Baltimore’s state attorney and the city’s police commissioner admitted that police officers using heavy policing tactics in the past helped keep Baltimore’s murder count down.
Baltimore is currently struggling with one of its highest murder counts in years, something that could have been influenced by a change in policing tactics, State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby and Police Commissioner Kevin Davis implicitly acknowledged in an exclusive interview with the Baltimore Sun Wednesday.
Years ago, the city had tamped down on the violence and brought the homicides down to less than 200 in a year by using “heavy handed police tactics” that are now frowned upon, the two noted in the interview.
“There was a price to pay…that manifested itself in April and May of 2015,” Davis said, alluding to the Baltimore riots over Freddie Gray. “I think the long view is that doing it the right way is doing it the hard way, and I think most Baltimoreans realize that the way forward is not always going to be easy.”
The Baltimore Police Department came under scrutiny and heavy criticism after Freddie Gray died in police custody in 2015. A Department of Justice investigation into the police department found that the officers routinely performed unconstitutional stops, arrests, used excessive force and attributed the problems to “systemic deficiencies” in the department’s training, policies and supervision.
Baltimore is currently on track to reach 300 homicides for the year. The city’s mayor, Catherine Pugh, released a crime plan earlier this month that uses a more holistic approach to fighting the violence. Pugh’s plan includes making Baltimore Community College free for high school students, hiring more officers, improving the training of police officers and helping rehabilitate drug addicts.
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