Was Baltimore Police Riot Response Inept

Were Baltimore's finest inept in their handling of the riots?

Were Baltimore’s finest inept in their handling of the riots?

 

 

Now that the worst of the unrest is under control, Baltimore officials are facing questions concerning the adequacy of their initial response to Monday’s (April 27) riot. Many consider the behavior of city officials and the police to be inept and incompetent.

When asked why more policemen were not on the ground and why they didn’t respond more forcefully, Police Commissioner Anthony Batts said the police did not move faster because they were initially involved with teenagers who had just been dismissed from school. “Do you want people using force on 14- 15- and 16-year-old kids out there?” he asked. Later it was apparent that the situation had become unmanageable. “We needed more resources out there,” he said.

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake was asked why she didn’t act sooner and take a tougher tone to prevent the demonstrations from getting out of control. She was also asked why she waited so long to ask Governor Larry Hogan to declare a state of emergency.  Blake replied that officials believed they had gotten the weekend’s unrest under control and it would not be appropriate to bring in the National Guard when matters were under control. Governor Hogan said he and his staff were in constant communication and had tried to contact the mayor for quite some time. “She finally made the call and we took immediate action,” he said.

Earlier during the weekend, the mayor made statements in which she described how she had instructed police to give protesters the opportunity to exercise their right to free speech. She also suggested that space be given to those who wished to destroy to do that as well. Some critics interpreted the statement as giving permission to riot. The mayor initially denied making the “destroy” remarks but her office later released a statement acknowledging she had done so. However, Howard Libit, director of planning and policy, explained that the mayor meant for the peaceful demonstrators to have room to conduct their peaceful protest, but that also meant that those seeking to incite violence also had space to operate. The mayor was not asking police to “give space to people who sought to create violence,” he concluded.

Former Los Angeles detective Mark Fuhrman told Fox News “It’s very clear that (the mayor) was trying to give all these protestors-slash-rioters a chance to blow off steam and then stop. It didn’t happen.” He accused Mayor Blake of not taking a “leadership role.”

Attorney General Loretta Lynch said she would send Justice Department (DOJ) officials to the city in coming days and that the DOJ stood ready to offer any assistance that might be helpful.

 

 

 

 

 

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