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Baltimore City Police


Thousands are marking the 57th anniversary of the March on Washington Friday with growing calls for police reform. In Maryland, those calls often point to the Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights, or LEOBR, as a barrier to police accountability.

 

Representatives of law enforcement groups defended the LEOBR during a meeting with state lawmakers Thursday and pushed back on other suggestions for reform.

Mary Rose Madden / WYPR

A bipartisan panel of Maryland lawmakers heard from dozens of residents and legal advocates Thursday  who called for police reform measures.

Black residents told the workgroup of traumatizing encounters with police from Anne Arundel to Howard counties, from Baltimore County to the city.

We begin today with former Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis, who served as the city’s top cop from 2015-2018, in the direct aftermath of the unrest that followed the death and funeral of Freddie Gray, through the negotiation of a consent decree with the Department of Justice, and the transition in City Hall from Mayor Stephanie Rawlings Blake to Mayor Catherine Pugh. 

Davis is now the Director of the Consulting Services Division of GardaWorld, an international security company.  He also teaches part-time at American University and Catholic University.

Mr. Davis recently wrote an opinion piece published in The Baltimore Sun that pushes back against the idea of defunding the police, and which offers a suggestion for a national approach to police reform, including creating a cabinet-level position of national secretary of police. 

AP Photo/Ragan Clark, File

Streets around the world remain filled with protesters demanding that police be “defunded.” Today on Midday, a police perspective on the intensifying calls to defund and reform the nation's police departments.

Tom is joined by Officer Seth Templeton, a beat cop in Baltimore County who wrote an open letter in the Baltimore Sun to a protester, hoping to bridge the gap between demonstrators and law enforcement;  Chief Melvin Russell, who served in the Baltimore City Police Department for 40 years; and Matthew Horace, a 28-year veteran of local, state and federal law enforcement agencies and author of The Black and the Blue: A Cop Reveals the Crimes, Racism and Injustice in America’s Law Enforcement. 

Rachel Baye / WYPR


  Thousands of people marched across Baltimore for a second consecutive weekend in multiple demonstrations to protest racism and police brutality and demand equal treatment under the law.

Emily Sullivan / WYPR

As the country approaches the end of a second week of protests over police abuse of black Americans, state and local leaders in Maryland are calling for reforms, including changes to state laws governing police. Many of the proposed changes have been attempted before unsuccessfully, but some lawmakers say this time is different.

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Leaders in the Maryland House of Delegates are forming a workgroup that aims to improve trust and accountability in police statewide. The announcement this weekend came a few hours before hundreds in Baltimore joined nationwide protests of abuses by police.

“Policing in America is broken,” said House Speaker Adrienne Jones in a statement announcing the new workgroup. “As the mother of two sons, accountability in policing is not just philosophical, it is personal.”

Rachel Baye

Gov. Larry Hogan spent much of this week attacking the Democrat-led General Assembly for not advancing his bills aimed at reducing crime in Baltimore. On Thursday, Democratic leaders fought back.

Hogan’s latest comments came during a press conference Thursday. He accused legislators of ignoring a “crisis” in Baltimore by not voting his crime package out of committee.

AP Photo/Julio Cortez

Two police officers assigned to a U.S. Marshals task force were shot in Northeast Baltimore on Wednesday, officials confirmed.

City police said the officers, one from Baltimore City and one from Baltimore County, are part of a fugitive task force attached to the U.S. Marshals office. They were among a group of officers trying to serve an arrest warrant on a man wanted in a Pennsylvania case about noon in the 5900 Block of Radecke Avenue.

The suspect opened fire, was shot and pronounced dead at the scene, police said.

Dominique Maria Bonessi

 

Former Baltimore detective Carmine Vignola was sentenced Thursday to 18 months in federal prison for a gun-planting incident. He is the 12th officer convicted by the Maryland U.S. Attorney's Office and the FBI in their ongoing investigation of police misconduct and activities related to the corrupt Gun Trace Task Force. 

Wikimedia Commons

Legislation authorizing Johns Hopkins University to establish its own police force progressed in the state Senate on Wednesday.

Wikimedia Commons

State lawmakers are set to consider Friday whether Johns Hopkins University should establish its own private police department, an effort that has been met with resistance from university faculty, staff, students, alumni and neighbors.

Rachel Baye

The Maryland General Assembly begins its annual 90-day session Wednesday in Annapolis, and reducing violent crime in Baltimore is at the top of political leaders’ agendas.

Fitzgerald Makes First Public Appearance at City Hall

Nov 27, 2018
Dominique Maria Bonessi

Baltimore Police Commissioner-designate Joel Fitzgerald made his first public appearance Monday at city hall. Fitzgerald stood alongside Mayor Catherine Pugh answered questions from the media, and WYPR’s Dominique Maria Bonessi spoke to Morning Edition Host Nathan Sterner.

Pugh Names New Police Commissioner

Nov 16, 2018
Fort Worth Police, Fort Worth, Texas

Mayor Catherine Pugh announced the appointment of Fort Worth Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald as Baltimore’s new top cop Friday after a lengthy, secretive search. Fitzgerald arrives with some baggage from his last job.

Word of Fitzgerald’s appointment began leaking Friday afternoon after Pugh penned an op-ed piece to appear in Saturday’s print editions of The Sun. In it, she wrote that Fitzgerald “is best suited to lead the way forward.”

Twitter

The Baltimore police officer shot Wednesday afternoon has died.

Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis stood with Mayor Catherine Pugh and several doctors in front of the University of Maryland's Shock Trauma Center Thursday afternoon to announce the death.

Sean Suiter, an 18 year veteran of the force, a former Naval officer, husband, and father of five, succumbed to a single gun shot wound to the head shortly after noon Thursday. 

AP Photo/David Goldman

This month on "Life in the Balance," gangs and street violence in Baltimore is an epidemic. But what happens to those people who want to get out of gangs, what struggles do they meet on the way? We’ll meet Gardnel Carter, a former gang member who’s now helping others to avoid his past mistakes.  We’ll also talk with Media Chief T.J. Smith of the Baltimore City Police about the department’s efforts to stem gang violence, and we’ll hear the remarkable story of a 17 year old boy who’s trying to walk away from his own past with gangs.  The problem is his old associates are not happy about his decision. This hour, the uphill climb out of gang violence, the organizations trying to combat it, and the people whose lives hang in the balance. 

Baltimore Police Officer shoots robber

Oct 16, 2017

A Baltimore police officer shot and killed a shotgun wielding 20-year-old man involved in an armed robbery at a 7-11 early Monday morning.

Police commissioner Kevin Davis said the officer, Kevin Amy, a 17-year veteran assigned to Northeastern District patrol, followed proper police procedure and turned on his body worn camera.

New police training targets mental illness

Oct 2, 2017
Dominique Maria Bonessi

Elizabeth Wexler stands at a chalkboard at the Baltimore City Police Training Academy while 50 cadets look on. She draws a large "T" and asks the class to say what comes to mind when they think of mental health.

Rachel Baye

Following a closed-door meeting Tuesday morning with city and state officials to discuss rising levels of violent crime in Baltimore, Gov. Larry Hogan said his biggest concern is the number of people who are committing multiple violent crimes without serving time.

Tyrone West case settled for $1M

Jul 26, 2017
Justice for Tyrone West Facebook Page

The city and state reached a settlement Wednesday in the lawsuit over the death of Tyrone West during a traffic stop in 2013. West’s children are expected to receive $1 million.

Gun bill hearing gets heated Tuesday

Jul 25, 2017
Dominique Maria Bonessi

At times the hearing on Mayor Catherine Pugh's proposed gun bill got heated. After two and a half hours, two passed amendments, and two failed amendments, the public comment period opened. Protestors immediately interrupted the proceedings that were recessed for five minutes due to the protests. Two protestors were forcibly removed by police and arrested. 

Tough questions asked of consent decree monitor applicants

Jul 7, 2017
Dominique Maria Bonessi

Morning Edition host, Nathan Sterner, talks with City Hall Reporter, Dominique Maria Bonessi, about the competition between 26 law firms vying to be the U.S. Department of Justice consent decree's independent monitors for police accountability. A grassroots coalition, The Campaign for Justice, Safety, and Jobs and Baltimore residents met last night at a townhall meeting at Coppin State University to ask tough questions of the monitor applicants. 

ACLU files lawsuits against gag orders

Jun 29, 2017
Dominique Maria Bonessi

The American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland announced today it has filed two separate suits to overturn gag orders contained in settlements in police brutality cases.

The suits against Baltimore City and its police department and Salisbury and its police department were filed in federal court and in Baltimore Circuit court.

Susan Goering, ACLU Maryland’s executive director, says settlements that impose gag orders on plaintiffs violate their rights.

Baltimore City Police Department opens museum

May 26, 2017
Mark Dennis, Staff Photographer / Mayor's Office of Communications

With the Baltimore City Police Department under a consent decree to overhaul its operations, Police Commissioner, Kevin Davis, and Mayor Catherine Pugh cut the ribbon on the new Baltimore City Police Museum today.

Crime trends in Baltimore

May 3, 2017
Dominique Maria Bonessi

With just a few weeks before budget hearings at Baltimore City Hall, police officials appeared a public safety meeting Tuesday chaired by Councilman Brandon Scott, to talk about fighting violence in the city. WYPR's Dominique Maria Bonessi was there, and spoke with Nathan Sterner about what happened.

Effort to give mayor control of Baltimore Police is dead

Mar 3, 2017
P. Kenneth Burns

The sponsor of a bill seeking to return control of Baltimore Police back to the city said Friday afternoon he is withdrawing his proposal.

Del. Curt Anderson, a city Democrat, discussed the bill with his colleagues in the city delegation which he chairs.  He cited a three-page opinion from the Attorney General’s Office that said returning control of the police department to the city would be “extremely expensive.”

Pugh on consent decree: We can pay for it

Feb 1, 2017
P. Kenneth Burns

Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh told a federal judge Monday morning the city can afford to implement a consent decree aimed at reforming the city police department.

U.S. District Judge James Bredar asked Pugh to attend the first hearing on the decree filed in the court in January.  The decree was the result of an investigation that found Baltimore Police regularly violated the civil rights of citizens.

Flickr Creative Commons // Elvert Barnes

Jake Naquin, a 10th grader at Bard High School Early College in West Baltimore, was waiting at Harford Road and The Alameda for a bus home to Hamilton one day last November when  three teenagers came up to him.

“Basically me and two of my friends were at the stop,” he explained. “They asked us what school we went to.  And we answered. “

So, Jake and his friends, unnerved, headed for another bus stop. They got about half-way there when the same group stopped them and demanded his phone. He says he thought they were joking.

DOJ v. FOP

Jan 13, 2017
P. Kenneth Burns / WYPR

Shortly after the Justice Department and Baltimore City officials announced they’d reached a legal contract to reform the city police department Thursday the police union complained they were left out of the negotiations.

But Friday a DOJ spokesperson contradicted those claims.

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