BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Right now, Baltimore City officer Andrew Groman remains in stable condition as questions persist about whether the man accused of shooting him should have been on the streets. And there’s more controversy surrounding the commissioner’s comments.
Investigator Mike Hellgren has more on the calls for Police Commissier Anthony Batts to apologize.
They stem from Commissioner Batts wondering whether those marching for lives lost to police brutality will support officers who are shot. Some say those words are divisive; others say the commissioner should not apologize to anyone.
With emotions running high moments after the shooting as Officer Andrew Groman fought for his life in the hospital, Commissioner Batts stood with the mayor and state’s attorney and less than 30 seconds into his press conference to update what happened to Groman said this: “We’ve had marches nationwide for the fact that we have lost lives in police custody. I wonder if we’re going to have those same marches as officers are shot, too.”
He quickly drew rebuke from leaders of recent protest marches—and just as quickly drew praise from police union FOP 34, representing transportation authority police Tweeted “Our hat is off to you for the best words a commissioner could say during the incident.” The city FOP thanked the commissioner for his comments relative to protests and injured/killed police.
The head of Baltimore’s NAACP says she believes Batts’ timing was wrong but stopped short of asking for an apology.
“I think his emotions and standing at the hospital with one of his officers being shot—that’s the way he reacted at that time. I think on any other given day, he would have been on the other side of the street, working with the community has he has been, trying to bring peace and order,” said Tessa Hill-Aston.
Batts himself has been at the scene of many protests, including the day before the shooting.
“Looking at the signs that say `Black lives matter’…from my standpoint, I like those signs. I understand those signs and that’s why we’re out here, to make sure people can voice that concern,” he said.
As the debate rages over whether Batts’ comments at the hospital were out of line, the commissioner—so far—isn’t taking them back.
“I don’t think too much is being made of it. No, I wouldn’t say that. I think it’s up to him to handle what he said,” Hill-Aston said.
Officer Groman has been on the force for three years. He is also a volunteer firefighter.
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