BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Current and former Baltimore Ravens players traded in the playbook for policy Monday night, sitting down with city and state elected officials, as well as community members and activists, to talk about policing in Baltimore.
Super Bowl champion Anquan Boldin, joined by Baltimore Ravens running back Mark Ingram, former Ravens running back Matt Lawrence and former NFL player Joel Gamble, were among those who attended the town hall at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum in Baltimore.
For Boldin in particular, the meeting held a special meaning: four years ago this week, he said his cousin was killed by an off-duty police officer.
He’s now working to improve police and community relations to make Baltimore safer.
“We all realize there’s a mistrust between our community and law enforcement and we’re here to talk about those,” Boldin, who co-founded the Players Coalition, said.
Some of that mistrust comes in the wake of the Gun Trace Task Force scandal that saw multiple officers end up behind bars, Ingram said.
“Just from what I’ve learned, there’s been corruption so I think there should be another entity to investigate and make sure the facts are the facts and everyone’s being held accountable,” he said.
Gamble, meanwhile, said he thinks officers should get out of their vehicles more often and engage with community members.
“When you get out of your car and start to talk to the folks in the area, that helps you so when crime does occur you already have the relationship with these people so you can ask the tough questions,” he said.
The town hall comes in the wake of a violent weekend in the city — 17 people were shot, including a two-year-old boy. Four people died in the violence.
Police Commissioner Michael Harrison said more can be done.
“We can build relationships never built, improve good relationships and repair broken relationships,” he said.
Harrison and panelists agreed that transparency in policing is critical.