Baltimore police commissioner Anthony Batts was fired by the city’s mayor amid an increased murder rate and fervid criticism of how he handled the civil unrest stemming from Freddie Gray’s death, back in the spring.
Via The Guardian:
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said on Wednesday afternoon that she had decided to replace Batts, who has led the police department for almost three years. Deputy commissioner Kevin Davis is to take over as interim commissioner, she said.
At a press conference on Wednesday, Rawlings-Blake said she made the decision in an attempt to reverse a “crime surge” being suffered by the city. “Families are tired of feeling this pain, and so am I,” she said.
“We need a change,” said the mayor. “This was not an easy decision, but it is one that is in the best interests of the people of Baltimore. The people of Baltimore deserve better.”
Batts, 54, had been under increasing pressure to tackle a spike in violent crime. So far in 2015 the city has sustained a 48% rise in homicides and 86% rise in shootings compared with the same period last year.
The mayor’s announcement followed a police union report that criticized Batt’s management of the department during the riots and protests that broke out earlier this year. Calls for Batt’s resignation had been mounting from community leaders including, members of the city council, as well as Baltimoreans United in Leadership Development (BUILD), and several religious leaders.
“He was a leader who lost his following,” Foster Connors, a co-chairman of BUILD, told the Guardian. “It’s not a celebratory day but it’s the right decision for the city. We need leadership who can command both the respect of the community and the respect of his officers. Mr Batts lost both.”
You can read the full story at the Guardian, but this is insane. Did you see those numbers? Wow. I sincerely hope that Baltimore, and cities across the country, get on the right track.