Breaking: Baltimore Chief Police Anthony Batts Fired As Violence Spirals Out of Control

Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake fired Police Commissioner Anthony W. Batts today.
In April, during the mass rioting, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake told reporters that city officials gave the violent Freddie Gray protesters “space” to destroy property.
baltimore riot
A Freddie Gray protester hurls a guard rail through a store window last night in Baltimore.

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake:

“While we tried to make sure that they were protected from the cars and the other things that were going on. We also gave those who wished to destroy space to do that as well. And we work very hard to keep that balance and to put ourselves in the best position to deescalate, and that’s what you saw.”

Here’s the video:

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings Blake also said, “Let them loot, it’ only property.”

This decision resulted in:
** At least 61 buildings were torched.
** Over 144 vehicles were torched.
** 350 businesses were damaged
** And 113 police officers were injured.

This week Baltimore leaders admitted they gave the stand down order to police during the riots.

Shootings have nearly doubled in the city this year after the States Attorney indicted six police officers for murder and manslaughter of serial criminal Freddie Gray.

Today Mayor Rawlings-Blake fired commissioner Batts.
USA Today reported:

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.

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