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BPD Commissioner concerned over monument that would honor police shooting victims

Posted at 1:50 PM, Sep 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-22 07:27:49-04

BALTIMORE — Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison says he's concerned with a City Council vote on Monday that would rename Columbus Obelisk Monument in Heinz Park after victims of Police violence.

In a statement put out over the department's Facebook, Harrison says the close proximity between the proposed monument and one that already stands honoring fallen officers, could tarnish the memory of those who lost their lives in the line of duty.

"Having the proposed monument be in such close proximity to a police memorial, honoring officers who have died in the line of duty, diminishes the sacrifices made by those officers and does a disservice to them and their families," said Harrison.

Both monuments stand for something important, Harrison explained, but the suggested location could sow even more division between police and the community.

"Both memorials are important and should be places of reflection and remembrance for loved ones, and those that visit should be able to do so in a setting without disruption or divisiveness," said Harrison.

In question is Council Bill 20-0549, originally introduced by Councilman Ryan Dorsey and since co-sponsored by Council President Brandon Scott and council members Bill Henry, Leon Pinkett, Kristerfer Burnett, and Shannon Sneed.

It concerns a damaged Christopher Columbus monument in Herring Run Park.

They say in the first reading of the bill that recent police killings have,"brought many new people to join the police abolition movement, and it has moved governments and citizens all across the country to take down their monuments."

In the bill council members liken monuments dedicated to cops to those honoring murderers.

"Rather than continue to allow monuments to stand to murderers, brutalizers, and oppressors, we should honor the memories of victims who have lost their lives, and create space for those survivors who continue to persevere,"the bill states.

Dorsey has been a frequent critic of police and has come under fire for some comments made in the past, including one that drew a strong rebuke from Governor Larry Hogan and the Baltimore City Fraternal Order of Police.

READ MORE: Gov. Hogan "disgusted" with City Councilman's remarks on fallen officers memorial
For his part, Harrison committed to rebuild trust within city communities and families of those impacted by the actions of police.

"As we look to remember people who have been harmed by those in the policing profession, I remain committed to rebuilding trust with the communities that we are sworn to protect and serve in more meaningful and productive ways.”

Read the entire bill below.

Renaming the Columbus Obelisk Monument to 3 the Police Violence Victims Monument by Wmar Web on Scribd