BALTIMORE (WJZ)–Baltimore’s City Council president is calling on the Department of Justice to conduct a full review of the city’s police department. This comes after a series of police brutality cases across the city.
Late Friday afternoon, Commissioner Anthony Batts addressed that request.
Rick Ritter has the details.
Commissioner Batts announced he and Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake are too calling on the federal government to review their department.
Batts says he and the mayor have been talking about this for quite some time. He says “we have nothing to lose and everything to gain.”
Disturbed and disgusted. Commissioner Batts says the recent behavior of some Baltimore City police officers is unacceptable.
“Their actions bring discredit to us all and tarnish our work with our community,” Batts said.
Commissioner Batts’ request for a full review by the Department of Justice comes after multiple videos of police brutality surfaced –including one from June, showing an officer brutally beating a man at a bus stop.
That citizen filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit.
“What you have here is an officer who is very mad because he felt a city resident disrespected him,” said Ivan Bates, victim’s attorney.
A recent investigation by the Baltimore Sun revealed a number of police brutality cases across the city, but commissioner Batts says that article has nothing to do with his request.
“I don’t think the newspaper article had anything to do with it. As I said, day one when I walked in the door we started this reform,” Batts said.
The Sun’s investigations also revealed more than 100 people have won settlements that along with legal fees cost city taxpayers $11.5 million over the years.
“We know there are a few of us who are not in alignment with the philosophy I have set forth for this police agency,” Batts said.
Mayor Rawlings-Bblake says it’s clear the changes are necessary and that a full review by the federal governments into their policies and procedures will help put the past behind them and benefit the entire city.
“The issue for me is making sure that we’re doing everything we can,” Mayor Rawlings-Blake said.
“I’ve heard the complaints. I’ve heard the distrust and it’s clear there’s still work to be done, and we’re still up to the challenge,” Batts said.
There is no exact timetable on how soon the review will start, but Batts says he imagines pretty quickly.
Batts noted that Las Vegas and Philadelphia police both had a similar review to help improve their departments.
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