BALTIMORE, Md. — The news came this morning; first out of Fort Worth, Texas, then finally from the Baltimore mayor.
Catherine Pugh said Chief Joel Fitzgerald had to focus on family; Fitzgerald in his own statement said that even before his son's illness, he was taken aback by the support he still had in Fort Worth.
The chief withdrew his name from a commissioner search and confirmation process rife with criticism.
“Well it certainly hasn’t been handled in the way it should have been handled, there is no question about that.”
In a one on one interview with Larry Hogan, the Governor said Fitzgerald bowing out is a crippling blow for the larger efforts of getting violence under control in Baltimore.
The police department has been in turmoil all year and this doesn’t help.
“I mean I am not trying to pile on and just criticize the mayor for the sake of criticizing but we got to figure out a way to move forward,” Hogan said, “The state is trying to provide as much assistance as we possibly can. We've been bringing together all the federal and state law enforcement agencies to back up the city, but they got to figure out a way to get their act together.”
And that begins with leadership in city hall the Governor said, something at least one state senator says, has been glaringly absent.
“The last nine months have been a comedy of errors and just a delayed lack of urgency that is simply unacceptable,” said State Senator Bill Ferguson
The state lawmaker says he was on the phone with his state colleagues all morning to see what they can do in the upcoming legislative session.
Ferguson calls the lack of a police commissioner at this point in the game...unconscionable.
“The police commissioner in the city of Baltimore is the person that calls the plays,” Ferguson said, “Trying to play a football game without a quarterback would be nonsense and that is what we are trying to do in the midst of a really challenging moment of violence. This is not okay. We need a transparent process. We need urgency. This is kind of a worst-case scenario.”