Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has fired the city’s police commissioner, Anthony Batts. Batts served as commissioner for close to three years before being fired.
During his tenure, Baltimore’s police force operated under a culture of brutality. Since 2012, more than 100 people have won court judgments and settlements due to police brutality and civil rights violations. Many of the victims had not committed extreme acts of violence. Victims of police brutality included a 26-year-old pregnant woman who witnessed a police beating; an 87-year-old grandmother helping her wounded grandson; a 50-year-old woman selling church raffle tickets; and a 65-year-old church deacon who was apprehended for rolling a cigarette.
In turn, the city had to pay victims $5.7 million of taxpayers’ money. These cases occurred before Freddie Gray’s death which sparked an uprising on the streets.
There has also been a spike in violence in Baltimore as there have been 155 homicides this year. The removal of Batts will begin to answer some questions, but it could take a while before a complete overhaul occurs within the department.
Batts has been replaced by Deputy Commissioner Kevin Davis, who has been with the force since January.