It is official – Anthony Batts is no longer the Police Commissioner of Baltimore City. Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake informed Batts of her decision earlier today. The decision comes on the same day that the Fraternal Order of Police released their review of the police’s response to the riots following the death of Freddie Gray, calling them “preventable”. The report concluded that the “overwhelming sentiment of officers is that the Baltimore Police Department’s response to the riot was lacking in many areas.”
The mayor, who had fully supported Batts in recent months, said in her press conference that her decision was not placating the FOP. Her decision was based on the recent crime surge, including a quadruple shooting just last night, and the negative attention it has brought on the city’s police leadership. She said the focus should not be on the leadership but on the actual police work the department does.
Newly appointed Interim Police Commissioner Kevin Davis said his focus will be to fight crime and improve community relationships. He emphasized these will be service relationships and not enforcement relationships. Davis was formerly the Deputy Police Commissioner for Baltimore and prior to that served as the Chief of Police in Anne Arundel County.