BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Hundreds march along North Avenue, rocked in recent months by violence and unrest. This comes at a pivotal point for the mayor, who just replaced the police commissioner and whose main rival, Sheila Dixon, was close at hand.
WJZ Investigator Mike Hellgren with the emotional night.
Organizers dedicated the march to the 12 children murdered so far this year in the city. It was a big debut for Baltimore’s new top cop and showed just how important getting violence under control will be for the mayoral race.
Hundreds of people fed up with the murders and shootings across Baltimore took their outrage to the streets.
“Just say enough is enough and really, really get together so we can band as one,” said Sean Stinnett, 300 Men March.
“Already this summer, near the hundreds of young people being killed, old people. It’s time for a change,” said Adia Jones, 300 Men March.
One by one, names of children killed this year were read aloud.
Unfortunately, the bloodshed has not let up, with at least eight people shot just since Thursday.
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, under fire over the surge in killings, made a critical change this week, replacing the commissioner with Kevin Davis.
“To fight relentlessly for safer communities and neighborhoods. I promise you that,” said Davis.
Hellgren: “Are you pleased with Commissioner Davis’ performance just over the past three days? Getting started, getting into things in his new position.”
Rawlings-Blake: “Absolutely. Commissioner Davis has been out talking to the rank and file officers. I am very pleased with his performance.”
Also in the crowd–former mayor Sheila Dixon, who wants Rawlings-Blake’s job.
Hellgren: “Do you think that it was inevitable that Commissioner Batts had to go?”
Dixon: “I’m not going to speak about the personnel change that happened because I think the leadership at the top sets the tone for whoever the commissioner is.”
Attracting other candidates to lead the troubled department will be tough.
“We have to take the politics out of this completely… get back to policing the streets of Baltimore,” said Bob Oatman, former Baltimore County chief of detectives.
This is the third anniversary of this event–the 300 Men March.
Councilman Brandon Scott addressed the crowd and said: “Our babies are being murdered on the streets, and too many of us are being silent. This is a funeral for the old Baltimore.”
Interim Commissioner Davis told WJZ he wants the job permanently.