BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Days of chaos in Baltimore. Riots after the death of Freddie Gray. A new independent report is out on how city police handled the situation and the improvements that can be made.
Derek Valcourt with a look at the problems and what’s being done to fix them.
From the first rocks thrown until the last fire was out, the city scrambled to respond to the riots.
Now an independent report called “Lessons Learned from the 2015 Civil Unrest in Baltimore” found the city faced several major weaknesses during the turmoil.
The police department was faulted for inadequate planning, for having unclear arrest policies, for lacking adequate riot gear, and there was confusion at the command center, where dozens of key city and police leaders crowded into one room.
“It is our goal that something like that never happens again,” said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.
The mayor and police leaders on Monday acknowledged the criticisms in the report, which they say mirrors their own assessment of the city’s riot response.
The police commissioner says there were no surprises in the report. That’s why they’ve already made most of the recommended changes.
They’ve already spent $2 million on new riot gear, officers and command staff have gone through additional training, and new incident plans and policies have been put in place as a guide for future unrest.
“We’re ready now and we’re prepared and the city is in a much better place,” said Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis.
The union representing city police officers says the report echoes concerns they found in their own review of the riots, but they added praise for the department, saying it “…has worked diligently to correct its past faults and to better prepare for any further situations of this nature.”
In the days after the riots, there were rumors that officers were told to stand down. The independent investigators say they couldn’t prove it, but said there certainly was confusion about some of the orders they were given.
The report also issued strong praise for the Baltimore Police Department officers for showing courage under pressure.
For a complete look at the independent report, CLICK HERE.