BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A war of words plays out between Baltimore’s mayor and the union that represents city police. The union wants to know–did Stephanie Rawlings-Blake order police to stand down during violent riots that injured more than 100 officers.
Christie Ileto with the tense exchange.
Keeping the peace in Baltimore has been a struggle since April 27–both on the streets and now among city leaders–where a very public dispute is brewing between police brass, the union and the mayor.
No one was prepared when tensions boiling exploded at Mondawmin Mall before sweeping the city.
“They should have had all of the officers with the proper equipment on,” one officer said.
Two active city cops tell CNN they were ill-equipped and told to not engage. The police union wants explanations, tweeting Tuesday night a letter, saying it’s moving forward with an “after action report.”
“The release will resolve questions about what was ordered, in fact, what was not ordered,” said FOP President Lt. Gene Ryan.
At the heart of the discord is was there an order for police to stand down. The mayor responding in a Twitter frenzy, saying the truth will come out before calling the police union letter full of allegations that are not helping heal the city.
“I never gave an order to stand down,” said Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony Batts.
Even Commissioner Batts denies giving such an order.
Councilman Carl Stokes says it’s not the most pressing issue, like the surging crime and the 135 homicides this year.
Ileto: “How does this war of words that’s playing out in the public distract from the bigger issue?”
Stokes: “The back and forth that’s going on and the tweets between the mayor and the police department and the FOP and people are saying why are they fighting one another instead of fighting the criminals that are making our life really bad these days?”
Police have made reforms to training and purchased new equipment after 160 officers were injured during the riots.