It had just begun to rain, as various leaders of the community took their seats. Cops, police officers, of high and low rank, suited, unsuited, in uniform, all, mingling. We were awaiting the arrival of Baltimore’s Mayor Stephanie Rawlings Blake, and newly minted, acting Police Commissioner, Kevin Davis. It’s a Public Safety Forum. This is not West Baltimore, or East Baltimore, where the hotbed of uprisings took place this summer,(2015) but South Baltimore.
The building for this assemblage, looked immaculate, owned by the National Federation of the Blind, whose principals wore business suits, with only their white canes, indicating their challenge, if not their living standards. The Southern District of the Baltimore Police Department, is headquartered at 10 Cherry Hill Road, but not where the forum is being held. There are almost 40 neighborhoods in this district, but the only ones that make the news constantly, are Cherry Hill, Westport and Brooklyn. Most of the attendees were from Fells Point, Federal Hill, Riverside; areas near the gold mine, i.e. Baltimore’s Inner Harbor.
The National Federation of the Blind felt good to be host, for its members too, “have been fighting for civil rights” according to their President. Mayor Rawlings Blake said despite the black eye caused by the riots in Baltimore, she “will fight for progress” and not allow a “few handful of repeat offenders” thwart her progress. She is for police accountability, as the public has requested, but “it is not easy”.
Commissioner Kevin Davis relayed that the rank and file Police are not against body cameras, in fact, “if they were available, the line would stretch from HQ, all the way up the 83 Expressway”.
After the Q&A, I wanted to find out from the lees affluent neighborhood association officials, what their thoughts were about these forums. Watch the video.