The spike in crime and decrease in arrests in Baltimore since the death of Freddie Gray is the partial result of low morale among the police force, an anonymous city cop told CNN.
The 12-year veteran said of officers’ morale: “It’s in the sewers. It’s down. It’s the worst I have seen in my career.”
He said that officers have slowed their response to 911 calls. And when they do answer, they often travel in groups of three or four out of fear for their safety and of being accused of wrongdoing.
Six Baltimore officers were indicted by a grand jury on Thursday in the April 19 death of the 25-year-old Gray. He was arrested following a foot chase on April 12 and sustained a broken neck while riding in the back of the police van that was transporting him to jail.
“Officers stopped being proactive,” the anonymous cop told CNN. “I believe it is the direct result of officers holding back.”
According to CNN, non-fatal shootings in the city have increased 66 percent. Murders have also spiked. Baltimore has already surpassed the 100 murder threshold, a level it did not reach last year until July.
While crime is on the rise, arrests have cratered. According to CNN’s Anderson Cooper, 626 arrests occurred on average each week before the Gray incident. Last week, there were only 358.
The officer said that in order to help improve morale, Baltimore’s police commissioner, Anthony Batts, “needs to go.”
Interviewed by Cooper and asked whether Baltimore police are refusing to do their jobs, Batts said “I hope not.”
“I hope my guys would have stronger character than that.”