Baltimore officials try to dampen expectations of an immediate resolution to Gray …

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. BALTIMORE (AP) — Having weathered two all-night curfews with no major disturbances, Baltimore officials are now trying to manage growing expectations they will immediately decide whether to prosecute six police officers involved in the arrest of a black man who later died of injuries he apparently received while in custody.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.

In an effort to be transparent, authorities have told the community they plan to turn over the findings of a police investigation into Freddie Gray’s death to a state’s attorney by Friday. 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. 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. A senior law-enforcement source told Fox News the mayor had ordered her officers to stand down as the rioters torched buildings and cars and looted stores.

Both Rawlings-Blake and Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony Batts spent much of the day Wednesday trying to explain that no final resolution to the case would come Friday. Later, when asked by Fox News if there was a “hold back” order to police, Rawlings-Blake said, “No . . . you have to understand, it’s not holding back. Hassan Murphy, a lawyer for Gray’s family, underscored their comments, saying, “This family wants justice and they want justice that comes at the right time and not too soon.” Gray, 25, was pinned to a sidewalk, handcuffed and hoisted into a police van where he was put in leg irons after Baltimore officers said he made eye contact with them and ran. 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 mayor and others tried to stay focused on the positive Wednesday, applauding residents for obeying the 10 p.m.-5 a.m. curfew that first went into effect Tuesday night and for preventing a repeat of Monday night’s violence. “Things are looking really good today,” Gov.

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. Today they look better than yesterday, so we’re making a lot of progress.” There were signs throughout the city of life getting back to normal, with schools reopening and cars rolling as usual through streets that had been cleared of debris. 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 widespread protests Wednesday night — not only in Baltimore, but in several cities including Boston, New York and Washington, D.C. — made it clear that tensions over the case are far from subsiding.

Similar protests have erupted over the deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and Eric Garner in New York last year, and the death earlier this month in South Carolina of Walter Scott. 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. Associated Press writers Ben Nuckols, Juliet Linderman, Matthew Barakat, Tom Foreman Jr., Jessica Gresko, Brian Witte and Jeff Horwitz contributed to this report. 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.

In 2010, just before then-city council president Rawlings-Blake replaced a mayor who resigned under cloud of corruption, the Baltimore Sun called her “the No-Drama Queen, and that should suit everyone around here just fine.” In the current crisis, that style of leadership – the “quieter type,” is how political columnist Barry Rascovar described it – is a harder sell, particularly when there is property destruction. “She’s an attorney, and she talks like an attorney, qualifying things, and doesn’t lose her temper,” Rascovar said. 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. 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. 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. 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.” 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. She rebranded the public-access channel as “CharmTV,” with the programming moving away from government meetings to a celebration of Baltimore as a “quirky, edgy and fun place.” But simmering tensions over police brutality and how to respond to protests that have occasionally turned violent threaten to overwhelm such efforts. 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. 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.

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. 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. 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. 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.

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. 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. 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. 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.

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