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'Work to solve this': Mayor holds squeegee meeting with Baltimore stakeholders

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Posted at 10:03 PM, Jul 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-14 23:10:11-04

BALTIMORE — When it comes to squeegee workers, Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott said he has no plans to remove the hustle from city streets.

“We will not go back to re-criminalizing just being Black in Baltimore, period,” the mayor said during a press conference Thursday.

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Citing the Consent Decree and constitutional rights, Scott said the City has other plans, which include directing resources to those who choose to squeegee. 

It was the topic of discussion at a private meeting hosted by the mayor at Coppin State on Thursday.

“We’re going to work to solve this issue with everybody,” Mayor Scott said. “With our business community, with our philanthropic community, with those who have lived the experience with the people in it the community that want to step up and help.”

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Roughly 35 people attended the mayor's meeting.

It included former squeegee workers, representatives from nonprofits, multiple city agencies, three area banks and two city council members, including councilman Zeke Cohen.

“What we came away with today is a commitment that this is not just going to be about Mayor Brandon Scott but about Baltimore and what we can all do to be a part of the solution,” said Councilman Cohen. “It is going to require some difficult conversations.” 

Cohen described the meeting as “productive,” adding it was more of a brainstorming session. 

“We’ll have a total of six sessions, meeting with all parties involved,” he said.

That meeting came after police announced the arrest of a 15-year-old in connection to the shooting death of Timothy Reynolds last week. The 48–year old was involved in a confrontation with a group of squeegee workers. He had a bat; a worker was armed with a gun. 

The teen arrested was 14 at the time of the killing. Police said he turned 15 in the past week. He’s being charged as an adult with first-degree murder.  

Commissioner Michael Harrison called the arrest, "another sad reminder that guns are too easily accessible to our young people." 

“We have seen time and time again the willingness of individuals to illegally carry and use these weapons," Harrison said. "And we know they make the decision to do so the moment they leave the house, not just when they pull the trigger." 

The commissioner added he hopes the arrest brings a measure of closure to Reynolds' loved ones. 

As for the teen's arrest, police said he was picked up at a home in Essex by the Warrant Apprehension Task Force.

Back at the scene Thursday, no squeegee workers were at Light and Conway.

As for their activity at locations, Mayor Scott reiterated that “as uncomfortable as it may make folks be, this mentality of just moving Black people because they are there,” will not happen.