Body­cams un­der­mine Bal­ti­more po­lice trust

The Washington Times Daily - - METRO - BY JULIET LINDERMAN

BAL­TI­MORE | The Bal­ti­more Po­lice De­part­ment is hav­ing a tough time restor­ing pub­lic con­fi­dence in the trou­bled agency.

The city is on pace to break its decades-old mur­der record, and the body cam­era pro­gram that was rolled out to in­crease trans­parency has fu­eled al­le­ga­tions of mis­con­duct af­ter a pair of prob­lem­atic videos re­cently sur­faced.

The videos come about two years af­ter the death of a young black man in po­lice cus­tody thrust the de­part­ment into tur­moil and set off un­rest through­out the city. Fred­die Gray’s death led to the fir­ing of the po­lice chief, a Jus­tice De­part­ment in­ves­ti­ga­tion that found long­stand­ing pat­terns of dis­crim­i­na­tion and abuse and a court-en­force­able or­der to change.

“We wouldn’t be un­der a con­sent de­cree if we didn’t have is­sues,” po­lice Com­mis­sioner Kevin Davis said ear­lier this year at a news con­fer­ence an­nounc­ing the fed­eral in­dict­ment of seven gun squad of­fi­cers. They had been caught on a wire­tap work­ing to­gether to rob and il­le­gally de­tain cit­i­zens.

At least 39 cases in­volv­ing the of­fi­cers were dis­missed, and city pros­e­cu­tor Mar­i­lyn Mosby agreed to review con­vic­tions in cases in­volv­ing those of­fi­cers dat­ing back to 2015.

Since he was ap­pointed in 2015, Com­mis­sioner Davis has pledged his com­mit­ment to rid­ding the de­part­ment of cor­rup­tion but has said the process will take time. “I’ve said on more than one oc­ca­sion: Good cops hate to work with bad cops,” he said.

The al­le­ga­tions of wrong­do­ing keep com­ing. In late July Ms. Mosby an­nounced that her of­fice had dis­missed 34 cases that re­lied al­most ex­clu­sively on the tes­ti­mony of one or more of­fi­cers in a re­cently re­leased body­cam video. That video shows an of­fi­cer plac­ing a bag of pills in­side a soup can in an al­ley, then walk­ing out to the street to meet two other of­fi­cers. The first of­fi­cer then turns around, walks back into the al­ley and picks up the bag.

Those of­fi­cers are in­volved in about 120 cases in all, Ms. Mosby said.

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