Baltimore Police Union Slams City, Police Leadership For Obstructing Investigation
The Baltimore chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police is not happy with City Hall, state’s attorney Marilyn Mosby, or Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony Batts. The FoP accuse each of them, in one way or another, of obstructing a police investigation into what happened during the Baltimore riots and who, if anyone, ordered police to “stand down” in the face of brick and bottles being hurled at officers.
In a letter today, FoP Lodge #3 President Gene Ryan wrote, “The bottom line is simply that our leadership — Commissioner Batts and State’s Attorney Mosby — has done nothing since the riots to investigate protocol shortcomings and better prepare our officers. This is obviously a concern to my members, but should also greatly concern the citizens of Baltimore City. The conditions that led to the riot are still present and any incident can serve, once again, as a flash point.”
What the police union is seeking are all communications between City Hall and Baltimore police during the days of unrest. The FoP is conducting what it calls an “After Action Report” on the riots to get a complete understanding of how things managed to spiral out of control. “However,” Ryan writes, “as none appears to be forthcoming, it is incumbent upon the union to take this unprecedented action in the interest of officer safety.”
In addition to the communications during the riots, the union is also seeking other information. “We have also requested answers to several questions regarding the authority of the Department’s legal advisors when giving advice on criminal matters during the unrest, as well as the exact number of officers who have been placed on Medical Leave as a result of riot-related injuries,” Ryan wrote.
The relationship between City Hall and police command and the rank and file officers have been strained since the riots, with many officers feeling abandoned and sacrificed for political reasons.
Ryan continued, “For more than a month, we have repeatedly requested that this information be provided to no avail. The fact that we have not been supplied the appropriate information shows obvious inaction or, quite possibly, an intentional stall tactic on the part of both the BPD and City Hall.”
In acknowledging the strain between command and police, Ryan writes, “By refusing to immediately release the radio transmissions and other command communications made during the riots, Commissioner Batts has missed an opportunity to regain the trust of the city as well as the rank and file police officers.”
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and Commissioner Batts have repeatedly stated no “stand down” order was given during the riots, though many officers claim to have been ordered to do so.
Ryan said his investigation will move forward without the information requested, and will rely on first-hand accounts and sworn statements instead.
Below is the full text of the letter: