Mary Rose Madden | WYPR

Mary Rose Madden

Senior News Producer and Reporter

Mary Rose is a reporter and senior news producer for 88.1 WYPR FM, a National Public Radio member station in Baltimore. At the local news desk, she assigns stories, organizes special coverage, edits news stories, develops series and reports. 

She has coordinated election coverage—including the 2008 presidential election—and written for award-winning series such as "Growing up Baltimore" and "Baltimore '68: The Fire Last Time." She has covered stories from the foreclosure crisis to the horse-racing industry, from the alarming high school dropout problem in Baltimore to a traditional college marching band gone hip-hop. She reported on the rights American Indians have – or rather don’t have – to their ancestors’ remains in Maryland. And with this reporting, state legislators signed a law that would change that.

She's reported from Rwanda for The International Reporting Project and won a national award for her story on the children who were born of rape during the 1994 genocide.

Before entering journalism, she worked in the social development of children and families and worked in a hospice providing support to families.

Email Mary Rose.

DOJ v. FOP

Jan 13, 2017
P. Kenneth Burns / WYPR

Shortly after the Justice Department and Baltimore City officials announced they’d reached a legal contract to reform the city police department Thursday the police union complained they were left out of the negotiations.

But Friday a DOJ spokesperson contradicted those claims.

Baltimore, Feds agree to consent decree

Jan 12, 2017
P. Kenneth Burns / WYPR

EDITOR'S NOTE: Read the full consent decree below.

Baltimore City and federal officials announced Thursday an agreement that will force the Baltimore Police Department to reform. The decree comes six months after a scathing Justice Department report found that city police routinely violated citizens’ rights; especially of African-Americans.

The consent decree is the product of a civil rights investigation into the police department after the 2015 in-custody death of Freddie Gray.  Gray suffered severe injuries while being transported in a police van.

Details of the consent decree were made public as a news conference was taking place announcing the agreement.

In 2001, as the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio and the Black United Front brought a federal lawsuit against the city of Cincinnati and the police department for racial bias, a white officer in Cincinnati shot an unarmed black teenager as he fled police.

And then, along came a lengthy U.S. Department of Justice investigation that found a pattern of discriminatory practices by the department and an agreement for changes that took months to hammer out. The process of instituting those changes has lasted years. Some would say it’s ongoing.

The Department of Justice’s 163 page report describes officers and sergeants acting as if they had a blank check to do whatever they wanted in the inner city neighborhoods; using unreasonable force against people who represented little or no threat, making warrantless arrests without probable cause, conducting illegal strip searches, sometimes in public.

Soon the DOJ, the city, the police department, and community leaders will get to work on the court-ordered mandatory consent decree that’s should be finalized November 1.

Mary Rose Madden

Camden County Officer Tyrrell Bagby is headed to his usual beat, but on the way he sees a man stumbling, about to walk off the curb and into a busy intersection near City Hall.  Officer Bagby leans out the window and tells the man the train is coming and that he could be hurt “sitting in the middle of the street.”

Video: On The Watch - Tubman House

Jul 19, 2016

Last week, a Baltimore judge found Officer Edward Nero not guilty of reckless endangerment, among other charges, in the death last year of Freddie Gray.  Nero's attorneys said he wasn't aware of an updated policy that required prisoners to be seat belted when he helped put Gray in a transport van, handcuffed, with shackles, and no seatbelt.

According to the medical examiner, Gray died from injuries suffered in the back of the van.

Since the death of Freddie Gray last April and the protests and unrest that followed Baltimore’s Police Commissioner Kevin Davis has talked about the changes the department needs to make to improve relations between the police and the citizens in the city.

Even before the riots broke out in Baltimore, tensions were high near the western district police station.  The western district is where Freddie Gray lived, where he was arrested.

Baltimore's homicide rate rose last year while fewer cases were reported solved.  In 2015 the homicide rate rose more than 60% from the previous year.  In 2014 there were 211 homicides reported.  The number in 2015 was 344.  At the same time fewer homicide cases were reported solved.  The percentage of homicides solved by the police is called the clearance rate.  Last year, Baltimore saw its clearance rate drop from 57% in April to 40% in June and then it dropped to 30% in August which is where it hovered for the rest of the year, an arrow pointing in the wrong direction for the city.

Out of the 327 homicide cases in the city this year, only about 67 of these investigations have been closed.  The police need witnesses and information from the community in order to solve cases.  But the public wants info from police department, too -- such as the number of complaints made about police misconduct. And what happens to cops who are subject to internal investigations?

On the streets, pushing for change  

Every Wednesday night for almost two and half years, Tawanda Jones and her family gather on the street with supporters trying to get justice for her brother, Tyrone West. They chant, "I can't stop.  I won’t stop. Until killer cops are in cell blocks".

On the some of the hottest days of this summer, 14-year-old LaAsia Griffin and her big brother Jamal popped a white canopy tent and set up penny candy, chips, and crackers for sale on two long tables at a busy stop light in West Baltimore's Poppleton Neighborhood.


Three weeks before he was fired, Former Police Commissioner Anthony Batts held a meeting in a basketball court adjacent to a playground in West Baltimore. The community was invited to observe the meeting police were calling “community comstat”.

Programming Note: Today, we start a police reform series called, "On The Watch: Fixing The Fractured Relationship Between Baltimore's Police And Its Communities".  The series will run for the next twelve months.  Please email the reporter at mmadden@wypr.org with any comments or suggestions.

Crime in Baltimore is up, but police presence is down, residents say.  Arrests have plummeted, open air drug markets operate freely and since May 1, six homicide victims were under 18.

Baltimore’s police union announced Wednesday that it is launching a review of the police department’s actions in the days following Freddie Gray’s death from injuries sustained while in police custody.

Lt. Gene Ryan, president of the local Fraternal Order of Police, said more than 160 officers were injured during the riots after Gray’s funeral last month. He wants to clear up questions about what orders were given so that police officers will be safe should a similar situation arise in the future.  

Local foundations and the federal government have promised to funnel money into Baltimore for job training programs to respond to some of the communities’ needs articulated during the weeks or protests after the death of Freddie Gray. But what happens when the jobs don’t materialize?

For the first time since the city's unrest on April 27, Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony Batts talked openly yesterday about the situation his department faces as they try to re-build relationships with the community. He said it's a time of uncertainty for the city.

Baltimore police wrapped up yesterday their investigation into the death of Freddie Gray - the 25 year old African American man who died from injuries sustained while in police custody. But the findings weren't released to the public. That disappointed many who have been searching for answers. 

Protests continued in Baltimore as crowds gathered throughout the city calling for accountability in the death of Freddie Gray , a 25 year old African American man who died Sunday from spinal injuries obtained while in police custody.

Hundreds of local residents were at Coppin State University last night for a town hall meeting about police reform hosted by The U.S. Department of Justice.

    

Baltimore City’s Department of Public Works says it spends $ 16 million a year picking up trash from illegal dumping.  The city’s Department of Housing and Community Development Permits and Code Enforcement Division, the department that is responsible for tracking violations, says it handed out 840 citations for dumping and littering in the last year.

Julie Lawson from the advocacy group Trash Free Maryland Alliance, says there is far more illegal dumping than that number of citations would suggest. She compares Baltimore’s citations with Philadelphia’s. 

“(Philadelphia] gave out 120,000 citations for dumping and littering last year,” says Lawson, who met last week with Donald Carlton, the deputy commissioner of that city’s streets department.

Part of the reason for Baltimore’s lower number of citations could be that authorities are unclear on how to enforce the laws.

Within days after last June’s primary, pollsters had written off Republican Larry Hogan in his race against Lt. Governor Anthony Brown. But somehow, Hogan pulled off a stunning upset, capturing more than 51 percent of the vote for governor in one of the bluest states in the nation.

This is not the first rodeo for David Craig. In fact, it’s his 21st run for public office; a lot of campaigning for a man who considers himself less flashy than his opponents in the race for the Republican nomination for governor.

But making this race is something he’s been working toward for a long time. He’s been a state delegate, a state senator, Mayor of Havre de Grace and now, the Harford County Executive. And he’s developed a long record of balancing budgets, something he points to in his campaign.

Over the weekend, Baltimore lost a great talent - 44 year old photographer Sam Holden died while doing yard work on his father's farm in Harford County.  This biographical sketch originally aired in 2008.  It's the story of one boy's dream job: to photograph his favorite musicians and personal heroes.  His work has appeared in publications ranging from Rolling Stone to Forbes to the Baltimore City Paper.  But he started going out with his dad on photo shoots and then, uncovering his own style in the dark room.  

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