Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake bans reporter from post-Board of Estimates press conferences

Posted at 4:10 PM, Oct 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-13 06:40:16-04

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has banned WYPR reporter P. Kenneth Burns from the press conferences she holds after city Board of Estimates meetings, calling his behavior "threatening."

"I support free press, but won't tolerate aggression to me or my staff. Burns’ behavior has been threatening & I chose to act," the mayor wrote on Twitter Wednesday. 

Rawlings-Blake went on to say that "suggesting that bc (sic)  the press won't admit to seeing it that it didn't happen is awfully ironic 4 (sic) truth seekers." 

Burns received the email stating that he was banned from the pressers at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, a week after he questioned the mayor at the Oct. 5 Board of Estimates meeting. 

Burns asked Rawlings-Blake how she could justify calling the Baltimore Police Department a "state agency" in her fiscal 2018 operating and capital budget request to Gov. Larry Hogan, in which she's asking for money to help fund police reforms.

Watch the video of Burns questioning Rawlings-Blake.


“It’s unfortunate. I have nothing personal against the mayor. I don’t understand, if I am that threatening, why am I banned form a weekly press conference but not from other events? These accusations are baseless,” Burns said. 

The mayor tweeted that Burns is welcome to any press event "other than the close quarters of post BOE press avail."

"I made that clear," she said. 

Several Baltimore area journalists and media personalities took to social media to show their support for Burns, using the hashtag #FreeKenny. 

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Reporter Brian Kuebler contributed to this report.