Anthony Batts is out as Baltimore’s police commissioner, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake announced today in a press conference. The city’s Deputy Police Commissioner Kevin Davis will immediately step into the role on an interim basis.
Rawlings-Blake said the move was necessary after the extreme violence Baltimore has seen in the past few months. As of today, there have been 155 murders in Baltimore in 2015. At this point last year, there had been 105. May, with 43 murders, was the deadliest month the city has seen in 40 years. May also happened to be when the protests surrounding Freddie Gray’s death died down. One theory for the spike in violence is the narcotics that flooded the streets after more than 20 pharmacies in Baltimore were broken into during the protests.
Another theory is that Batts was just doing a bad job. Earlier today the Baltimore FOP released an “after action review” about the violence that erupted in Baltimore in April. It put the blame at the feet of police leadership, whose “passive response … allowed the disorder to grow into full scale rioting.” Following the release of the report, a group of faith leaders and a city councilman called on Batts to resign. Along with the mishandling of the protests, the complaints about Batts included the recent revelation that Baltimore’s police stations are closed at night (or at least they were until that revelation). “That is stupid with a capital ‘S,’” councilman Ed Reisinger said.