Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake Defends Barring Fans From Orioles …

30 Apr 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Baltimore Mayor Treads Fine Line in Divided City.

BALTIMORE — With buildings ablaze and looters rampaging through city streets, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake faced television cameras Monday night and sternly denounced the rioters as “thugs.” The next day, with some black residents in an uproar over a word they call racially charged, she walked it back. “There are no thugs in Baltimore,” the mayor, who is African-American, said at a church, where she met with members of the clergy. “Sometimes, my own little anger translator gets the best of me.” The episode demonstrates the fine line Ms.

As masses of mostly peaceful demonstrators marched on City Hall, officials on Wednesday began their own offensive to prevent violence from flaring again Friday, when police are expected to turn their investigation into the death of Freddie Gray over to prosecutors.If you’re wondering why there were so many police on the street in Baltimore the other night, yet so many people were hurt and so much property was destroyed, here’s a possible answer. Rawlings-Blake, 45, walks as she tries to lead this majority black city out of what she calls “one of our darkest days.” It is also a vivid reminder that the presence of a black mayor (and black police commissioner) does not guarantee a bond or rapport with poor black residents that might help calm a city going through the kind of trauma facing Baltimore. Rawlings-Blake defended her actions — as well as Maryland Governor Larry Hogan’s decision to not be overly “aggressive” towards rioters — on Saturday and Monday as not a stand down but an appropriate response for the time. “The situation on the ground when you are engaged in an incident is a lot different than what you can see or experience on television.

A politically active Baltimore native and University of Maryland law professor, Gibson lived through the 1968 riots after Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination. Black men dying at the hands of police had become “a slow-rolling crisis” in America, as President Obama would put it nine days after Gray’s death. On a relatively subdued day, when the Orioles resumed play but in an empty Camden Yards and police and National Guard troops remained in force on city streets, city officials and lawyers for Gray’s family worked to explain what to expect in the coming days.

The police were about 75 yards up there… That’s what we saw happen.” Vittert also noted that when he was covering the looting Monday night, a Baltimore city councilman told him that he had “asked the police to back up so we could talk to looters.” (WATCH: Badly Injured Cop Dragged Away From Baltimore Riot) In an interview with Fox’s Bill Hemmer earlier Wednesday, Rawlings-Blake denied that such an order had been issued. “So there was no order to hold back?” he asked. “Or was there?” And he firmly praises Rawlings-Blake for exactly what has lately made her a target of criticism, including by Maryland’s governor: Her relatively muted initial response to protests over Freddie Gray’s death in police custody. “At least this time, the law enforcement people did not overreact,” Gibson said, comparing it to 1968, when six people were killed and over 700 injured. “They did not exacerbate the violence. And Freddie Gray was a black man who entered a police van handcuffed and conscious on April 12 and came out less than an hour later comatose, with his spinal cord nearly severed. Attorney Hassan Murphy said Gray’s relatives are “all terribly concerned” that those expecting a major break in the case could allow their disappointment to explode in anger. Rawlings-Blake might be “able to share additional facts and details to the public,” spokesman Kevin Harris said, but she does not want to undermine the investigation.

First she said she was giving rioters “space to destroy,” then she claimed she never said that, then she admitted she said it but meant the exact opposite. I watched her and the police take a posture of containment and not escalating.” Rawlings-Blake – who has deep roots in the city and long been considered a rising star in the Democratic party – may have had a more recent police response in mind when she held off on requesting assistance from the National Guard until Monday. “People don’t want their military equipment being used on them when they’re just voicing their opinion.

The city that lures visitors with crab cakes and the legacy of Edgar Allan Poe paid out nearly $6 million in settlements to more than 100 victims of police brutality in the four years from 2011 through 2014, according to the Baltimore Sun. In New York, hundreds swarmed into Union Square “to show the people of Baltimore that we stand in solidarity with them,” organizers there said in a statement.

Rawlings-Blake offered her own city’s response to the Occupy Baltimore movement as a counterexample. “We were very judicious in the use of force,” she said. “You have to be. The mood was light-hearted around the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, where about 1,000 gathered for a free outdoor concert by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.

You don’t get do-overs with things like that.” In recent days, some have wished the mayor had a “do-over.” Critics largely on the right have seized on her words that she “gave those who wished to destroy space to do that as well.” (She maintains she meant that rioters exploited the space intended for protesters.) Rawlings-Blake has been accused of being too passive in the police response. After the turmoil and a new curfew intended to clear the streets by 10 p.m. forced the cancellation of other events, the noontime concert attracted those hungry for the sound of music rather than sirens. Other critics, mostly those focused on police brutality, have noted her prior veto of a body camera bill – she appointed a working group that took several months to study it, but says she supports the move – and were outraged at the mayor’s use of the racially loaded word “thugs” on Monday. With her elite upbringing (her mother is a doctor, and her father was one of Maryland’s most powerful politicians) and serious, reserved political style, Ms. But the concertgoers’ chants of “Thank you, BSO,” eventually gave way to those of several different groups of protesters who took to the streets on Wednesday.

She joined hundreds of high school and college students from campuses across the city who converged Wednesday evening on Penn Station and marched to City Hall. If you arrest someone and the wagons aren’t there, what are you gonna do with them?” Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani disagrees with the tactic used by Rawlings-Blake, telling the hosts on “Fox and Friends” Wednesday that what Maryland officials, Missouri officials and New York officials did during riots is apply a now-discredited policing theory. Gray’s death has exposed those tensions as never before. “A lot of us don’t like her,” said Jasmine Squirrel, 25, a high school classmate of Mr.

Referencing one particular riot from a policing report discrediting the “cooling off period” for rioters, Giuliani said, “The mayor at the time basically allowed the people to riot at the time–to get the steam–to get it out. While tourists enjoy the Baltimore of the Inner Harbor–a growing, high-end, pedestrian-friendly magnet for rising millennials–television viewers are more familiar with the Baltimore of The Wire. At the intersection of Pennsylvania and North avenues, the center of much of the unrest, police and reporters far outnumbered protesters and neighbors. “I’d ask that we remember that Baltimore is more than just a symbol. He added, “She’s run a solid government but not a flashy government.” Calling herself a “Baltimore girl through and through,” the 45-year-old Rawlings-Blake is the only black female mayor among the 100 largest cities in the country. That’s a city where the population crested in 1950 and the receding tide of humanity left behind entire neighborhoods of dilapidated row houses and shuttered factories.

Until finally so upset, because the cops were being beaten up so bad, that Chief Anemone had to come in, under Ray Kelly who had been a deputy, and they had to end the riot. Lynch lauded the city for returning to calm after Monday’s violence, and said she telephoned an officer hospitalized with injuries from the riots to wish him a speedy recovery. That was after three days of people getting pounded and beaten.” Giuliani explained, “So in the report, Gentilly writes, ‘you shouldn’t allow a cooling off period. But locals knew her first as the daughter of Howard “Pete” Rawlings’ daughter, the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee for many years.

She turned up — dressed in an elegant navy three-piece knit suit and matching patent leather heels — at a school in Sandtown-Winchester, the West Baltimore neighborhood where Mr. And so is Broadway East, where a $16 million residence under construction for low-income seniors burned down in what the mayor is calling a riot-related case of arson. Larry Hogan, who have differed on how to respond to the unrest, stepped up public appearances, particularly in the Sandtown-Winchester neighborhood, where Gray was arrested April 12. Hogan, on his way to a meeting at the NAACP’s satellite office on Gilmor Street, stopped to shoot basketballs at a playground with several young men from the community. She spearheaded the first-ever legislation requiring so-called Crisis Pregnancy Centers, which seek to dissuade women from having abortions, to disclose whether they actually provided the service.

The resignation of Mayor Sheila Dixon (who was convicted of stealing gift cards meant for low-income kids) elevated Rawlings-Blake from city-council president to mayor, but she was re-elected to her own full term with 87% of the vote. It doesn’t get cooler.” However, Congressional Black Caucus members appear to like the response from the Baltimore City Police, believing that “much can be learned from managing civil unrest by the way this was handled.” Bearing talking points titled “NOTE: Speak to YOUR record,” she told reporters she lobbied lawmakers in Annapolis, unsuccessfully, to revise the state’s Maryland Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights, and brought the Justice Department to the city to review police misconduct. Baltimore, like other post-industrial cities, ”has experienced a significant decline in manufacturing in recent decades, a concomitant loss in jobs, a significant increase in blighted buildings and loss of population,” according to a 2013 multi-city study by George Mason University. “But what sets Baltimore apart is this: the city has not experienced a financial emergency … Despite these challenges, the city is on reasonably solid financial footing.” Some of the credit goes to Rawlings-Blake’s five years in office, under which the city’s credit rating has risen to AA.

One in 4 juveniles was arrested at least once from 2005 to 2009. “It’s one of the most disinvested neighborhoods in our city,” says Lawrence Brown, a community activist and professor of health policy at Morgan State University. I’m passionate about helping communities that are in need, my track record speaks to it,” Rawlings-Blake said. “It concerns me that the people I care about don’t know what’s on my heart.” Jenkins, who said he has had his own run-ins with police, said there would be trouble Friday if officers involved in Gray’s arrest are not charged. “It’s going to be hell in my city,” he said. “I don’t want it to be.” Police Capt. Rawlings-Blake would race through the corridors of the State House in Annapolis, telling her parents she wished they could live in the capital city full time. Later Wednesday, Rawlings-Blake huddled with clergy at New Shiloh Baptist Church, scene of Gray’s funeral service two days earlier, to discuss ways to ward against just what Jenkins was predicting. Rawlings-Blake has pointed out in her own defense that she went to Annapolis, the state capital, with two police reform bills, one that would have created a felony “misconduct in office” charge for police and another that would have limited appeals for officers disciplined for such misconduct.

As Obama noted, during remarks in the Rose Garden that ranged from determined to despairing, “I think we, as a country, have to do some soul-searching. In 2002, Rawlings-Blake opened her front door to find her brother covered in blood, nearly decapitated by a sword in a carjacking in front of her house. And without making any excuses for criminal activities that take place in these communities,” he continued, in Baltimore and elsewhere “you have impoverished communities that have been stripped away of opportunity, where children are born into abject poverty.” The parents, “often, because of substance-abuse problems or incarceration or lack of education themselves, can’t do right by their kids.” The President was frustrated that attention to this tangle of problems is so sporadic, with satellite trucks and blue-ribbon panels dispatched only “when a CVS burns … when a young man gets shot or has his spine snapped.” But Baltimore is as good a place as any to learn just how complicated and change-resistant these problems can be. After her brother was attacked, “I wasn’t going to turn my neighborhood over to a couple of kids who came out to do harm,” Rawlings-Blake said later. She soon convened a forum, which she said was partly inspired by President Barack Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper Initiative, and which her chosen host, Rev.

Jamal Harrison Bryant, said would be “addressing head-on the issue of black-on-black homicide.” “We show anger over police misconduct, but far too often, we ignore something that should prompt just as much outrage,” Rawlings Blake said in her State of the City Address. Crime rates have fallen sharply over the past two decades, mirroring a national trend–yet they remain significantly higher than in most U.S. cities.

Despite her closeness to O’Malley, now a presidential hopeful, Rawlings-Blake has distanced herself from his numbers-driven, broken-windows approach to crime fighting. She and Police Commissioner Anthony Batt invited the Justice Department’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services to do a “collaborative review” of the department’s practices.

Sun reporters Pamela Wood, Michael Dresser, Kevin Rector, Colin Campbell, Mary Carole McCauley, Alison Knezevich, Mark Puente and Doug Donovan contributed to this article. It is widely believed in Baltimore that O’Malley would never have been elected without the surprise support of Pete Rawlings, about whom the word “kingmaker” was often used. Indeed, Baltimore has always produced strong black figures, from the religious leader Mary Elizabeth Lange to Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall (who once lived in the neighborhood where Freddie Gray died).

She has taken high-profile posts in the United States Conference of Mayors and the Democratic National Committee, and has been mentioned, but has ruled out running, for the Senate seat being vacated by Barbara A. But it turns out that diversity at the top and integration of the middle class are challenges of a different order than the crisis of the left behind. Those African American police officers are not likely to live in Baltimore’s most troubled neighborhoods, and when Mayor Rawlings-Blake initially characterized the rioters in her city, she chose a word–thugs–that seemed to distance her from the deeper problem. According to Rawlings-Blake herself, a character in the celebrated HBO show “The Wire” was based on her father. (She never got into the show herself.) On that show, the young, ambitious white mayor transparently based on O’Malley beats the odds by getting the endorsement of state delegate Odell Watkins, a respected legislator who is arguably the only politician on the show who show much integrity. Another character, the city council president who is waiting for the mayor to run for governor so she can get her turn, is supposedly based on Rawling-Blake’s predecessor Dixon.

Joseph Capista, a lecturer at Towson University who helped organize demonstrations outside Gray’s wake on Sunday, says he has lived in several neighborhoods around Baltimore. Policing in more-affluent white neighborhoods, he says, is almost always more respectful than in poorer black ones. “We live in an antebellum society in terms of racial justice,” he says. Rawlings-Blake does not “have her ear to the ground,” and pays more attention to developers than poor people. “She puts a lot of money into the harbor and gives a lot of money to billionaire developers,” he said. “Meanwhile, the neighborhoods haven’t gotten better in 40 years.” Aides to the mayor say she has worked hard to improve living conditions in neighborhoods like the one where Mr. They say she is building new recreation centers — one opened last year and two more are planned — and 3,000 homes have been demolished or rehabilitated on her watch. She has secured $1 billion from the General Assembly to repair or replace aging schools, they said. “You’ve got alcoholism, you’ve got drug abuse, we have parents that don’t value school, but you want to blame the mayor?” said Munir Bahar, a founder of 300 Men March, an antiviolence initiative.

Somehow, given all that is true of Baltimore and all that has fed the nation’s slow-rolling crisis, it seemed too much to hope that the worst might be over. For every rioter, the city’s neighborhoods produced more men willing to lock arms to form a buffer between demonstrators and police, more teenagers willing to sweep sidewalks clean of broken glass.

Gray’s funeral, told the students that they could hold the city’s black leaders, including the mayor, accountable, and that they had the power to vote politicians in or out of office. The men and women who leaped to defend and repair their neighborhoods are the agents of hope that Baltimore so desperately needs, and theirs is the energy that might be harnessed to meet the daunting challenge of what comes next.

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