BALTIMORE (WJZ) — It’s been one month since anti-police riots erupted in Baltimore and injured more than 100 city officers. Now Baltimore’s top cop reaches out to his ranks to tell them he let them down.
Christie Ileto talks to Commissioner Anthony Batts about what he wants to do better.
They showed up not knowing what to expect and not fully prepared for the violence directed towards them on April 27.
In a four minute recording obtained by our news partner, The Baltimore Sun, Commissioner Batts candidly apologizes in a private meeting.
“People think we’re down. People are giving up on us. People think we have a losing stance. And I mean this with all my heart: We need to show how [expletive] good we are,” he said.
“I should have listened to my intuition,” Batts told Ileto.
Batts tells WJZ he overlooked the growing unrest. More than 100 officers were injured that day.
Baltimore hadn’t seen riots of this caliber in decades, which is one of the reasons why Batts said he chose to focus police training elsewhere.
“I put more emphasis and more time on officer involved shootings and other issues to reduce excessive force,” the commissioner said. “By prioritizing that, we didn’t get mobile field force to the level we should have been getting to.”
“I think an apology is a good start, but it’s clearly not enough,” said crisis management expert Rob Weinhold.
“This is not an incident that happened overnight. It seemed to be escalating in the days preceding Mondawmin Mall,” he continued. “But the right resources need to be in place–the training, the equipment, manpower.”
The police union says it took a lot of courage for Batts to come forward and urges other leaders to do the same.
Crime skyrocketed in the days following the riot. More than three dozen have been killed.