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In this April 27 photo, Baltimore police officers push back demonstrators who were throwing rocks at the police. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
In this April 27 photo, Baltimore police officers push back demonstrators who were throwing rocks at the police. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

FOP denied police, City Hall communications during April riots

As Baltimore prosecutors seek a court order to prevent public disclosure of evidence from their investigation into the death of Freddie Gray, the local Fraternal Order of Police announced it still is seeking disclosure of evidence in its investigation of the response to April’s rioting.

The FOP is conducting an after-action review and has requested police command communications and interactions with Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake’s office during the rioting. Several officers last week told me they were told to stand down and not engage with protestors, a decision they believed allowed the situation to escalate and then get out of hand.

Lt. Gene Ryan, president of the FOP, said in a statement Tuesday that he has not yet received the information despite repeated requests. Ryan said he was not sure if the denial was “obvious inaction” or a “stall tactic” but that either strategy sends a bad message.

“By refusing to immediately release the radio transmissions and other command communications made during the riots, Commissioner [Anthony] Batts has missed an opportunity to regain the trust of the City as well as the rank and file police officers,” Ryan said. “The bottom line is simply that our leadership – Commissioner Batts and State’s Attorney [Marilyn J.] Mosby – has done nothing since the riots to investigate protocol shortcomings and better prepare our officers.”

The after-action review will continue without the requested tapes but include police reports and officers’ notes and sworn statements, Ryan added.

“The conditions that led to the riot are still present and any incident can serve, once again, as a flash point,” he said.

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