Baltimore Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 3 and Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake are having a battle of the press releases today, with the police union claiming that it is being denied information it requires to prepare its report on the Freddie Gray riots (also known as the #BaltimoreUprising) that left a section of the city looted and in flames.
FOP3 tweeted yesterday that its After Action Review of the riots — a job it insists should be the responsibility of City Hall and/or the Baltimore Police Department — was nearly complete.
However, today lodge president Lt. Gene Ryan issued a statement accusing City Hall and the Baltimore Police Department of deliberately stalling the release of the union’s report by withholding information such as recordings of command communications made during the riots.
The statement reads, in part:
A very crucial piece of information required for the report is all written correspondence and radio transmissions between City Hall and the Baltimore Police Department during the riots. We have also requested answers to several questions regarding the authority of the Department’s legal advisors when giving advice on criminal matters during the unrest, as well as the exact number of officers who have been placed on Medical Leave as the result of riot-related injuries. For more than a month, we have repeatedly requested that this information be provided to no avail. The fact that we have not been supplied the appropriate information shows obvious inaction or, quite possibly, an intentional stall tactic on the part of both the BPD and City Hall.
If the BPD has reviewed the tapes internally, which we hope and expect they have, they should easily be able to provide us with those recordings. By refusing to immediately release the radio transmissions and other command communications made during the riots, Commissioner Batts has missed an opportunity to regain the trust of the City as well as the rank and file police officers. The bottom line is simply that our leadership – Commissioner Batts and State’s Attorney Mosby – has done nothing since the riots to investigate protocol shortcomings and better prepare our officers.
Ryan concluded by saying that the union would complete its report without the tapes if necessary.
The mayor responded with her own press release asserting that FOP3’s allegations are “without basis and do nothing to help our city heal,” but that she is “grateful and humbled by the sacrifices our officers make each and every day.”
Incidentally, she also made no use of the word “riot” in her statement, preferring instead to refer to the Freddie Gray “unrest.”
The mayor tweeted sections of her statement.
Baltimore Sun crime reporter Justin Fenton would like to see some of the information from the riots as well, but it will cost the newspaper a bundle.