People who live near Harlem Park are frustrated with the way they say they were treated in the days following Baltimore Police Detective Sean Suiter’s murder.
They met with the city’s ‘Civilian Review Board’ to file complaints.
In addition to the past few weeks, people were also concerned about the attention Det. Suiter’s murder received versus the killing of anyone else in the city.
“My heart goes out to Brother Suiter because I went to the funeral and I went to the wake and so I met his children and it broke my heart and I met his wife. But so many children, and so many wives, and so many mothers have been in the same situation and we have not gotten the same attention,” Kinji Scott, a resident of Park Heights, said during a town hall on Thursday.
It's a shared sentiment for dozens in west Baltimore – what was the need for what people are calling an ‘unusually’ large police presence following Det. Suiter’s murder and why such intense policing.
Scott says the days after the shooting. He tried going near Bennett Place, the area Suiter was shot, but was stopped by police.
“The first question they asked me was what was I doing in that neighborhood. That’s what we’ve experienced in that community as a result of what happened to that officer. Our movement should never be stopped,” Scott said.
He filed a complaint with civilian review board.
In the days following, people say they were frisked, force to turn over ID’s, and questioned.
It’s why the review board held a town hall, curious to know people’s concerns and frustrations.
“Although everyone is sympathetic to the officer, the people who have been living here for years – they were asked for identification and [police] knocking on their doors and I think people feel powerless, I think is the word, and disempowered,” Bridal Pearson, the chair of the review board said.
It’s a feeling that isn’t going unnoticed by the police department.
While Police Commissioner Kevin Davis explained in the days after shooting, police cordoned the area so the crime scene wasn’t tampered with, BPD sent a statement that reads:
“We understand the members of the community who live there and their concerns and we certainly look forward to hearing from the residents who feel they weren’t treated appropriately. We also offer our sincere thanks to the community who were supportive and helpful.”
But the review board, under the city’s Office of Civil Rights, will hear the concerns first.
Scott says this same energy should be put into every murdered in the city because one killing is too much.
“I live in Park Heights and on my street alone, I’ve had two homicides in the matter of the last three, four months and that’s a problem. We don’t see that level of police and we don’t see that level of clearance as a result of that,” he said.