BALTIMORE (WJZ) — There are new questions about the curfew put in place by the mayor after the riots. Did she have the authority? And why was it for the entire city?
WJZ Investigator Mike Hellgren with a new interview.
A motion filed by the public defender claims the mayor did not have the authority to institute the curfew. A number of store owners tell WJZ their business is still soft.
For those arrested only for violating Baltimore’s curfew, the outcome was sweet. Prosecutors dropped all charges.
But the curfew left many business owners sour, like Tom Cooper, who’s owned Leadbetter’s Tavern–a mainstay in Fells Point–for 34 years.
“Moneywise, it absolutely destroyed it because our business is a night business,” said Cooper. “Friday and Saturday night were just gone. I mean, that’s thousands right there.”
He believes the mayor would never have needed the costly curfew had she acted more quickly to get the unrest under control.
“They should have stopped it on Saturday night and not held back on people tearing everything up,” said Cooper. “That’s really ridiculous.”
So WJZ asked the mayor–knowing what you know now, would you handle the curfew differently?
“We had that one horrible night of unrest and the rest of the week was calm. So if you judge the decision by the outcome, I think that my decision was sound,” Mayor Rawlings-Blake said.
We also asked–Mayor, could you have exempted any areas of the city? Like those with heavy concentrations of businesses downtown? She said no.
“With the issues that we have around injustice, around issues of poverty, around racial inequality, the one way to make sure you exacerbate that problem is to make sure the more affluent areas don’t have a curfew. You can’t do that,” said the mayor.
“That’s a very tough decision I know the mayor did not take it lightly, and I think under the circumstances she had to do what she felt was best for the city,” said Donald Fry, President and CEO of the Greater Baltimore Committee.
But some in the business community worry about what’s next.
Hellgren: “Have you noticed any continuing impact? Has business been soft since?”
Cooper: “This weekend was way off.”
Those people arrested, who face charges beyond curfew violation, are still being prosecuted.