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Former Baltimore Police commissioner Anthony Batts answers a question Wednesday, during a panel discussion examining the unrest in Baltimore that led to his being fired, at Mount Saint Mary's University in Emmitsburg. Batts says the police department failed to improve public trust under his leadership. (Graham Cullen /The Frederick News-Post via AP)

Ex-Baltimore police commissioner discusses tenure, firing

A standing-room-only audience gathered at the Marion Burk Knott Auditorium for a panel discussion that included former Baltimore Police commissioner Anthony Batts, Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2015 at Mount Saint Mary's University in Emmitsburg, Md. (Graham Cullen/The Frederick News-Post via AP)

A standing-room-only audience gathered at the Marion Burk Knott Auditorium for a panel discussion that included former Baltimore Police commissioner Anthony Batts, Wednesday at Mount Saint Mary’s University in Emmitsburg. (Graham Cullen/The Frederick News-Post via AP)

EMMITSBURG — Baltimore’s former police commissioner says the department failed to improve public trust under his leadership and officers feeling a lack of support “took a knee” after April’s riots, letting crime spike.

Former Commissioner Anthony Batts discussed his tenure Wednesday during a panel at Mount St. Mary’s University. He says crime metrics were improving, but the department didn’t heed “warning signs” of community tensions.

Batts was fired in July as violent crime spiked after protests and riots sparked by the death of Freddie Gray, who suffered fatal injuries in police custody. Six officers were charged in Gray’s death.

Interim Commissioner Kevin Davis said Thursday that officers are working hard through a difficult summer and were disappointed by Batts’ remarks. The president of Fraternal Order of Police also disputed Batts’ statements.