Baltimore Mayor Fires Police Chief

Anthony Batts is out amid rising crime and criticism over Freddie Gray
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 8, 2015 4:08 PM CDT
Baltimore police chief Anthony Batts in April.   (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

(Newser) – Not-so-surprising news out of Baltimore: Police chief Anthony Batts is out of a job. Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake announced his firing today, reports the Baltimore Sun. "We need a change," she said. "The people of Baltimore deserve better." Though the mayor praised the chief's nearly three years of service, she said the city's surge in violence demanded action. Batts also has taken criticism of late not only for his handling of the Freddie Gray riots but for the department's alleged culture of misconduct and brutality. (The Justice Department, for example, is investigating.)

Before the mayor's announcement, the police union issued a scathing report accusing Batts and other department leaders of a "passive" response to the initial Freddie Gray unrest that led to further violence, reports CNN. Top commanders "put the image of themselves and City Hall ahead of the safety of its citizens and public servants," says the union. A spokesperson for the mayor criticized the union for "baseless" accusations like that. (This sign inside a police van probably didn't help Batts' case.)

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