On The Watch: How Will Baltimore Police Respond To The Call For Help?
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”.
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.
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?