BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Baltimore police aren’t taking any chances of a repeat of the riots in April. The city’s top cop has canceled officers’ leave during the court hearings for the six officers accused in Freddie Gray’s arrest.
Christie Ileto with the new steps.
We’re days away from hearings that could stir up the same fiery emotion we saw during the April riots–and that has police taking every precaution.
It was the worst case scenario no one saw coming.
“The department was caught off guard by an event that hadn’t happened in 47 years,” said Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis.
Now top brass are trying to pace one step ahead by canceling all leave requests for this Wednesday, Sept. 2 and next Thursday, Sept. 10 during the pretrial hearings for the six cops involved in Freddie Gray’s April arrest, ensuring all hands on deck.
“Our intelligence is not predicting unrest. We do know that there will undoubtedly be some level of protests or presence by a lot of folks,” said Davis.
The 25-year-old’s death caused by injuries while in police custody fueled protests and violence that injured more than 100 officers.
The mayor insists the city is prepared.
“We are going to treat a protest like a protest and a riot like a riot. Should come across loud and clear,” said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.
Commissioner Davis would not disclose exactly where officers will be positioned, but it’s likely some of them will be around the courthouse during the hearings.
“I think it’s a good thing, but a thing that should have been done a long time ago,” said Sonja Merchant-Jones, Better Waverly Neighborhood Association.
Some community leaders argue the city should have been proactive from the start so that these measures being taken now wouldn’t have to be in place.
State police have also canceled leave for officers so that they can be on standby.
At least one protest is already in the works for Wednesday. The Peoples’ Power Assembly is planning to gather outside the courthouse at 8 a.m.