It appears Charm City’s love affair with soft-on-crime is over
Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh has decided to fire Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis. You might remember Baltimore for the protests and rioting surrounding the death of Freddie Gray, a heroin dealer who died in the back of a police transport van.
With arms crossed and a frumpy face–characteristic of Pugh–she cited the out of control escalation in violence that has come to dominate all political conversation in the city of Baltimore. The city ended last year with 343 homicides–a record for a city of only 600,000 people.
Mayor Pugh has also announced other step-ups in police presence, including the tactics of swarming and swamping violent neighborhoods with police in hopes to clamp down on violence. All are tactics reminiscent of Philadelphia’s attempts to control escalating violence in the mid aughts, which eventually led to the implementation of stop and frisk.
It wasn’t that long ago that Baltimore residents enthusiastically installed Marylin Mosby as Baltimore’s top prosecutor. A self-styled progressive, Mosby tried and then failed to convict Balitmore city police officers who handled Freddie Gray. Since that time, crime has exploded. Deep distrust in police has nearly neutralized community outreach efforts. The despair has even led to revitalization efforts outside the downtown core slowing down and outer neighborhoods are seeing continued unabated blight.
It’s clear from Mayor Pugh’s firing of the police chief that there is a motivation to think about crime and policing differently.