Baltimore Police lieutenant suspended after email calling Black Lives Matter group "thugs"

Posted at 4:49 PM, Aug 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-16 06:04:52-04

Baltimore Police lieutenant Victor Gearhart has been suspended after sending an email referring to members of the Black Lives Matter movement as "thugs" to the entire police force. 

Protesters gathered Sunday outside of the Fraternal Order of Police's annual convention. They say they will continue to protest until real change happens. 

"There was an email that he wrote last night calling protesters thugs.  And basically saying that people who are engaged in their personal rights are engaged in bad behavior," said protester Lawrence Brown.

Related: Baltimore Police identify protesters arrested outside FOP conference

Gearhart is the vice president of the FOP. Baltimore Police spokesperson TJ Smith said Gearharts words are not representative of the agency. 

"It's not an email that's representative of this agency and not only was the police commissioner outraged, several members of the agency called to express their frustration," Smith said.

Smith said he understands the frustrations of the protestors and that police leaders are dedicated to reform.

"We have to continue to establish trust and we can only do that through our actions and we have to call it out when actions aren't representative of the men and women that wear this uniform, that's what we have to say," Smith said.

Sources tell ABC2 News that Police Commissioner Kevin Davis suspended the lieutenant over the email. Baltimore Police say it is a personnel matter that is being handled internally.

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