Police Arrest Protesters Occupying Baltimore City Hall

Kerry Picket Political Reporter
Font Size:


Over a dozen activists were arrested by police Thursday morning after almost 50 protesters occupied Baltimore City Hall late Wednesday night demanding to meet with city officials. According to The Baltimore Sun, the protesters ranged from ages 16 to 38. Three were juveniles.

Protesters entered City Hall at 5 p.m. and listed 19 demands in an open letter to Mayor Stephanie Rawlings Blake and interim Police Commissioner Kevin Davis. Their protest was triggered as a result of their opposition to  Davis’ permanent appointment as Police Commissioner of Baltimore.

“We are out here trying to demand greater accountability and transparency in the Baltimore Police Department and the city government as a whole,” said activist Tre Murphy of the Balitmore Bloc and the Baltimore Agenda Project in a video posted to YouTube. “Frankly, we are tired and fed up with trying to figure out how to have conversations with people who clearly don’t respect us.”

Referencing the death of Freddie Gray and the riots that happened thereafter, the letter makes the demands below:

In order to maintain community safety, the city must do the following: 1. The first priority must be preservation of human life. The protection of property is always secondary to the protection of human life.

2. Law enforcement must have one central command. Has to be made clear to the public [sic]

3. Police will wear badges and name tags at all times. They will also wear only the attire minimally required for their safety. Specialized riot gear will be avoided except as a last resort.

4. Crowd control equipment such as armored vehicles, rubber bullets, and rifles will not be used. Tear gas may only be used as a last resort to the protection of human life.

5. Police or other government authorities will not interfere with the free flow of information through tactics such as limiting cell or internet access, interception of cell or other mobile conversations or unwarranted wiretaps.

6. Every attempt will be made to pinpoint arrests so that only individual lawbreakers will be arrested. Mass arrests will not be used. As it is in the current Baltimore arrest orders, arrest must always be a last resort.

7. Safe houses shall be considered sacred ground and only entered by police when called upon or if extremely necessary. We will provide a list of places we would like to serve as safe houses. Only entrance to the safe house will be with a warrant, No sealed warrant and no no-knock warrant.

8. Media and Legal Observers shall not be considered participants in protests and shall be allowed to do their jobs freely.

9. Every attempt will be made to provide alternate routes or other means for non-involved persons to get to places of employment and meet other transportation necessities. Buffer zone (two block buffer zone)

10. Strategically, police commanders will allow protests to take and occupy larger and more disruptive spaces than would normally be tolerated, and will allow occupation of those spaces for longer periods of time than would normally be tolerated in the interest of constitutional rights.

11. Clear standards of professionalism and sound community friendly-policing will be maintained and adhered to at all times.

12. Police will be instructed to be more tolerant of minor law breaking (such as thrown water bottles) when deciding whether to escalate the use of force.

13. Police rank and file will be instructed to provide every latitude to allow for free assembly and expression, treating protesters as citizens and not “enemy combatants.”

14. Excessive force and other forms of police misconduct will not be tolerated.

15. Intimidation and harassment of protesters will not be tolerated. This includes pretextual pedestrian or traffic stops, contacting of employers or family members, pre-emptive arrests or detention of “leaders,” publishing of private information and any other means of intimidation and harassment.

16. Bond for arrestees will not be set above the levels which would be considered average over the last two years, and arrestees will not be held for periods longer than average lengths of time. Medical care will be liberally made available. Attorneys will be able to travel to and meet with clients without impediments.

17. Channels of communication will be established between community liaison and police liaisons who is a direct representative if the command chain so that situations can be de-escalated if necessary.

18. Police will provide to the public information that makes clear the chain of command, who is making what decisions and the processes for deciding when the police response will be escalated.

19. Every attempt should be made to communicate with protesters to reach “common sense” agreements based on these protocols, both ahead of time and at the scene of protests.