RPT: Baltimore Cops Were Told Not to Engage During April Riots
A new report now claims that Baltimore police officers were told not to engage violent protesters during the April riots.
The Baltimore Sun reports that Baltimore police commanders "acknowledge" that they ordered officers not to engage with rioters on the day of Freddie Gray's funeral.
Police Commissioner Anthony W. Batts reportedly gave the stand down orders "to protect officers and citizens as they prioritized life over property."
Batts and city officials previously denied that there was a stand-down order while dozens of businesses were looted and buildings were torched.
The Baltimore Sun reported:
Commanders told The Sun that they asked officers to "hold the line" as part of an overall deployment strategy to create a barrier between rioters and police operations and potentially vulnerable people. If officers broke lines during a face-off with rock-throwing protesters, for instance, they could be isolated and surrounded by mobs. And if officers broke the line to make arrests, they might have been forced to guard them amid all the chaos when transport vans weren't available.
"There's an amount of discipline necessary to navigate your way through a civil disturbance," Deputy Commissioner Kevin Davis said.
But some officers say they should have been able to break their shoulder-to-shoulder lines and charge rioters, make arrests and quell the disturbance. The police union supports their claims, and the organization is expected to release an "after action report" in the coming weeks that should include many first-hand accounts from officers.
The union has requested texts, emails and radio transmissions between police commanders and City Hall for review. As of Tuesday, the union had received only one tape from the voluminous riot transmission record.
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