A street full of people demanding a change in policy at the Baltimore Police Department on Monday.
This comes nine days after a video of an officer punching and pinning a man down went viral.
Black Leaders Organizing for Change or BLOC took to the sidewalks and streets of East Monument Street.
“BPD has a culture a pattern and practice culture of actually violating constituent’s rights,” said BLOC Co-Founder Tre Murphy. “Using excessive force as opposed to deescalating a situation and overwhelmingly trying to assert their authority.”
In the same area that Dashawn McGrier was seen getting punched by former Baltimore Police Officer Arthur Williams.
Williams has since resigned and now faces criminal assault charges.
The video hit home for Shaude Thompson who lives in the area with her two young daughters.
She said that her children are more scared of police than gangs.
“They be scared and they wouldn’t want to call the police,” said Thompson. “If something happened they would be telling someone else they wouldn’t be calling the law.”
McGrier was not at the rally but his mother and other family members were.
They weren’t ready to talk to the media but Murphy said they were there because they want to make sure this doesn’t happen again.
“Which is a part of the reason for us being out here,” said Murphy. “Policy changes is how we actually get to addressing these systematic issues. The harsh reality is that the Baltimore Police Department isn’t held accountable to anybody.”
Baltimore BLOC sent a letter to the mayor with six demands:
- Remove the Civilian Review Board (CRB) from the City Solicitor’s Office so it can go back to avoiding a conflict of interest of being placed in a department that would legally represent the Baltimore City Police Department (BPD) and BPD affected residents.
- Strengthen the CRB, incorporating suggestions from the Community Oversight Task Force created by the Department of Justice recommending a fully independent oversight body with investigatory powers and an adequate budget tied to the BPD’s budget.
- BPD must cooperate, as required by law, with the Civilian Review Boards and make appropriate Internal Affair records available to CRB investigators and board members.
- Commitments from City Hall that they will support LEOBR and MPIA reform to ensure police accountability, civilian oversight, and the mandate of the DOJ’s consent decree can be implemented.
- A clear outline from BPD on its efforts over the next six months to improve community relation.
- Clarity on what training regarding de-escalation, community policing, and racial equity all police officers on patrol are receiving, and metrics on how effective their implementation actually is.
“If you are complacent inside this system than inherently you are guilty. Just because it was a black officer and it was a black male. The culture of BPD has been trained to treat black men as threats. That is a larger systematic issue.”
At the end of the letter, the group promised to organize in the spirit of their civil rights ancestors and demand accountability if the mayor doesn't respond by 5 pm Friday.
Arthur Williams the officer involved pleaded not guilty to first and second-degree assault charges.
He is set for trial October 23.