On Wednesday, the police union of Baltimore asked the police department to provide emails and text messages so that it would be able to investigate the accusations that officers were deployed unsafely by commanders during the riots last April.
According to the Baltimore Sun, Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony W. Batts said he would provide the requested data and also stated that the decisions of his commanders were also going to be reviewed by an independent police organization.
Since the riots, there have been many emotional issues developing between the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 3 and the department leadership.
This tension comes as a record surge of violence is happening in the city.
On Wednesday, Batts stood with law enforcement partners to examine the ways police are attacking the recent surge of violence. There were three more homicides on Wednesday, bringing the total for June up to six. In May, there were 43 killings, which is the most for a month in Baltimore since 1971.
Batts added, “We are aggressive in our crime fight, using all the resources that are available to us.”
The commissioner also talked about the morale of the police force since the death of Freddie Gray, who died in April while in police custody after a spinal cord injury.
The commanders’ response to the riots in April has been also been criticized by officers, saying they did not have adequate protection gear. In addition, a “stand down” order during the riots may have endangered the officers’ safety.
Batts claimed that no one in his command staff gave that order.
Union President Gene Ryan said at a news conference Wednesday that union members want to know exactly what was ordered during the violence.
Ryan also said that the union members have asked the Police Department for access to all communications (from April 27 – May 4) from the command staff and for all of the emails between City Hall and the police commanders.
Batts said, “What I was looking for was an unbiased outside review.”
Wednesday, Ryan claimed that the union had waited for Baltimore police to launch its own review; however, when Batts realized this wasn’t happening, the union pushed to resolve these issues.
Ryan said, “What really matters are the lives of the men and women who protect our streets.”