Former Baltimore police commissioner Anthony Batts says he “kinda lost it” when he informed city police officers nearly a year ago that six of their colleagues were being charged in the Freddie Gray case.
Batts has not talked publicly about the controversial case since being fired from his position in July. He was heavily criticized for city officers’ collective failure to respond to rioters and looters who descended on the city before Baltimore state’s attorney Marilyn Mosby announced charges in the case.
Gray was arrested on April 12 and died a week later from injuries he sustained while riding in the back of a police van. The van’s driver, Caesar Goodson, Jr., faced second-degree depraved heart murder charges. Three other officers face manslaughter charges.
Many observers felt that Mosby had little evidence to support her case.
Asked whether he thinks the cops should have been charged, Batts was vague but suggested that he disagreed with Mosby’s decision, which she announced on the steps of city hall on May 1.
“I’m gonna answer your question like this,” he began. “Unfortunately, in my career, in my almost 35 years of doing this job, I’ve had to tell wives that their husbands have been killed on duty. The only time that…I’ve kinda lost it was talking to my police officers in Baltimore about these six officers.”
The trial for one of the officers charged in the case — William Porter — ended in a mistrial late last year. Other trials begin next month.
Batts was also asked if he ordered officers to stand down as rioters destroyed Charm City. He said that he never gave such an order and that Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake did not do so either.
He chalked up the lapse to lack of training.
“We just didn’t have enough time to get prepared the way that we should. And that falls on me. And I take that accountability for that protest,” he told CBS News.