BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Baltimore’s mayor is vowing to take a thorough look at the city police department’s riot gear after complaints that some gear failed and officers didn’t have enough protection during the Freddie Gray riots.
Derek Valcourt has more from the mayor and concerns over that equipment.READ MORE: Maryland Could Start Seeing Snow As Early As Tuesday
She says they’ll be looking at quality and quantity after some gear broke down and some officers complained they didn’t have enough.
WJZ crews were in the sky and on the ground April 27th as young kids grabbed rocks and bricks and began hurling them at police. Soon, hundreds of city officers were forming lines, wearing protective helmets and armed with riot shields—but our cameras spotted many officers without shields. In fact, city officials say they knew police needed more gear than they had available. At least 150 officers were injured in the riots, including some who recently sat down to talk with Vic Carter.
“We had a helmet at the time,” said Captain Byron Conaway, Baltimore Police. “A couple of the officers had shields but I’m a commander; I didn’t have a shield when I walked up on scene.”READ MORE: 'Serious' Crash Slows Traffic On I-97 In Anne Arundel County
There are also questions about the effectiveness of some of those riot shields. Some shields were broken because of all of the rocks and bricks that were thrown.
“We cannot allow another situation to emerge in which our officers pull out a little-used piece of equipment and discover it’s not up to the task,” said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.
The mayor is now ordering a thorough evaluation of all of the police department’s riot gear. She says they’ll order more and make sure what they already have is tested for quality on a regular basis to make sure it’s ready when needed.
“Specifically, I want to be prepared should there be additional unrest following the verdicts in the Freddie Gray case,” Rawlings-Blake said.
She says they’ve begun the process of getting cameras installed in the back of police vans like the one that transported Freddie Gray so they can have a complete and accurate picture of what occurs there.MORE NEWS: Ravens' Humphrey Likely Out For Season After Injury Against Steelers, Reports Say
The mayor says some of the riot equipment reviews are already ongoing.