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Stronger demands for addressing violence emerge from both community and councilmembers

Posted at 7:12 PM, Jun 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-03 08:16:47-04

BALTIMORE — The demand on BPD for a better approach to addressing Baltimore’s violence is coming from both directions, from the elected officials overseeing the department’s budget, as well as those in the community they serve.

A sense of dissatisfaction with the ongoing crime fight is brewing ahead of budget hearings right around the corner.

Two weeks after demanding a short-term crime plan and data from all three agencies, leading Baltimore’s crime fight, Councilman Eric Costello says he's still empty handed while the list of Baltimore's victims of crime grows by the day.

“Whether it’s 60 shots being fired from a semi-automatic weapon, whether it’s a pregnant woman being executed along with her fiancé, whether it’s a senior citizen that was recently shot in the arm while she was reading a book in her bed,” he said.

The urgency for a plan from BPD is growing among councilmembers running out of patience.

“This ask to me is a simple ask. Sit down and put a summer plan together of how you’re going to get your officers and engaged and involved with the community,” said Council Vice President Sharon Green-Middleton.

At the same time, that lack of patience echoes from outside of City Hall as well.

“It's a lot of crime out here left and right and some of these crimes are not being solved. My opinion would be probably to get the commissioner out of here and get another one that maybe can solve cases and things like that,” said Danielle Brown who’s still mourning the death of her son Donnell Rochester.

She says her patience with BPD ran out back in February when her son was shot and killed by BPD officers.

She attributes the loss of her son, who police say was wanted on a carjacking charge, to a lack of training among officers.

“My son's situation, he wasn't armed he was just afraid and scared for his life. After they shot my kid he was literally laying on the ground for a whole 18 minutes before they even transferred him to Johns Hopkins when the police could’ve transported him themselves,” said Brown.

When asked if it was a standard practice for officers to shoot when an individuals are planning to flee, Commissioner Harrison gave this response:

"Certainly in looking at what the law allows and what our policy allows, the investigation will certainly look into the answer to that and inform us."

While that case is still under review, William Sharp, Rochester's uncle says he's observed Baltimore Police officers in a more reactive state instead of working to prevent violent crimes.

“He let the shooting go down, sat in his car the whole time. He waited like 5 minutes then he called for backup but he never got out the car to try to stop it,” Sharp recalled.

Councilmembers ahead of budget hearings for BPD say they're looking for a plan that will lead to actual results and less blood on Baltimore's streets.

“I’m looking toward this person that has knowledge and experience I want him to show us what he can do, and now is the time to do it with this quick short summer plan,” said Green-Middleton.