By Rick Ritter

BALTIMORE (WJZ) –Police arrested a small number of protesters downtown Thursday morning after demonstrators refused to leave City Hall. A council committee was voting Wednesday night on one step in making Kevin Davis the permanent police commissioner. Dozens demanded the vote be stopped and refused to leave the building. After the arrests, police said the remaining protesters decided to leave. Those arrested were charged with trespassing.

WJZ’s Rick Ritter on the contentious situation.

Roughly 50 protesters remained inside City Hall, refusing to leave hours after the meeting has ended.

Kevin Davis was confirmed as commissioner Wednesday night, but it’s only one step closer to making it official.

What started out as a calm confirmation hearing to weigh in on the future of Commissioner Kevin Davis took a wild turn hours in, as City Council Chambers turned into a full blown protest.

Many were agitated that council wouldn’t let the commissioner respond to their questions.

Davis has been interim commissioner since Anthony Batts was fired months ago, taking over a city engulfed in turmoil following the death of Freddie Gray.

In the midst of yelling and screaming at Wednesday night’s hearing, a council committee voted in favor of Davis, confirming him as police commissioner of Baltimore City.

Even though protesters stole the show, Davis had an outpouring of support, including the president of Baltimore’s FOP, Gene Ryan.

Now the attention turns to his contract–one that pays Davis $200,000 a year and runs through 2020. Under the terms, if he’s fired without cause, it would trigger a $150,000 buyout.

The mayor calls it fair, but many aren’t on board.

Councilman Nick Mosby released the following statement:

“While I respect the work that Interim Commissioner Kevin Davis has done leading the Baltimore City Police Department out of an extremely challenging summer, I will not support his confirmation for Baltimore City Police Commissioner.  I fully support Kevin Davis staying on to the lead the police department in an interim capacity until such time as a new mayor is elected.”

“Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake’s decision not to seek re-election means that the City will have new leadership beginning in January, 2017.  The new mayor and the citizens of Baltimore should not be saddled with $150,000 golden parachute for another police commissioner should the new mayor decide to bring in new leadership for the department.”

“For a City that has paid out more than a half million dollars to seven former police commissioners in the past 15 years, the golden parachute negotiated by Mayor Rawlings-Blake for Interim Commissioner Davis is too much to ask our citizens to pay.  Again, I fully support Kevin Davis and his work with the department, and look forward to working with him in an interim capacity over the next year and half until a new mayor can determine if Davis’ leadership is right for the department.”

Despite Wednesday’s backlash, Davis says he’s far from rattled and looks forward to getting Baltimore back on track.

Ritter: “This isn’t discouraging for you at all?”

Davis: “Not at all. This is just part of where the city is right now. If we’re going to get to the other side of it, we’ve got to go through all these moments.”

Davis’ contract is not official. It requires a vote by the Board of Estimates, which is controlled by the mayor.

Full council still needs to approve of Wednesday night’s vote and Davis’ contract will by voted on by the Board of Estimates.

The committee voted in favor of Davis 3-1. The lone “no” vote came from Councilman Nick Mosby. Councilman Carl Stokes abstained from voting.

Rick Ritter

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