Baltimore Police Commissioner Fired Same Day as Negative Baltimore Riot Action Review

Balitmore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake fired Police Commissioner Anthony Batts on Wednesday amid a spike in the city's homicide rate.

The news comes the same day that the city police union released its 32-page after action review of the city's handling of the riots in April. Many Baltimore police officers reported they lacked the proper equipment, training and leadership to adequately respond to the riots and unrest in the city following the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody. 

The union placed the responsibility largely on Police Commissioner Anthony Batts.

However, Gene Ryan, president of the Baltimore Fraternal Order of Police, said the results of the review were not "a recommendation for [Batts] to leave."

"This is a recommendation for improvement," Ryan said.

Ryan said that the Baltimore Police Department still remains unprepared for future riots. He also said the riots and unrest were preventable and that the injuries to more than 200 officers could have been avoided or at least minimized, according to WBAL-TV.


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"This after action review came about because the police officers, sergeants and lieutenants of the Baltimore Police Department do not want to see Baltimore burn again," Ryan said in a news conference.

Ryan also said officers were told not to intervene or engage with rioters, not to wear their issued riot helmets, and that all arrests had to be given approval by civilians who worked in the Baltimore Police Department legal section, WBAL-TV reported.

The information contained in the report came from surveys, firsthand accounts, a radio transmission, focus groups and emails.

Since the riots, the city has suffered from a sharp increase in violence, with 155 homicides this year, a 48 percent increase over the same period last year, reported the Associated Press.

"We need a change," Rawlings-Blake said Wednesday during a news conference. "This was not an easy decision but it is one that is in the best interest of Baltimore. The people of Baltimore deserve better and we're going to get better."

Deputy Police Commissioner Kevin Davis will become the interim commissioner, Rawlings-Blake said.

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