accountability office, which will continue to weed out non-compliant practices within the department," Batts said in a statement.

Rodriguez was chosen from a short list culled from the recommendations of other nationwide police leaders, Baltimore police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said. Rodriguez, who is in the process of moving to Maryland, was not available for comment.

His unit will begin with some high-profile cases on its plate.

This week, a federal grand jury indicted a Baltimore officer accused of being part of an armed conspiracy to distribute drugs. On Thursday, the state's attorney's office declined to prosecute three detectives involved in a drug arrest that resulted in the death of Anthony Anderson; they now face an internal affairs investigation.

Several other officers remain suspended because of a kickback scandal involving a Rosedale towing company and auto body shop.

In the Los Angeles Police Department, Rodriguez served in the Force Investigation Division, Internal Affairs Group and Office of Inspector General.

Born in Havana, Cuba, Rodriguez immigrated with his family to the United States in December 1969 at the age of 6, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. He grew up in Los Angeles County. As Baltimore deputy commissioner, he will make $130,000 a year, Guglielmi said.

The Bureau of Professional Standards will include a new Office of the Inspector General, which does not yet have a defined role, Guglielmi said. The General Orders and Written Directives Unit, which writes police policy, will also fall under the bureau, as will the Police Inspections Unit.

Chief Grayling Williams, who joined the department a year ago from the Drug Enforcement Administration, will continue to head up Internal Affairs. He will report to Rodriguez, who will monitor the investigations of several police brutality or misconduct allegations that remain unresolved.

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Advocacy group criticizes Baltimore police commissioner

Vanguard Justice Society: No confidence votes there

Jun 05, 2015

BALTIMORE —Leaders of the advocacy group that represent minority police officers in the city have some harsh words for Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony Batts.

According to the Vanguard Justice Society, the votes are there for a no-confidence vote on Batts, even though the mayor continues to support him.

"The Vanguard has met with (Batts) on several occasions. We've voiced things that we weren't happy with, and it has seemed to have fallen on deaf ears," said Lt. Kenneth Butler, president of the Vanguard Justice Society.

Butler spoke on the C-4 Radio Show Friday, echoing frustrations of what he calls many police officers unhappy with the way things are running in the Baltimore Police Department lately.

WBAL-TV 11 News caught up with him after the interview, and he made it clear, if there was a vote Friday from the union, he feels it would vote no confidence in Batts.

"I'm pretty sure the members of the agency would vote no-confidence, because like I said, these officers feel betrayed," Butler said.

Batts has commented publicly a number of times recently, given the high murder rate and low arrest rate, saying there has been some doubt from officers, calling it a time of uncertainty.

"What comes out of that uncertainty is an opportunity for us to grow, an opportunity for change," Batts said.

"They're saying their piece, having tough conversations that I believe need to be had, and they're getting to work," Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said.

At an event Friday, Rawlings-Blake acknowledged the officers' frustrations, but also said she has complete confidence that Batts will be able to repair the damage that has been done.

"The commissioner knows there are some officers who have concerns and complaints. (He) wants to hear them and work things through, and I believe he's doing that," Rawlings-Blake said.

As far as a possible vote by the union, according to the Vanguard Justice Society, FOP President Gene Ryan has made it clear he wants a full investigation to show what was and wasn't done and based on that, then take a vote.

Fact-checking the Terminations by Baltimore Police Department

By Mark Puente The Baltimore Sun contact the reporter

Fact check: Baltimore police chief's comment on terminations doesn't match records.

As the nation watched the Baltimore unrest that followed Freddie Gray’s death in police custody, police Commissioner Anthony Batts told reporters that he had worked for years to address brutality and other misconduct on the force.

"I have been a reform commissioner. I have taken over an organization that has many challenges and faced it head-on," Batts, who became commissioner in 2012, said during a nationally televised news conference on April 24.

"Whether it's from terminating 50 employees over the last two years for misconduct within this organization; whether it's from dropping officer-involved shootings 50 to 40 percent over the previous years. … Whether it's standing here taking tough questions during tough times. We're gonna continue to serve the city in a strong way."

But Batts overstated the number of terminations, according to statistics from the Police Department and the city. Here's a comparison:

The 50 terminations that Batts mentioned did not match records the department provided to The Baltimore Sun in September, shortly before it published a six-month investigation into brutality allegations.

From October 2012 through September 2014, 20 employees had been terminated under Batts, according to the records. Of those, 12 were either "police probationary officers or police officer trainees." Probationary employees can be terminated at any time unless they are accused of having used excessive force. For an excessive force accusation, the state Law Enforcement Officers' Bill of Rights offers them limited protections.

In March, officials responded to The Sun's request for the number of firings and terminations since Batts became the city's top cop. Spokespersons for Batts and Mayor Stephanie-Rawlings Blake answered: 25.

When Batts pegged the number at 50 last month, The Sun asked the Police Department and mayor's office to explain the difference in the numbers. Neither responded.

But in an online memo posted last week about reforms under Batts, the department said, "In the last 21/2 years, more than 25 employees have been terminated for misconduct. Nearly 50 employees in total have been separated from the agency" since Batts took over.

This isn't the first time that Batts' public statements did not match records.

In December, the commissioner announced that he had been named to President Barack Obama's Task Force on 21st Century Policing. His words quickly landed on websites and made news in the city.

"I'm excited and honored to have been selected to be a member of this Task Force," Batts said in a statement at the time. "The work we are doing in Baltimore to rebuild public trust will be a tremendous benefit to me as we look to improve community relations nationwide."

The announcement surprised officials at the U.S. Department of Justice and the White House; they said Obama had not included Batts on the task force. A spokeswoman for Batts attributed the gaffe to "confusion" after the commissioner attended a White House meeting.

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baltimore_riots_10_
After a two-month delay, Mayor Stephanie-Rawlings Blake has honored a pledge to post online the outcomes of all civil lawsuits alleging police brutality and other misconduct.

To a searchable database is now listed on the city Law Department's website. So far, residents can review outcomes from 11 lawsuits concluded since Nov. 21. The city paid a total of $147,000 in eight settlements, but did not acknowledge wrongdoing in those cases. Judges ruled in favor of officers in three other cases.

Still, the database doesn't contain as much information as the mayor's staff promised in November. At that time, officials said the database would mirror records the administration sends to the Board of Estimates, which must approve payouts higher than $25,000. Those summaries typically contain two or three pages of information detailing an officer's version of the arrest.

That will change, said Kevin Harris, Rawlings-Blake's spokesman. He described the database as "a work in progress" and said officials are exploring ways to add more information.

Move forward, it will become more robust," he said. "This is a step in the right direction. We've made a commitment to be as transparent as possible."

The move is part of a series of changes made in response to a six-month Baltimore Sun investigation of police misconduct. The investigation found the city has paid about $5.7 million since 2011 in lawsuits alleging police brutality and other misconduct — and sparked a U.S. Department of Justice review of the Police Department.

After the investigation was published, some members of the City Council said they weren't aware the problem was so widespread.

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President Signs National Blue Alert Act

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama on Tuesday signed into law a measure to create a nationwide alert system to help catch anyone who hurts, kills or makes credible threats against police officers. The new system would be similar to the Amber Alerts used to find abducted children. The bill is named for New York City police officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, who were shot in Brooklyn days before Christmas by a man who later killed himself. Families of the slain officers were on hand to see Obama sign the bill in the Oval Office. Obama says it's important for communities to do everything possible to ensure the safety of police officers. He says the alerts could help warn officers when there is an active threat against them. Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Boy, 13, shot during killing of father takes witness stand

A boy testified in court about being shot and jumping from a second-floor window after his father was killed.
The 2013 murder of BGF leader's half-brother was a simple botched burglary, jurors told.

A 13-year-old West Baltimore boy took the witness stand in the murder trial of his father's accused killer, recounting how he was watching "Family Guy" in his bedroom when he heard a commotion and came face to face with a gunman.

The shooter turned the gun on the boy, who was 11 at the time, firing shots that struck him once in the leg as he raced upstairs. He locked the door behind him and jumped from his second-story bedroom window to flag down police. Acting on his information, officers quickly converged on the home and found two men hiding in the basement, prosecutors say.

One of those men was Joseph Oglesby, a 39-year-old who is fighting murder charges at trial. Oglesby knew the boy's father, Ralph Timmons, and is accused of targeting his home with another man for a burglary on April 1, 2013, that went awry.

Police ID man killed Monday in shooting that injured son

"They thought the home was unoccupied," Assistant State's Attorney Tonya LaPolla told jurors Friday. "They were wrong."

Months after his death, Timmons would be posthumously indicted as part of the Black Guerrilla Family jail conspiracy case. Timmons was the half brother of gang leader Tavon White, who pleaded guilty for his role at the top of the racketeering conspiracy that smuggled drugs and cellphones into the City Detention Center. Authorities have said Timmons helped run the gang's operations from the outside.

Oglesby's defense attorneys invoked the high-profile case — which netted more than 40 federal convictions of inmates, corrections officers and others — to raise questions about who else might have been after Timmons. They also questioned the testimony of his alleged accomplice, John Knox, that Oglesby was the gunman.

LaPolla painted a picture of a simple botched burglary that went bad when a father who was out getting pizza for his son returned home. Police found Oglesby and Knox hiding in the basement, with Oglesby wedged inside a fold-up couch.

Knox has pleaded guilty to all charges, including murder and attempted murder, and took the stand Monday to testify against Oglesby. Knox, who has no deal with prosecutors, said he wasn't bothered that Timmons lost his life. But learning of the shooting of Timmons' son "changed everything," he testified.

"I'm not a monster," Knox told jurors. "I couldn't protect someone who would do that."

Oglesby's attorneys said he didn't shoot Timmons or his son but had been at the pizza place with Timmons and returned to the home with him. Oglesby gave that account to detectives the night of his capture, saying that he had fled to the basement for safety.

LaPolla told jurors that Oglesby's account strained common sense. For instance, she asked why he didn't run outside when he heard shots fired.

Knox was 21 and just weeks away from moving to Florida to attend college at the time of the killing, but a crippling addiction was at the forefront his mind, he testified. Knox had lost his mother months before the burglary and said he became addicted to drugs.

"At the time I was thinking about getting high," Knox testified. "As an addict, you have to constantly have something in you so you can function."

Knox testified that he met Oglesby at a downtown mosque, and Oglesby — who has since changed his name to Yusef Mu'Meen — approached him with the plan.

Knox said he did not know Timmons, while Timmons and Oglesby had known each other since childhood. At the time of the shooting, Timmons was dating Oglesby's wife — an arrangement that prosecutors and his defense attorney agree that Oglesby didn't mind.

Knox testified that on the night of the break-in, he and Oglesby cased the home and waited for a car out front to leave. All the lights were off except for a kitchen stove light, and Knox said he broke in and opened the door for Oglesby.

Unbeknownst to them, Timmons' son was upstairs in his bedroom.

Knox said he and Oglesby were rifling through items when Timmons returned. Timmons saw Knox closing a kitchen closet door and confronted him, a knife in one hand and a phone in the other. "You [messed] up," Knox recalled Timmons saying to him.

The boy — who The Baltimore Sun is not identifying because he is a juvenile crime victim — testified that he heard a commotion and came downstairs. His father was standing over someone and motioned to him to take the cellphone out of his hand and call police. Suddenly, a man dressed in black and a mask emerged from the basement and opened fire, the boy said.

"What did you see happening to your father?" LaPolla asked the boy, who is now in seventh grade.

"It was like flashing, just gunshots," he testified.

"What if anything did [Timmons] do?"

"Fell," the boy said.

Knox testified that Timmons' last words were: "No, that's my son!" Knox said he was unaware that Oglesby was carrying a gun.

The boy said he froze, then the shooter turned the gun on him and began firing. He was struck once in the upper leg as he climbed the steps to safety. He was hospitalized for a week and was not told for several days that his father had been killed.

When he was interviewed by police, the boy said the shooter's face had been covered but that he looked like one of his uncles. On the stand, he clarified that he meant the shooter had his uncle's build, but defense attorneys have used the statement to raise questions about the shooter's identity.

They also highlighted how Knox changed his story over the course of interviews with police. In one interview, Knox said he took Timmons' car keys from his belt and also picked up his knife, though he testified Monday that it was Oglesby.

"Growing up in a city like this, it's not best to tell on people," Knox said of his changing story. "I tried my best to keep my integrity, stick to the code. … Sitting in prison made me change my mind."

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Baltimore prosecutor asked police to target area where Freddie Gray was arrested

Defense lawyers for police officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody have called for Marilyn Mosby to step down as prosecutor, citing an email calling for increased police activity.

By Kevin Rector The Baltimore Sun contact the reporter

Marilyn Mosby asked police to target corner where Freddie Gray ran.

About three weeks before Freddie Gray was chased from a West Baltimore corner by three Baltimore police officers — the start of a fatal encounter — the office of prosecutor Marilyn Mosby asked police to target the intersection with "enhanced" drug enforcement efforts, court documents show.

"State's Attorney Mosby asked me to look into community concerns regarding drug dealing in the area of North Ave and Mount St," Joshua Rosenblatt, division chief of Mosby's Crime Strategies Unit, wrote in a March 17 email to a Western District police commander.

The email was disclosed for the first time Tuesday in a motion filed in Baltimore Circuit Court by defense attorneys for the six officers being prosecuted in Gray's arrest and death. The attorneys said Mosby's involvement in the police initiative mean that she should be removed from the case.

Defense lawyers for police officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody have called for Marilyn Mosby to step down as prosecutor, citing an email calling for increased police activity.

"Mrs. Mosby herself is now an integral part of the story and as such is a central witness," the defense attorneys argued. "This is a case where the witness and the prosecutor are one and the same."

Mosby, through spokeswoman Rochelle Ritchie, said, "Consistent with our prosecutorial obligations, we will litigate this case in the courtroom and not in the media."Mosby's office received the motion Tuesday afternoon, Ritchie said.

Mosby's office has dismissed previous defense calls for her recusal, including those based on conflict-of-interest allegations stemming from her husband's post as city councilman in the district where Gray was arrested.

In their motion Tuesday, defense attorneys said the email exchange shows that Mosby knew the area where Gray was chased was a high-crime location. They said that bolsters their argument that officers were within their rights to detain and handcuff Gray — even before finding a knife and officially arresting him.

"It must be understood that Mrs. Mosby was directing these officers to one of the highest crime intersections in Baltimore City and asking them to make arrests, conduct surveillance, and stop crime," the defense attorneys wrote. "Now, the State is apparently making the unimaginable argument that the police officers are not allowed to use handcuffs to protect their safety and prevent flight in an investigatory detention where the suspect fled in a high crime area and actually had a weapon on him."

In the March 17 email to Maj. Osborne Robinson, Rosenblatt wrote that Mosby's office wanted to build on the success in reducing crime in the West Baltimore neighborhood through the Operation Ceasefire program by "targeting that intersection for enhanced prosecutorial (and hopefully police) attention." In that program, prosecutors, police and community groups work together to persuade criminals to reform.

On March 20, Robinson forwarded Rosenblatt's email to several Western District officers, including Lt. Brian W. Rice. He was one of the three officers who arrested Gray and one of the six later charged in Gray's arrest and death.

Robinson told Rice and the other officers to begin a "daily narcotics initiative" focused on North Avenue and Mount Street, according to the email, and said he would be collecting "daily measurable" from them on their progress.

"This is effective immediately," Robinson wrote, noting that the officers should use cameras, informants and other covert policing tactics to get the job done.

Lt. Kenneth Butler, president of the Vanguard Justice Society, a group for minority and female Baltimore police officers, said that when orders such as Robinson's come down to target a specific corner, the response is consistent. "They want increased productivity, whether it be car stops, field interviews, arrests — that's what they mean by measurable," he said.

Butler, who said he has been a shift commander on and off for the past 15 years, added, "You have to use whatever tools you have — whether it be bike officers, cameras, foot officers, whatever you have — to abate that problem. So you're going to have to be aggressive."

Butler said that he has never seen such orders come from the state's attorney's office but that they come at the request of politicians and community leaders all the time.

"Once you're given an order, you have to carry it out. It's just that simple," he said.

Kinji Scott, a longtime community activist, defended Mosby's crime-fighting efforts. He said she did not order police to "put Freddie Gray in a situation where he had his spine severed. ... We cannot fault her for doing her job and being involved in the community."

Gray, 25, was arrested April 12 a couple of blocks south of North Avenue and Mount Street after making eye contact with police and running away, according to police. Mosby's office said Gray sustained a severe spinal cord injury while being transported in a police van.

His death a week later, April 19, touched off days of protests that culminated in looting, arson and rioting in a number of neighborhoods, forcing city officials to call in the National Guard and implement a curfew.

Officer Caesar R. Goodson Jr., the driver of the police van, was charged with second-degree depraved heart murder; Rice, Sgt. Alicia D. White and Officer William G. Porter have been charged with manslaughter.

Officers Edward M. Nero and Garrett E. Miller, the two others involved in Gray's arrest, face lesser charges, including second-degree assault.

Under Operation Ceasefire, which tries to break the cycle of recidivism by offering repeat offenders social services to leave crime behind, police and prosecutors sometimes share ideas and coordinate to keep the worst offenders off city streets.

According to Rosenblatt's email, Mosby had been contacted for help in addressing drug dealing at North and Mount by a "mentoring group" that described a "drug shop located directly outside of their facilities." Rosenblatt, a former city detective, said Mosby had received photographs from a resident of drug dealing at the corner.

"I realize that resources are thin for a long-term investigation, but hopefully we can combine community involvement with [the state's attorney's office and Police Department] cooperation to make something happen," Rosenblatt wrote.

Rosenblatt's Crime Strategies Unit, according to the state's attorney's website, uses "technology, data analysis, and intelligence-gathering to identify trends in crime, focus in on the offenders driving that crime, and target those offenders for enforcement."

Rosenblatt could not be reached for comment.

Defense attorneys for the six officers have argued previously that Mosby should not handle the case because of alleged conflicts of interest, including "the seizing of political and personal gain by" Mosby and her husband, City Councilman Nick Mosby, and close ties between her and attorney William H. "Billy" Murphy Jr., who represents Gray's family.

Nick Mosby represents the district where the worst of the rioting occurred after Gray's death. Murphy supported Marilyn Mosby's election campaign, served on her transition committee and represented her in a matter before the Attorney Grievance Commission.

Murphy declined to comment Tuesday; Nick Mosby did not respond to a request for comment.

Mosby and her office have dismissed the alleged conflicts as baseless.

In a state filing, Chief Deputy State's Attorney Michael Schatzow called the suggestion that Nick Mosby's position was a conflict that should prevent her from trying casesin an entire city district "truly a breathtaking non-sequitur."

Schatzow also wrote that the "notion that Mrs. Mosby would bring baseless criminal charges with the entire nation watching just so that Mr. Murphy might have some advantage in the civil case is ludicrous."

In the same filing, Schatzow said Gray's arrest was illegal.

"Mr. Gray was arrested well before the arresting officers knew he possessed a knife," Schatzow wrote. "Mr. Gray was handcuffed at his surrendering location, moved a few feet away, and placed in a prone position with his arms handcuffed behind his back, all before the arresting officers found the knife."

Defense attorneys said in their filing Tuesday that Mosby's office had come up with this "new theory" to support otherwise unfounded charges against the arresting officers. They wrote that the involuntary detention of a suspect using handcuffs prior to an arrest — known commonly as a "stop and frisk" — is legal according to decisions by the Supreme Court and Maryland appeals courts, as well as the Baltimore Police Department's general orders.

Stop-and-frisk policies have long been controversial in Baltimore, where a decade of "zero-tolerance" policing, including under then-Mayor Martin O'Malley, sparked resentment from residents, especially in predominantly African-American neighborhoods where residents say young men are harassed by police.

In 2013, Baltimore police stopped using the term "stop-and-frisk" to describe their tactics, but continued stopping and searching individuals suspected of criminal activity.

Under a 2006 general order that was valid until April of this year, officers were told they could use handcuffs during "involuntary detentions" based on "reasonable suspicion" — a standard that "is more than mere suspicion, but less than probable cause."

a revised policy was issued, but it did not change the department's basic stance on the use of handcuffs during such stops. According to the policy, "investigative stops" can involve the "delay or hindrance of an individual's freedom of movement" when an officer has a "reasonable, articulable suspicion" to justify it.

Such a suspicion can be based on a variety of actions, the policy says, including "furtive behavior," "evasive conduct or unprovoked flight" and "presence in a high crime area."

Byron Warnken, a law professor at the University of Baltimore, said there is "an amorphous sliding scale between a stop and an arrest." It is based on overall circumstances, including how long a person is detained, use of force and the factors that led the officers to become suspicious.

Warnken's firm was hired by Mosby's office before Gray's arrest to train Baltimore officers on Fourth Amendment issues. He said he will be teaching nuances of the law to officers enrolled in his training courses in the coming weeks.

The defense attorneys said Gray was only detained long enough for officers to protect their safety with a weapons check and confirm their suspicions of criminal activity through the discovery of the knife.

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Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun

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Fact-checking the terminations by Baltimore Police Department

Fact check: Baltimore police chief's comment on terminations doesn't match records.

As the nation watched the Baltimore unrest that followed Freddie Gray's death in police custody, police Commissioner Anthony Batts told reporters that he had worked for years to address brutality and other misconduct on the force.

"I have been a reform commissioner. I have taken over an organization that has many challenges and faced it head-on," Batts, who became commissioner in 2012, said during a nationally televised news conference on April 24.

"Whether it's from terminating 50 employees over the last two years for misconduct within this organization; whether it's from dropping officer-involved shootings 50 to 40 percent over the previous years. … Whether it's standing here taking tough questions during tough times. We're gonna continue to serve the city in a strong way."

Baltimore police union: Cops more afraid of going to jail than getting shotBut Batts overstated the number of terminations, according to statistics from the Police Department and the city. Here's a comparison:

The 50 terminations that Batts mentioned did not match records the department provided to The Baltimore Sun in September, shortly before it published a six-month investigation into brutality allegations.

From October 2012 through September 2014, 20 employees had been terminated under Batts, according to the records. Of those, 12 were either "police probationary officers or police officer trainees." Probationary employees can be terminated at any time unless they are accused of having used excessive force. For an excessive force accusation, the state Law Enforcement Officers' Bill of Rights offers them limited protections.

In March, officials responded to The Sun's request for the number of firings and terminations since Batts became the city's top cop. Spokespersons for Batts and Mayor Stephanie-Rawlings Blake answered: 25.

When Batts pegged the number at 50 last month, The Sun asked the Police Department and mayor's office to explain the difference in the numbers. Neither responded.

But in an online memo posted last week about reforms under Batts, the department said, "In the last 21/2 years, more than 25 employees have been terminated for misconduct. Nearly 50 employees in total have been separated from the agency" since Batts took over.

This isn't the first time that Batts' public statements did not match records.

In December, the commissioner announced that he had been named to President Barack Obama's Task Force on 21st Century Policing. His words quickly landed on websites and made news in the city.

"I'm excited and honored to have been selected to be a member of this Task Force," Batts said in a statement at the time. "The work we are doing in Baltimore to rebuild public trust will be a tremendous benefit to me as we look to improve community relations nationwide."

The announcement surprised officials at the U.S. Department of Justice and the White House; they said Obama had not included Batts on the task force. A spokeswoman for Batts attributed the gaffe to "confusion" after the commissioner attended a White House meeting.

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Baltimore police horse bit hand of child in wheelchair, lawsuit says

The investigation revealed that police leaders, city attorneys and other top officials were not keeping track of officers who repeatedly faced such allegations. The Sun's investigation also showed that city policies helped shield the scope and impact of alleged police brutality from the public. For example, settlement agreements include a clause that prohibits injured residents from making any public statement — or talking to the news media — about the incidents.

The city is exploring whether to abolish the clause requiring residents to remain silent after accepting a settlement.

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RATT squad celebrates 20 years of success

Police squad cuts car thefts by half in 2005

Published  6:08 PM EDT

Apr 01, 2015

BALTIMORE —The police squad responsible for cutting car thefts by half by 2005 is celebrating 20 years of success.

Having your car stolen off the streets of Baltimore in the 1990s was far from unusual. Baltimore City, Baltimore County and state police knew something had to change.

Versatile gear scanning for stolen cars has transformed the Regional Auto Theft Taskforce. A computerized-voice gets Detective Brian Ralph's attention as the computer and camera spots a wanted man's license plate. In seconds, Ralph is on it and an arrest comes minutes later.

"Unique to every car is its license plate, and years ago, cops could really only rely on their eyesight spotting that needle in the haystack, but now they have technology that can zoom in to any passing car," Ralph said.

Ralph said auto thefts in the city and county reached 20,000 vehicles in the mid-1990s.

"You were always going from stop to stop to stop. Someone else would have another stolen car before you had the other one stopped," Ralph said.

The RATT squad cut thefts in half by 2005 with more manpower, intel and computers.

"Nowadays, the tag reader does a lot for us and almost instantaneously tells us if we pass a car that's stolen or not," Ralph said.

Technology doesn't get all the credit, though. The regional officers making-up RATT are known for their intense training and investigative skills, pinpointing the joyriders who you unknowingly may have been helping.

"Believe it or not, over 75 percent of the cars that RATT recovers have the keys left in them or were stolen with the keys," Ralph said.

In the end, Ralph said it's about helping those who lost one of their most valuable possessions.

"That's their livelihood. That's how they get back and forth to work, and by doing that, you feel good about what you do every day," Ralph said.The police squad responsible for cutting car thefts by half by 2005 is celebrating 20 years of success.

Having your car stolen off the streets of Baltimore in the 1990s was far from unusual. Baltimore City, Baltimore County and state police knew something had to change.

Versatile gear scanning for stolen cars has transformed the Regional Auto Theft Taskforce. A computerized-voice gets Detective Brian Ralph's attention as the computer and camera spots a wanted man's license plate. In seconds, Ralph is on it and an arrest comes minutes later.

"Unique to every car is its license plate, and years ago, cops could really only rely on their eyesight spotting that needle in the haystack, but now they have technology that can zoom in to any passing car," Ralph said.

Ralph said auto thefts in the city and county reached 20,000 vehicles in the mid-1990s.

"You were always going from stop to stop to stop. Someone else would have another stolen car before you had the other one stopped," Ralph said.

The RATT squad cut thefts in half by 2005 with more manpower, intel and computers.

"Nowadays, the tag reader does a lot for us and almost instantaneously tells us if we pass a car that's stolen or not," Ralph said.

Technology doesn't get all the credit, though. The regional officers making-up RATT are known for their intense training and investigative skills, pinpointing the joyriders who you unknowingly may have been helping.

"Believe it or not, over 75 percent of the cars that RATT recovers have the keys left in them or were stolen with the keys," Ralph said.

In the end, Ralph said it's about helping those who lost one of their most valuable possessions.

"That's their livelihood. That's how they get back and forth to work, and by doing that, you feel good about what you do every day," Ralph said.

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Man dies in officer-involved shooting in west Baltimore
Man with knife wouldn't obey commands, police say
UPDATED 11:11 PM EST Jan 24, 2015
BALTIMORE —Police are investigating a fatal officer-involved shooting Saturday night in the 1900 block of McHenry Street in west Baltimore.
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Authorities say the deadly encounter happened while the officer was on routine patrol. Someone flagged down the officer, saying a man in his 20s was threatening to stab people.
According to police, when the officer located the man, the subject refused to drop the knife and obey commands. The officer shot him once in the chest.
Authorities said the officer, who has been on the force for about two years, made the appropriate notifications and then tried to help.
"This is indicative of a couple of things, one is, the officer being at the right place, the officer courageously confronting an individual who was armed and unfortunately, individiuals who, in spite of an officer being in full uniform and giving very clear and precise directions, their refusing to follow those directions in what could be a a very deadly situation," Deputy Commissioner Jerry Rodriguez said.
Police say the man received immediate medical treatment but later died at the hospital.
The officer has been placed on administrative duty.

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Police Commissioner Batts says police need to tackle racism to build trust

Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony W. Batts told a national task force on policing Friday that law enforcement leaders need to "tackle racism" in the community and broaden their roles to focus on issues such as literacy, mentoring and mental illness.

"We need to learn to address crime through social justice as a whole," Batts said at the meeting in Phoenix, Ariz. "Leadership should be focused not just on crime-fighting, but tackling racism."

Batts told the task force, formed by President Barack Obama in December in response to unrest in Ferguson, Mo., that while his department has improved "every metric" of how it is judged, few recognize it because there is little trust. He pointed to a "visceral hatred of the Police Department."

He said racial issues hold the city back.

"When I go to Baltimore, on the East Coast, I'm dealing with 1950s-level black-and-white racism," he said. "It's taken a step back. Everything's either black or everything's white, and we're dealing with that as a community."

Through a spokesman, Batts declined to elaborate on the comment.

Batts said that on the West Coast, where he is from and spent 30 years as a police officer, there was a greater focus on diversity.

Obama created the national panel after the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager in Missouri by a white police officer, who was cleared of wrongdoing. The panel is exploring ways to build public trust and promote reductions in crime; the meeting was streamed online.

Reading from prepared remarks, Batts described efforts to reform Baltimore's Police Department, highlighting the importance of foot patrols in building relationships and saying that he has "eradicated" stop-and-frisk policies.

His remarks echoed those he has made in recent weeks, when he called his agency too "one-dimensional" as an enforcement agency when it also needs to address the economic and social issues behind crime.

"People kept telling me as I toured the city that kids have nothing to do in the summertime," he said recently. "They don't even have food. They don't even have anything to eat. How can you address that?"

Batts has noted that police created a Police Explorer athletic camp for kids last year staffed by commanders and officers who refereed games and worked with the youths on character building. About 150 underprivileged youths attended and were fed two meals a day during the camp, he said. Batts said he plans to double attendance this year.

He also said he has urged officers to join a city literacy and mentoring program, in which they read to first- through third-graders. His goal is to have more employees participate than any city department or agency.

Speaking to the panel, Batts said that as a police chief, he has a "bully pulpit" to start conversations about "racism, sexism, literacy, mentoring, mental illness, character building."

Task force members asked Batts about maintaining officers' positive attitudes in the face of mounting criticism and a skeptical public.

Batts, making reference to the country "going to war over misinformation" and "priests who've been pedophiles," said people have become more cynical and police will be increasingly questioned.

"It's not going to get better — it's going to get worse," he said. "So we have to build employees who understand what that customer base is going to become."

Batts brought up the recent shooting of a city police officer, Andrew Groman, and Batts' remarks outside of the hospital that night in which he questioned whether people would march to support officers like they were marching against them in protest.

"That caused an atom bomb in my community, making that statement," Batts said. "However, I got notes from around the country, from around the world — moms, dads, wives, sons who have lost their loved ones."

"At some point in time, we have to move away from just 'Black Lives Matter' ... but 'All Lives Matter.' There needs to be a reverence for all life, across the board. If you can't make that statement on both sides, we have a bigger issue."

But Richmond, Calif., Police Chief Chris Magnus, a member of Batts' panel, disagreed with that framing of the issue, saying police leaders shouldn't diminish the sentiment voiced about deaths of black people in confrontations with police.

"We have to get away from the idea that it's a 'pick one or the other' kind of contest, which I think leads us nowhere," Magnus said.

Batts also was asked about the use of community "intermediaries" to build trust. Batts said he reaches out to pastors in neighborhoods to "give us credibility."

Previous Baltimore police commissioners have discussed the need for police to play a larger social role. Thomas C. Frazier, also a West Coast transplant who was commissioner from 1994 to 1999, famously billed himself as a "social worker with a gun."

But when Edward T. Norris took over, he said "there are social workers in the city. There are other agencies that provide jobs and other services. We're the police."

Frederick H. Bealefeld III, who was commissioner from 2007 to 2012, cut arrests significantly and promoted community outreach, but also cautioned about the need for police to "stay in our lanes."

Cincinnati Police Chief Jeff Blackwell said that as police become "more guardian-like and less warrior-like," they can fix poor relationships with their communities and be their own messengers.

"In some communities where it's really bad, you need leverage — you need 'lever-pullers,' " he said. "I don't want that in my city. I want to be the person that is connected enough to the community where I don't have to leverage a relationship with someone else so I can come somewhere and talk to people and have my message be received.

"I don't think for a minute anyone in the room thinks people in urban cores don't really want our help," Blackwell said. "The problem has become over the years the disenfranchisement that they've experienced due to police misconduct or perceived police misconduct."

The situation has "created barriers where people will live with the crime rather than call the police and not know what kind of service they're going to receive," he said.

Batts said police are making up for decades of well-meaning but misguided strategies, including "mass arrests."

"We thought we were doing God's work. We thought we were making a difference," Batts said. "We obliterated communities. … We have to find a new way to be a part of the solution."

Baltimore Sun reporter Justin George contributed to this article.

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A new era for city police
Recruits: More women and minorities are joining Baltimore's police force than before, some on a personal mission to clean up crime on city streets.

August 21, 2000|By Laura Cadiz | Laura Cadiz,SUN STAFF

Olivia A. Jackson doesn't fit the profile of the typical recruit at the Baltimore Police Academy.

At 47, she is the oldest member and one of the few women in her class. Her drive to become a police officer, she said, is fueled by the desire to improve the city, especially for her three grandchildren, ages 1, 5 and 11.

"I have a stake in this city, I have family in this city," Jackson said. "I don't want to see the city go down."

She is one of 33 police officer trainees, in their fifth week at the academy, who reflect the diversity of new hires.

They've made the first cut - only one in 25 applicants qualifies to be a recruit - but they still face a tough six-month regimen before graduating as police officers in March. Usually, only about 2 percent of the trainees drop out, but none has left this class, said Lt. Susan Young, the academy commander. Five classes have been formed so far this year.

Before it's over, the recruits will learn law enforcement skills, including firearm safety, self-protection and how to write reports, drive police cruisers in emergency situations and hand out parking tickets. They wear blue police shirts, but their khaki pants set them apart from police officers.

They learn Maryland criminal law in the classroom at the department's education and training section downtown near City Hall, run miles through city streets and practice shooting at the police firing range in Gunpowder Falls State Park in Baltimore County. But they won't be issued Glock 9 mm handguns until two days before graduation.

Specific numbers comparing the number of women and minorities are hard to come by, but the general trend is moving upward. Women represent 22 percent of new hires, compared to 16 percent last year, and minority hires have increased 61 percent for the first half of this year compared to all of last year, police said.

Ten women are in the current police academy class, and that 30 percent is higher than past classes, Young said.

She said society recognizes that women are more than capable of working in law enforcement.

"It's reflective of an increase in females in what are the `nontraditional' roles," she said. "It serves to reinforce to younger girls that whatever they want to do, they're perfectly capable of doing that."

Young, who has headed the academy for two years, said the police department attracts older recruits because law enforcement offers a stable job in public service.

"It's something that they wanted to do all their lives and never had an opportunity to do," she said.

Jackson said she would have attended law school when she was younger if she had had the money and opportunity. Instead, she joined the city police department in 1991, working first as an office assistant and then as a community-service officer - uniformed administrative positions that have no police powers.

After nine years, Jackson decided to see if she had what it takes to be a police officer.

She passed a rigorous selection process, including a written exam, background check and physical agility test, to be accepted into the police academy.

After two weeks of training, Jackson was named one of the class' six squad leaders and oversees five classmates.

Officer Jeffrey Redd, the class instructor, said he selected Jackson as a leader because he had a "good feeling" about her, and she had strong leadership skills and a long history with the department.

"Her ability to give that motherly instinct, her maturity, had a lot to do with it," he said.

The new leadership of Mayor Martin O'Malley and Police Commissioner Edward T. Norris is an added benefit to Jackson's career move. The police academy recruits receive a salary of $31,000 with full benefits, thanks to a recent injection of funds from O'Malley. Jackson said she was pleased that city officials have committed to increasing the number of officers and raising officers' starting salaries 26 percent from $28,404 to $35,784 over three years, making it competitive with suburban county departments. The Board of Estimates needs to approve the pact before it's final.

"I think it's a good move on behalf of the mayor to pass that through," she said.

Jackson has firsthand experience with city crime: She lives in an area where gunfire peppers the night, she said. She grew up at Whitelock Street and Druid Hill Avenue in the 1950s, when neighbors looked out for the community, children respected property and drug sales didn't take place openly on the street.

"It hurts to see the level that Baltimore is at now," she said. "I know the community it can be."

So does fellow trainee Cornell J. Williams, 24, of Baltimore. He said he is dedicated to serving the city where he grew up. "It took a neighborhood to raise me, so I want to give back to it," he said.

Both Williams and Jackson said they are optimistic, given the mayor's and commissioner's dedication to curbing city crime.

However, Jackson feels the public should do more to improve neighborhoods.

"The people have to get involved in cleaning up their neighborhood," she said. "I want to be part of the solution."

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Dan Aykroyd to Make Donation to Trust Fund for Slain Officer Robert Wilson's Kids
article 2546530 1AFE579F00000578 130 634x343

By Vince Lattanzio
Actor Dan Aykroyd at the Philadelphia Flower Show on Friday.
Updated at 10:18 PM EST on Friday, Mar 6, 2015

Actor and comedian Dan Aykroyd says he'll make a donation to a fund set up for the children of slain Philadelphia Police Officer Robert Wilson III.
The "Saturday Night Live" and "Ghostbusters" star made the announcement during an appearance at the Philadelphia Flower Show on Friday. He was at the show promoting his vodka, Crystal Head.

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Trust Fund for Family of Officer Robert Wilson III - Wilson died Thursday after being gunned down during an attempted robbery at a North Philadelphia GameStop store. The 8-year veteran assigned to the 22nd District was in the store doing a security check and was in the process of buying a game for his 8-year-old son when the gunmen entered. Police called Wilson a hero who drew away fire from store employees and continued to shoot at both suspects, even after being hit. Two brothers, 30-year-old Carlton Hipps and 26-year-old Ramone Williams, have been charged with the officer's murder.

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Hero Officer Died Protecting Innocent Bystanders
A trust fund was set up Friday for the 30-year-old officer's two sons, the 8-year-old and a 1-year-old. The fund is being managed by the Police and Fire Federal Credit Union. Donations can be made in person at the following branches: 901 Arch Street
7604 City Avenue
8500 Henry Avenue
Leo Mall, Byberry and Bustleton Avenue
7500 Castor Avenue
3300 Grant Avenue

Checks can be mailed and made payable to:

The Robert Wilson III Family Memorial Trust Fund
Police and Fire Federal Credit Union
901 Arch Street
Philadelphia PA, 19107

Published at 7:35 PM EST on Mar 6, 2015

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Officer Shot Man After Police Say
"She Feared for Life in Struggle"

By Justin George and Justin Fenton The Baltimore Sun This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Baltimore police say an officer had no choice but to shoot a man during a struggle
Police shoot unarmed man they say fought officer during struggle
Man shot Thursday by police remains in stable condition while investigation starts

A Baltimore police officer feared for her life when she shot a suspect during a struggle in Northwest Baltimore, police said Friday.

Police commanders said they believe the officer's actions Thursday were justified. The suspect was shot in the abdomen and was recovering Friday after surgery, police said.

"When we pull the trigger, that is the last option," said Deputy Commissioner Jerry Rodriguez.

It was the second time in a month that a Baltimore officer shot a suspect. The other incident occurred Dec. 28 in East Baltimore.

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Police shoot suspect in Northwest Baltimore

Police said officers encountered the suspect about 9:05 p.m. Thursday after they saw a van with its headlights off in the 4400 block of Reisterstown Road. Police tried to pull the van over, but it fled and then crashed near a senior center in the 4300 block of Pimlico Road.

Police said the driver and two occupants jumped out of the vehicle and ran. A group of officers gave chase, and a juvenile was arrested without a struggle.

Another officer caught up to a suspect, who began to resist arrest, Rodriguez said.

"We have reason to believe the man turned on the officer," he said.

The officer felt overpowered and had no choice but to shoot the man, Rodriguez said. The suspect was described as 6 feet, 2 inches tall, weighing 235 pounds.

The man, who was shot once in the abdomen, escaped before police found him wounded on the porch of a vacant home on Loyola Northway.

Rodriguez said the man was a "documented dangerous individual" with a "violent past."

"An officer is allowed as a last resort to defend themselves, their partner or the community," he said.

The van's third occupant was arrested after a "minor" struggle, Rodriguez said. Police say he was struck with a Taser. No officers were injured.

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Man who robbed bank dressed as woman gets 17 years

The names of the three suspects were not released because they haven't been charged, police said Friday. The name of the officer won't be released for 48 hours, as is Baltimore police policy. She was placed on paid leave while the department's Force Investigation Team reviews the shooting.

Part of the incident was captured on a CitiWatch surveillance camera, police said.

Baltimore police last shot a suspect Dec. 28 in East Baltimore. Officers responded to the 3000 block of Monument St., where they said Michael John Johansen, 45, was burglarizing a corner store. Johansen came out of the store holding something "shiny," police said. When he did not obey police commands, an officer shot him once in the upper torso.

Police did not say at the time whether Johansen had a weapon and said this month they could not comment further on the case because it was being reviewed by prosecutors.

Johansen survived after surgery. Court records show he faces multiple charges of burglary and failure to obey a law enforcement officer. No weapons charges were listed in the court records.

The Police Department also recently posted documents online detailing another officer-involved shooting on Jan. 13, 2014, in which an officer shot a suspect who had already shot himself in the head.

The report obscures the names of the officers and civilians involved, but the agency previously identified the officer who fired the shot as Detective Warren Benn and the victim as Perry Webb, 24.

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Police aim for shot of reality Training video offers different scenarios, tracks hits and misses

August 03, 1998|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann, SUN STAFF

Officer Christopher Smith confronted a man breaking into a car in a downtown parking lot. The suspect bent down as if he had dropped a gun when a second man popped up from behind the car and opened fire.

Smith quickly shot back and killed both men with four shots.

But he missed -- six times.

"Just remember, we are accountable for every bullet we fire," said Officer Bush Hopkins, a firearms training instructor. "It could have been a perfectly good shooting, like this was, but if one bullet hits a bystander, you are up a creek."

Smith was in a dark room last week at the Baltimore Police Department's firing range at Gunpowder Falls State Park in Baltimore County. The gunmen he shot were on a video projection screen, a high-tech interactive training device to test how officers react in split-second life and death situations.

Each short video presents a scenario taken from the blotters of the Los Angeles Police Department. Officers react to the images on the screen, which then react differently depending upon what the officer does.

A mock 9mm Glock that the officer carries into potential combat is wired to a computer that monitors the officer's performance. The Glock is a replica of the weapon police are issued.

When the officer shoots at the screen, the computer records where the bullets go -- hit or miss.

But this is more than just target practice. Instructors such as Hopkins want the officers to shout out commands -- such as freeze -- and take cover behind a mock brick wall, just as they would in real life. Instructors can make the officer's gun jam, forcing him to reload. And many times, the scenario does not justify the officer pulling the trigger.

"It's one thing to shoot at paper targets all day," said Lt. Edward Frost. "But with moving targets and stress, their marksmanship goes down significantly. This is as close as you can get to a real gunfight."

$60,000 system

Friday morning, nine officers took turns at four scenarios, part of their in-service training that is required each year. The department bought the $60,000 Firearms Training System in January, and the officers who were tested Friday had never seen it before.

Most of the officers performed above average, hitting the bad guys. But all but one had too many stray bullets.

Instructors cautioned that even officers who are top scorers during target practice do poorly when confronted in the computer simulation. "It's a humbling experience," Frost said.

Baltimore police shot 16 people in 1997, four of them fatally. Also, a police lieutenant was shot and killed. Thus far this year, police have wounded seven and killed four. Most of the shootings have been ruled justified, though several have sparked considerable controversy, including last year's shooting of a knife-wielding man at crowded Lexington Market.

In 1995, three officers engaged in a gun battle with an escaped murderer in Southwest Baltimore. A bullet ricocheted off a brick wall and hit a bystander in the head from a half-block away. The bystander, and the murderer, died.

The interactive video demonstrated how quickly a routine call can turn into a disaster.

A young graffiti vandal dropped a can of spray paint in one video clip, but in a flash he put his hands to his waistband, drew a gun and opened fire before it was evident he was holding a weapon.

Instructors have nearly 100 scenarios to choose from, and most can be altered. A man who plunges a knife into an officer's chest in one case simply walks away in another. An innocent person in one is an armed criminal in another.

Man in shadows

Drive-by shootings, muggings and domestic calls are among the scenarios. Suspects are encountered in crowded shopping malls and darkened warehouses, where officers have to quickly decide if an armed man hiding in a shadow is a criminal, a fellow undercover detective or a regular citizen.

Officer Christopher Bielicki, opening fire on three gunmen hiding behind concrete pillars, managed to hit and kill two. But he missed 10 times. "You were just pulling the trigger," Hopkins told him after viewing the location of each errant shot.

But Hopkins was pleased that Bielicki kept his gun trained on one of the suspects even after he was down. The wounded man struggled to his knees and raised his gun before being shot twice more.

"I've been in that situation," said Bielicki, who shot and wounded a 32-year-old man in December. "The guy kept coming even after I shot him."

But one officer, who asked not to be identified, didn't fare so well at first. The officer's first test was a video of a mentally disturbed woman sitting on the the ground, warning people to stay away. "My husband is buried here," the woman said in the scenario.

As the camera closed in, the woman reached into her black purse, pulled out a gun and aimed it at the officer. Two shots rang out before the officer pulled her gun from her holster; she finally fired a shot after the shooter had walked off the screen, and the bullet sailed into a nearby house.

"That was kind of a delayed reaction," Hopkins said. "What were you shooting at?"

"I don't know," the police officer answered. "I thought the computer was waiting for me to shoot."

She did better on the next scenario, however, confronting a man with a gun at a bank machine. "You had two lethal hits, one non-lethal hit and no misses," Hopkins told her. "Good."

Pub Date: 8/03/98

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Man shot in the leg Thursday night, Baltimore police say

The incident unfolded in the 1800 block of E. Lanvale St. as two officers from the Special Enforcement Section pulled over a vehicle after watching someone climb into the car who appeared to be concealing an object, police said.

After Benn placed one of the passengers in handcuffs, another officer said he saw Webb in the car holding a gun. According to the investigative report, the officer yelled "gun," took out his service weapon and took cover.

Police say Webb discharged the gun once, and Benn fired at Webb, striking him in his side.

When other officers arrived, they said Webb had gunshot wounds to his side and head, and was still holding the gun in his hand. An autopsy determined he died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, police said.

The second man in the vehicle, identified in court records as 26-year-old Adam Williams, told detectives that he believed Webb had a weapon because he was "seeking revenge for the death of his cousin," according to the report. A backpack found in the car had an additional handgun inside, police said.

Williams was convicted of a handgun violation and sentenced to one year in jail.

The report posted on the Baltimore Police Department's website says a "Use of Force review board" found the shooting adhered to policy because of an imminent threat. They also found that the traffic stop was conducted properly. After the shooting, Benn completed a training program and "was able to display his ability to perform within the scope of departmental use of force policies," the report says.

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Baltimore police change work schedule

Officers to work 4 days per week, 10 hours per day

BALTIMORE —Baltimore City police are changing tactics in how they schedule officers in an effort to make officers' jobs more efficient and city streets safer.

Police said the new plan will give the department flexibility to rapidly move officers to areas where crime is occurring.

Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said the strategy behind the Baltimore City Police Department's new public safety deployment plan is to get more officers on the streets where and when they are needed.

"Under this new schedule, Commissioner (Anthony) Batts will have the power to quickly and more efficiently flood neighborhoods experiencing increased violence. He will be able to more effectively implement strategies that allow our police officers to spend more time getting to know our residents," Rawlings-Blake said.

The Police Department's schedule is expanding from three to four shifts with officers, mostly on patrol, working four days a week, 10 hours a day.

The police commissioner said it's a more efficient way to fight crime, saying it's driven by calls for service. Batts said the plan is designed to have overlap, with officers always on the streets. The plan will also reduce overtime and create more community policing.

"That means officers have the ability now to get out of their car, to go to community meetings, engage with the community, and the community has made it very clear time and again, 'We want walking beats,'" Batts said.

Batts said he thinks the plan will give officers more time with their families and that will improve morale. But whenever police make a schedule change, the commissioner said he knows criminals take notice.

"Our strategy is based on throwing them off constantly, so we're changing our strategies on a regular basis. We're not going to dramatically change the schedule, but what it does allow us to do is move smaller pieces around. We'll have more resources independently to do more things with, so I think that will be a positive for us," Batts said.

Baltimore City Fraternal Order of Police President Gene Ryan and members of the Community Relations Council said they are also supportive of the plan, saying more officers will be on the streets during heavy-crime periods.

For the first time in the Police Department's history, officers were given an opportunity to choose their daily work schedule through a bidding process. Each officer's work schedule was awarded based on seniority, according to the mayor's office.

"The new schedule is a direct result of our new union contract," Ryan said. "The negotiations required to bring this new contract to fruition were often very difficult; however, each struggle strengthened the resolve to bring us to this point."

The new plan takes effect Sunday.

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WHAT FERGUSON MEANS FOR AMERICA'S POLICE

Every police officer in America knows one thing – it could have been him, or her.
It could have been him or her, instead of Darren Wilson, who pulled that trigger on Michael Brown, or some such similar young man. Every cop in America knows that, in return for choosing a career in law enforcement, the rules of the road are now that, at any minute, it could all be over and you could become hated and condemned all across the country. No one would have your back, even the president could denounce you. Because you defended yourself.
In a twist on biting the hand that feeds you, we are instead tying the hands that defends us. We are sending them out, and waiting for the first chance to gut them. It is an incomprehensible act of ingratitude.
All across American law enforcement, officers know that the new reality facing them when they pull their gun is: By defending myself, I could be condemning myself. Take Darren Wilson, a good police officer on routine patrol. He’s coming back from a call and has brief contact with two individuals. Nothing comes of it until he moves a ways down the block and gets a radio description of a wanted individual matching one of the young men he’s just seen. Rolling back up on the two individuals, the larger of them (Michael Brown) lunges into the driver’s window of the squad car and begins assaulting Officer Wilson. Michael Brown then tries to take the officer’s gun. The officer gets a round off, Michael Brown attempts to flee, and then charges at the officer, twice, before being shot to death. In the mind of witnesses and Darren Wilson!
Michael Brown was set to attack and was an immediate threat to the life of Officer Wilson. So Officer Wilson did what his training taught him to do. He did what instinct, morality and the laws of men command him to do, he defended himself, and his life has been ruined for it. His career is over, his family is threatened, his name is destroyed, he has been vilified across the country, and by the nation’s most prominent voices. People have rioted demanding imprisonment for him, and there have been countless threats on his life. His life, as he knew it, is over. Because he was a cop and he defended himself!
An entire society has forgotten that Darren Wilson is not the perpetrator of a crime, he is the victim of a crime. Likewise, it has been forgotten that Darren Wilson was an officer of the law with a duty to act, and that he was on patrol that day in the name and service of the people. It is dispiriting to see how instantly the people have turned on him and his profession. You get up in the morning and put on a uniform that carries with it the obligation to potentially die in the service of your community, to put yourself between the good people and whatever species of hell pops up, and then, when you are literally fighting for your life and the community’s protection, nobody has your back. Everybody curses your name. Millions hate you. Much of the nation turns against you. In the matter of some 20 seconds.


Damned if you do, Dead if you don't
Every Officer in America wakes up every day knowing that that could be his fate. By the happenstance of random probability, the unpredictability of criminality, some wild hare seizing upon who knows what thug, and that could be you. It wouldn’t matter who you were, or what good you have done, how many years you had served, or what you had made of your life and to what good cause you had dedicated it. Al Sharpton would be yelling your name, mobs would be burning your effigy, and the president of the United States would be doing what he has been doing since he took officer (siding with criminal, acting as if you and your brothers and sisters are acting stupidly) while undercutting your profession. And who wants that?
What kind of person, having seen on the nation’s newscasts the destruction of Darren Wilson, wants to risk that? How many law enforcement officers will think of the danger associated with their thankless job, see the risk facing themselves and their family, recognize that it is completely unfair and wrong, and quit, or not perform their job, in a way that will truly protect us from the criminal element? How many will lay down their badge, and their career, and just walk away?
Probably none. Because that’s the kind of people most of them are. They press on. They do their duty. They don’t quit. That’s who they are. More at issue is: Who are we?
Are we the kind of society that looks on and does nothing, or are we the kind of society that values law enforcement, what it does, and vowl to have their backs? Or are we the kind of society that can look at the matter in Ferguson and push back the anti-cop prejudices, and honestly consider the situation of Darren Wilson? Can we recognize the injustice of his situation?
Not that he wasn’t prosecuted, but that he was ever suspected. That an officer of the law, the victim of a violent and felonious attack, can be forced into a fight for his life, and then be condemned for winning. Would society have preferred he die?
We all know that if the cop had died, instead of the guy who attacked him, that none of us would have ever heard of this. The president wouldn’t have commented, the nation wouldn’t have noticed, no one would have given a damn. Dead cop, no problem. - Dead thug, Raise Holy Hell!
Every cop knows that, and carries that sad realization 24 hours a day. The president said we need to train our police better. Maybe we need to train our society better. Maybe we should train the Michael Browns of the world to respect the law; maybe we should train the rest of us to respect our law enforcers, and have their backs. At least we could work to better understand the horrible risk and reality Ferguson creates for them. Because every cop knows today could be his day. How would work, what risks would you take, what precautions would you except.  

- by Bob Lonsberry © 2014 

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The Thin Blue Line; Get in Line, or Get Out

lies matter

The autopsy pic clearly shows his hands could not have been up, nor was he shot in the back.
When police are wrong, we want to see them arrested, we don't want dirty cops backing up good police. When people say they know of a dirty cop, other than pointing the finger at all police, what are they doing about the so called dirty cop they know.. IID/IAD should be called 396-2300. But to point the finger at all police, with a blanket statement, which amounts to profiling, "You wear a badge, you must be dirty!" This gets nothing done to rid us of the dirty corrupt cops, all you are doing is helping the dirty cops hide within the good police. If you really have information on a dirty cop, we want to know...  call 396-2300 Give them the officers name, description, and what he or she did... and when he or she did it... of you have pics, send them too, if you witnessed it, testify, if you don't want to testify, you should still give the info, IID/IAD can set a trap, or watch the officer to see if they do it again. Stop being counterproductive, stop pointing the finger at all police, and start pointing the finger at the right police.

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The Ferguson Fraud
By RICH LOWRY
25 November 2014

The bitter irony of the Michael Brown case is that if he had actually put his hands up and said don't shoot, he would almost certainly be alive today. His family would have been spared an unspeakable loss, and Ferguson, Missouri wouldn't have experienced multiple bouts of rioting, including the torching of at least a dozen businesses the night it was announced that Officer Darren Wilson wouldn't be charged with a crime.

Instead, the credible evidence (i.e., the testimony that doesn't contradict itself or the physical evidence) suggests that Michael Brown had no interest in surrendering. After committing an act of petty robbery at a local business, he attacked Officer Wilson when he stopped him on the street. Brown punched Wilson when the officer was still in his patrol car and attempted to take his gun from him.

The first shots were fired within the car in the struggle over the gun. Then, Michael Brown ran. Even if he hadn't put his hands up, but merely kept running away, he would also almost certainly be alive today. Again, according to the credible evidence, he turned back and rushed Wilson. The officer shot several times, but Brown kept on coming until Wilson killed him.

This is a terrible tragedy. It isn't a metaphor for police brutality or race repression or anything else, and never was. Aided and abetted by a compliant national media, the Ferguson protestors spun a dishonest or misinformed version of what happened—Michael Brown murdered in cold blood while trying to give up—into a chant ("hands up, don't shoot") and then a mini-movement.

When the facts didn't back their narrative, they dismissed the facts and retreated into paranoid suspicion of the legal system. It apparently required more intellectual effort than almost any liberal could muster even to say, "You know, I believe policing in America is deeply unjust, but in this case the evidence is murky and not enough to indict, let alone convict anyone of a crime." 

They preferred to charge that the grand jury process was rigged, because St. Louis County prosecutor Robert McCulloch didn't seek an indictment of Wilson and allowed the grand jury to hear all the evidence and make its own decision. This, Chris Hayes of MSNBC deemed so removed from normal procedure that it’s unrecognizable.

It's unusual, yes, but not unheard of for prosecutors to present a case to a grand jury without a recommendation to indict. Regardless, who could really object to a grand jury hearing everything in such a sensitive case? If any of the evidence were excluded that, surely, would have been the basis of other howls of an intolerably stacked deck.

It’s a further travesty, according to the Left, that Officer Wilson was allowed to testify to the grand jury. Never mind that it is standard operating procedure. As former prosecutor Andrew McCarthy points out, guilty parties usually don't testify because they have to do it without their lawyer present and anything they say can be used against them.

It is also alleged that the prosecutor McCulloch is biased because his father was a cop who was killed by a criminal. Follow this argument though to its logical conclusion and McCulloch would be unable to handle almost all cases, because of his engrained bias against criminality.

Finally, there is the argument that Wilson should have been indicted so there could be a trial "to determine the facts." Realistically, if a jury of Wilson's peers didn't believe there was enough evidence to establish probable cause to indict him, there was no way a jury of his peers was going to convict him of a crime, which requires the more stringent standard of beyond a reasonable doubt.

Besides, we don't try people for crimes they almost certainly didn't commit just to satisfy a mob that will throw things at the police and burn down local businesses if it doesn't get its way. If the grand jury had given into the pressure from the streets and indicted as an act of appeasement, the mayhem most likely would have only been delayed until the inevitable acquittal in a trial. 

The agitators of Ferguson have proven themselves proficient at destroying other people's property, no matter what the rationale. This summer, they rioted when the police response was "militarized" and rioted when the police response was un-militarized. Local businesses like the beauty-supply shops Beauty Town (hit repeatedly) and Beauty World (burned on Monday night) have been targeted for the offense of existing, not to mention employing people and serving customers.

Liberal commentators come back again and again to the fact that Michael Brown was unarmed and that, in the struggle between the two, Officer Wilson only sustained bruises to his face, or what Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo calls an "irritated cheek." The subtext is that if only Wilson had allowed Brown to beat him up and perhaps take his gun, things wouldn't have had to escalate.

There is good reason for a police officer to be in mortal fear in the situation Officer Wilson faced, though. In upstate New York last March, a police officer responded to a disturbance call at an office, when suddenly a disturbed man pummeled the officer as he was attempting to exit his vehicle and then grabbed his gun and shot him dead. The case didn't become a national metaphor for anything.

Ferguson, on the other hand, has never lacked for media coverage, although the narrative of a police execution always seemed dubious and now has been exposed as essentially a fraud. "Hands up, don't shoot" is a good slogan. If only it was what Michael Brown had done last August.

National Review

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Judge Threatens Detective with Contempt for Declining to Reveal Cellphone Tracking Methods
Baltimore prosecutors withdrew key evidence in a robbery case Monday rather than reveal details of the cellphone tracking technology police used to gather it.

The surprise turn in Baltimore Circuit Court came after a defense attorney pressed a city police detective to reveal how officers had tracked his client.

City police Det. John L. Haley, a member of a specialized phone tracking unit, said officers did not use the controversial device known as a stingray. But when pressed on how phones are tracked, he cited what he called a "nondisclosure agreement" with the FBI.

"You don't have a nondisclosure agreement with the court," Baltimore Circuit Judge Barry G. Williams replied. Williams threatened to hold Haley in contempt if he did not respond. Prosecutors decided to withdraw the evidence instead.

The tense exchange during a motion to suppress evidence in the robbery trial of 16-year-old Shemar Taylorwas the latest confrontation in a growing campaign by defense attorneys and advocates for civil liberties nationwide to get law enforcement to provide details of their phone tracking technology, and how and when they use it.

Law enforcement officials in Maryland and across the country say they are prohibited from discussing the technology at the direction of the federal government, which has argued that knowledge of the devices would jeopardize investigations.

"Courts are slowly starting to grapple with these issues," said Nathan Freed Wessler, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union who is tracking stingray cases. "What we're talking about is basic information about a very commonly used police tool, but because of the extreme secrecy that police have tried to invoke, there are not many court decisions about stingrays."

Defense attorney Joshua Insley still believes that police used a stingray to find Taylor. He cited a letter in which prosecutors said they were prohibited by the Department of Justice from disclosing information about methods used in their investigation.

The portable device was developed for the military to help zero in on cellphones. It mimics a cellphone tower to force nearby phones to connect to it.

Records shows that the Baltimore Police Department purchased a stingray for $133,000 in 2009.

Some critics say the use of such technology might be appropriate, with court approval, to help law enforcement locate a suspect. But in the secrecy surrounding its use, they say, it's not always clear that law enforcement officials have secured the necessary approval, or stayed within their bounds.

They also express concern for the privacy of other cellphones users whose data are caught up in a search.

In the case before the court Monday, two teens are accused of robbing a Papa John's pizza delivery driver at gunpoint in April.

Police say phone records show that the phone that was used to call in the delivery was also used to make and receive hundreds of calls to and from Taylor's phone. Police believe the first phone belonged to Taylor's co-defendant. They say Taylor confessed after he was arrested.

Taylor is being tried as an adult. The other suspectis being tried as a juvenile.

In court Monday, the robbery detective who prepared the warrant to search Taylor's home testified thatmembers of the department's Advanced Technical Team did a "ride-by" — described in court papers as "sophisticated technical equipment" — to determine one of the phones was inside the home. Detective Alan Savagesaid he did not know what technology or techniques the unit employs.

The defense then called Haley to the stand. He said police can use data from the cellphone companies to locate phones in real time.

Insley asked Haley whether police can ascertain a phone's location "independently," without the help of a phone company. Haley said yes.

When asked how, he balked.

"I wouldn't be able to get into that," Haley said.

Insley tried again later. Haley responded that police can get GPS location data from phone companies.

"Then there's equipment we would use that I'm not going to discuss that would aid us in that investigation," Haley said.

Williams, the judge, instructed Haley to answer the question. Haley invoked the nondisclosure agreement.

"I can't. I'm sorry. I can't," Haley said.

Williams called Insley's question "appropriate," and threatened to hold Haley in contempt if he did not answer.

Haley demurred again, and Assistant State's Attorney Patrick R. Seidel conferred with other prosecutors in court to observe the hearing.

Finally, Seidel said prosecutors would drop all evidence found during the search of the home — including, authorities have said, a .45-caliber handgun and the cellphone. The prosecutor said the state would continue to pursue the charges.

Wessler, of the ACLU, said Williams was right to ignore the nondisclosure agreement with the FBI.

"You can't contract out of constitutional disclosure obligations," Wessler said. "A secret written agreement does not invalidate the Maryland public records law [and] does not invalidate due process requirements of giving information to a criminal defendant."

Attorneys say they have suspected for years that police were employing secret methods to track cellphones. But only recently have they begun to find what they believe are clear examples.

Police and prosecutors in another case ran into a similar problem in September, when they were asked to reveal how a cellphone was tracked.

Sgt. Scott Danielczyk, another member of the Advanced Technical Team, testified in that home invasion case — also before Judge Williams — that police used data from a court order to track a cellphone to the general area of the 1400 block of E. Fayette St.

Danielczyk and three other members of the unit were tasked to "facilitate finding it," he testified, and determined the phone was in the possession of someone on a bus.

Williams asked how Danielczyk concluded the phone was being carried by the suspect.

"Um, we had information that he had the property on him," the officer said.

Williams pressed.

"This kind of goes into Homeland Security issues, your honor," Danielczyk said.

"If it goes into Homeland Security issues, then the phone doesn't come in," Williams said. "I mean, this is simple. You can't just stop someone and not give me a reason."

In that case, too, the phone evidence is no longer in play. Prosecutors are proceeding without it.

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Frank William Grunder, 96, City Police Lieutenant
June 09, 2005

Frank William Grunder, a retired Baltimore police lieutenant who ran the department's polygraph lab, died of kidney failure Saturday at Anne Arundel Medical Center. The Linthicum resident was 96, and the father of a slain city police sergeant.

Born in Baltimore and raised on Fort Avenue, he graduated in 1926 from Calvert Hall College High School, where he played tennis and football. As a young man, Lieutenant Grunder rowed for the old Arundel Rowing Club in the Patapsco River and was an alternate for the 1932 Olympic games held in Los Angeles.

He joined the Police Department in 1938 and was assigned to the criminal investigation division. He earned a law degree in 1943 from the Eastern School of Law, and was a 1952 graduate of the FBI National Academy.

He later worked in homicide and the crime lab and, from its inception in 1955 until his 1971 retirement, ran the polygraph unit.

"During the first month of operation in 1955, I administered two tests," he told a reporter for The Evening Sun in 1968. "Last month alone, we administered close to 100."

Lieutenant Grunder was a past president of the Arundel Optimist Club and lieutenant governor of the Maryland Chapter of the Optimist.

A son, Sgt. Frank W. Grunder Jr., head of the department's escapee and apprehension unit, was off duty and out with his wife and three young children Aug. 1, 1974, when he spotted a bank robbery suspect and was killed in a shoot-out.

A Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 9 a.m. today at St. Philip Neri Roman Catholic Church, 6405 S. Orchard Road, Linthicum.

Survivors include his wife of 68 years, the former Gertrude Nelligan; a son, Joseph Alan Grunder of Pasadena; a daughter, Lynda Marie Koch of Linthicum; 10 grandchildren; and 13 great-grandchildren.

James Kulbicki

Sergeant James A. Kulbicki at district court in Towson

Sun Paper pic with a partial caption, I don't think he deserves the title "Sergeant" anymore, and don't get how he can be given the title by this paper, when I have seen other articles in which an officer was injured, or lost their life and the title was either reduced to "Mr." or had "Former" in front of the rank, or is called a “COP”. I could be wrong but I think any officer that retires honorably deserves to hold and use their title, (If they so choose) but anyone that is dishonorably retired, or fired lost their title. Why the media would allow them to maintain that title has an agenda. Read more: http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/crime/blog/bal-exbaltimore-police-sergeant-granted-new-trial-in-murder-of-mistress-20140827,0,1273607.story#ixzz3Be1lJ2u9   Court of Appeals Opinion http://www.mdcourts.gov/opinions/coa/2014/13a13.pdf 

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Ex-Baltimore Police Sergeant Granted New Trial in Murder of Mistress

Court of Appeals said his lawyers should have challenged evidence harder Sgt. James A. Kulbicki at district court in Towson. Photo by Wm. G. Hotz Sr./file photo (Wm. G. Hotz Sr., Baltimore Sun file photo / January 13, 1993)
By Ian Duncan, The Baltimore Sun
12:31 p.m. EDT, August 27, 2014

A sharply divided appeals court granted a new trial to a former Baltimore Police Sergeant convicted in 1995 of murdering his young mistress, finding that his attorneys should have done more to attack questionable forensic evidence. James Kulbicki was convicted of killing 22-year-old Gina Nueslein, a convenience store clerk with whom he had fathered a child. Nueslein’s body was discovered in Gunpowder Falls State Park just a few days before a child support hearing was scheduled for the pair.
At his trial, Baltimore County prosecutors marshaled an array of forensic evidence against him. That included testimony from an FBI expert who compared bullet fragments found in the woman’s skull and Kulbicki’s truck and gun and found their chemical composition matched. But in the years since, the Court of Appeals has ruled that the conclusions reached based on that science are badly flawed and that bullet analysis should not be used as evidence in criminal cases. In Kulbicki’s case, the court found that questions about bullet comparison had already been raised at the time of his trial and should have been raised by his attorneys. “Kulbicki’s attorneys’ failure to appropriately investigate … and to challenge the State’s scientific evidence on cross-examination at trial, thus, fell short of prevailing professional norms,” Judge Lynne A. Battaglia wrote for the court. It’s the second time Kulbicki has secured a new trial. He was originally convicted in 1993, but the case was overturned and he was convicted again in 1995 and sentenced to life in prison without the chance of parole.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Read more: http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/crime/blog/bal-exbaltimore-police-sergeant-granted-new-trial-in-murder-of-mistress-20140827,0,1273607.story#ixzz3Bddl5KvE

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Batts to Remain Baltimore Police Commissioner for Six More Years

3:36 PM, Aug 27, 2014

BALTIMORE - Baltimore City Police Commissioner Anthony Batts will remain on the job for at least another six years.

Batts’ status with the department became official Wednesday during a confirmation hearing. Batts, who came from Oakland, Calif., has been on the job two years and replaced the retired Fred Bealefeld.

Batts has worked to help reduce the rate of violence in the city. Baltimore’s homicide rate remains behind last year’s pace, but the city has been rocked by a series of recent unsolved murders, including the drive-by shooting death of 3-year-oldMcKenzie Elliott and the shooting death of 20-year-old CCBC lacrosse player Devin Cook.

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City police to upgrade handguns
.40-caliber weapon to replace 9 mm for 3,200 in department
More `stopping power'
Officials say officers are `outgunned' by criminals on street

August 25, 2001|By Del Quentin Wilber | Del Quentin Wilber,SUN STAFF

Worried about being outgunned on city streets, Baltimore police are upgrading their weapons and expect to begin outfitting the department's 3,200 officers within the next few months.

Police are buying .40-caliber Glock handguns because they have larger shells than the department's 9 mm Glock pistols and more "stopping power," police officials said.

The new guns will also protect city residents, police said, because the .40-caliber bullets are less likely to travel through bodies and hit bystanders.

The bullets flatten out more than the 9 mm bullets, travel more slowly and have more force upon impact because they're slightly larger, said Lt. Col. Stanford Franklin, who heads the department's training division.

The added force will allow police to fire fewer rounds when they try to stop someone, decreasing the chance of errant shots, Franklin said.

"It's going to incapacitate a suspect" better than the 9 mm, Franklin said. "The less we have to fire, the better it is for everyone."

The .40-caliber and 9 mm handguns look alike and require the same trigger pressure to fire, Franklin said. The .40-caliber carries 15 rounds - two fewer than the 9 mm.

Franklin also said that police officials wanted to buy new weapons because the 9 mms were getting old. Most of those handguns were bought in the early 1990s, he said.

The purchase of the guns was approved Wednesday by the city's Board of Estimates. Baltimore police will pay Glock Inc. nearly $1.4 million for 3,350 .40-caliber handguns and 700 additional magazines.

It will take about a year to outfit the department, officials said.

Resale plan abandoned

Police officials had planned on trading their 9 mm weapons to Glock in exchange for the upgrade, a plan that would have substantially reduced the price - from $414 per pistol to about $150 each, said Bert F. Shirey, deputy police commissioner.

But police shied away from that plan because Glock would have sold the department's weapons overseas. Police officials feared the handguns might be used in a crime in another country or find their way back to Maryland.

Shirey said that the department's legal experts examined a state law that probably would have prevented the trade anyway.

The law passed last year says law enforcement agencies may only destroy their guns, sell them to another police force, sell them to retired state troopers or sell them to the officers who used the guns.

Baltimore police will be offered the chance to buy their Glocks, Shirey said. Those that aren't bought will be destroyed.

"If these ended up on the streets of Baltimore, it would be on our plate," he said.

Trend of gun upgrades

Baltimore police are on the tail end of a nationwide trend to upgrade police weapons. In 1998, Maryland State Police switched to .40-caliber handguns. Howard County switched to .40-calibers in March last year and Baltimore County police received their first shipments of .40-calibers late last year. All those departments had been using 9 mm weapons.

"The .40-caliber seems to be the caliber of choice for law enforcement," said Paul Jannuzzo, a vice president at Glock.

Baltimore police had been mulling a switch to more powerful handguns for about a year. Police Commissioner Edward T. Norris said in June that he hoped to quickly upgrade to the .40-calibers because he was concerned about police being "outgunned" on city streets.

Increasing firepower

Last year, city police seized 644 handguns that were more powerful than their 9 mms, according to city police statistics.

Gary McLhinney, president of the local police union, said the upgrade was needed to protect officers.

"The fire power of the criminals on the street is increasing," McLhinney said. "We're facing greater and greater danger."

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AS 600-PAGE SURVEY RAPS CITY POLICE

RICHARD H LEVINE

The Sun (1837-1987); Jan 10, 1966;

pg. A1

Organized crime, place our terms of widespread

Police recruit standards down low…… page A9

By Richard Levine

The Baltimore Police Department has been closely examined and found to be seriously inadequate by the nation’s leading consulting firm specializing in police administration.

The 600 page report issued last night focuses severe criticism at the quality of leadership and management in the police department.

It points up many areas of critical deficiencies and levels both broad and detailed attacks on almost all aspects of police service, all phases of police administration and all divisions, bureaus, squads and specialized functions.

Reorganization Asked

It recommends an immediate, total reorganization of the department and immediate attention to some essential policing responsibilities that are most severely crippled by bad management practices.

It asserts that despite contrary opinion of the public, Baltimore is saddled with place and organization crimes of major proportions.

The report is the result of a $52,000 March to October study conducted by the field service division of the international Association of Chiefs of police.

Besides the dissection of the department problems, the report contains detailed recommendations for improvements.

Two Principal Concerns

The report bears down particularly hard on the top principal concerns of the Police Department – crime control and traffic control.

It engages in widespread faultfinding in both areas. The consultants recommend that the police department remain a state agency and that the governor retain its statutory power to appoint the Commissioner and his power to remove him from office misconduct for incompetency. Other major recommendations are these:

1. The organization of the department according to functions with clear lines of authority and responsibility. Include is the elimination of the rank of inspector and chief inspector.

2. The inauguration of an accurate, complete crime records system

Revision of Beat Patterns

3. A total revision of the beat pattern to equal the workloads of men in patrol.

. The proper development of the planning and research division with a crime analyst unit and expanded use of data processing.

5. The creation of a criminal investigation division for expert handling of all felonies and major vice cases from evidence gathering to preparation for trial.

6. The implementation of the internal investigation unit – now only on paper – as the commissioners watchdog on the department, responsible for intelligent information on misconduct, corruption, abuse of authority and the activities of organized crime figures.

Urges Formal Procedures

7. The establishment of formal disciplinary procedures and a disciplinary board for the prompt proper handling of charges brought against officers from within the department or civilians.

8. A formal system for airing grievances of uniformed and civilian employees of the department with the right to make formal grievances guaranteed by state law.

9. Higher education, physical mental and medical standards for applicants to the force.

10. A revision of the standard for rating candidates for promotion.

11. The restriction of promotion to the top five candidates on a merit rating list.

12. A serious police community effort to reduce the high automobile accident injury and fatality rate in the city with a special pedestrian safety program.

13. Elimination of the present law which restricts candidates for the position of Commissioner to residents or businessmen in the city.

14. A general increase in salaries and benefits including any bays, holidays, overtime pay, insurance benefits and uniform supplies.

15. The construction of a new department headquarters building: the immediate elimination of Northern district with its patrolling divided between Northwest and Northeastern: the abandonment of the Northern district headquarters building as soon as the police Academy can be moved to a newly constructed department headquarters building: the eventual abolishment of the southern district and a abandonment of its headquarters building.

It also calls for a realistic attitude toward problem of vice and crime and a harder attack on these conditions and on the block as a source of “moral blight.”

Two subjects that have drawn much public interest recently are handled by recommendations that the Police Department relieve itself of responsibility for them.

The consultants believe that all towing matters, removal of illegally parked vehicles as well as vehicles and accidents, should be turned over to private contractors.

Sanitary Inspection

And it recommends that the city assume the task of sanitary inspections.

The consultants call for the abolishment of the auto theft squad, the pickpocket, hotel and V.I.P. Squad, the riot squad, the mounted sections horses, and the transfer of their functions elsewhere.

There are thousands of specific suggestions directed toward every subject from the meter maid’s manner to the length of the Espantoon.

Even as it urges an immediate program of reform, the report points out that the consultants while engaged in the study, were met with the kind of obstinate resistance that prevented improvements and progress in the department in the past.

“These recommendations will be of little value unless the administrative climate of the Police Department is changed,” the reporter says.

“Superior officers must accept the fact that the department needs improvement and must recognize their responsibilities and lifting the department from its content with the status quo and traditional concepts, to those of the modern, progressive and efficient department the community deserves.”

First Study in 25 Years

The report points out that this is the first comprehensive survey of the department in 25 years, that the reorganization plan suggest that in the previous report was never adopted and that they did department’s structure is virtually unchanged from that which existed in 1940. The report warns:

“It is to be hoped to that history does not repeat itself: restructuring the Baltimore Police Department is sound in importance only to improving the competence of its management.”

The consultants ordered the following guide to their own approach to the survey: “of this report is critical in nature, because in an effort of this type, the most intensive examinations are naturally made into existing weaknesses.

“Intentions of this criticism is that it be constructive: that it assists in improving the organization, personnel and practices of the Baltimore Police Department so that the people will receive effective police services consistent with democratic ideas.

“It should be remembered that the survey is directed toward all police activity and is not just a narrow search for faults. Thus it is consistent with the standards of objectivity.”

The criticism is of two types: that directed toward practices and policies that are not as effective as they should be, and exposure of major flaws that are so basic as to cripple the department. As late as this fall, the department walked on the implementation of two aspects of report that were considered to be important enough for immediate action.

The police Association consultant said that the recommendations on record management were presented in preliminary form to Commissioner Bernard J Schmidt and his inspector on September 21, 1965.

Final Report Presented

Several meetings were held to discuss the recommendations, the consultant said, and a final report was presented to the department on 20 October to enable the department to inaugurate new reporting procedures by the start of the calendar year.

“Despite this, to date the department has taken no action whatsoever in preparation for a change in the present reporting procedures.”

“A second matter indicated similar dilatory handling.” Says the report.

On September 29, the report says, the police Commissioner was given to plans prepared by the I.A.C.P. For the establishment of an internal complaint investigation procedure.

These plans were made after conference had taken place with major McKeldin and Gov. Tawes. There were later conferences.

A Capt. was promoted to inspector, the report says, “reportedly to command the proposed new unit. The plans, however, has still not been implemented.”

What is required in Baltimore the report states, is “inspired, imaginative and indefatigable leadership in the police department and cooperation and support from the community and the state.

However, the consultant was described present leadership in a department in the following statements:

“Management competency is questionable.”

“Management sidesteps responsibilities.”

“Management fails to take strong stands, fails to plan for the future needs and fails to recognize the reality of poor procedures.”

“Supervision Misdirected”

“There is misdirection of the first line supervision – the practices of advancing or promoting personnel are antiquated and restrictive.”

“The system of evaluating personnel performance has been perverted.

“But management, even though cognizant of and dissatisfied with the use of the system, has failed to take meaningful corrective action.”

The report makes clear that under the present organizational structure the department’s chief inspector, George J. Murphy, is a “strong assistant Commissioner” who assumes and in ordinate share of the actual command and, therefore of the responsibility of the department.

Source of Difficulties

The report, where ever its intention turns, looks back at “management” and “the supervisors” to find the source of the difficulties. For instance: “demands for a civilian review board to oversee the conduct of force are not usually heard in those communities where the police agency operates an effective disciplinary program of its own.”

This statement is in a discussion of the internal investigation division IID. The unit that Commissioner Schmidt found an inspector for but, according to the report, has f