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Rosenstein calls for support of Baltimore police

Deputy U.S. Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein speaks at the Greater Baltimore Committee’s 62nd annual meeting on Monday night. (Greater Baltimore Committee photo)

Deputy U.S. Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein speaks at the Greater Baltimore Committee’s 62nd annual meeting on Monday night. (Greater Baltimore Committee photo)

Deputy U.S. Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein said Baltimore needs to support its police force if the city is going to quell violent crime that too often kills the young and innocent.

One of Rosenstein’s final cases as Maryland’s U.S. attorney resulted in the April indictments of seven alleged gang members. The men stand accused of crimes tied to the 2014 shooting death of 3-year-old McKenzie Elliott.

A street in the Waverly neighborhood was named in Elliott’s honor. But Rosenstein said the city needs to bolster law enforcement to make sure that another such gesture isn’t necessary.

“Please, let’s stop ordering street signs for murdered children,” Rosenstein said Monday night after accepting the Howard “Pete” Rawlings Courage in Public Service Award at the Greater Baltimore Committee’s Annual Meeting.

Rosenstein, who has prosecuted police officers during his time as U.S. attorney, acknowledged the behavior of some law enforcement officers in the city hasn’t “always been perfect or always been right.” But he argued the vast majority deserve the support of the city and its residents.

“We need to have courage to restore safety to our streets,” he said.

Rosenstein also used his speech at the Hyatt Regency Baltimore Inner Harbor to poke fun at his short but tumultuous tenure in Washington.

He has become entangled in the ongoing intrigue regarding an investigation into connections between President Donald Trump’s campaign, the Russian government and attempts to influence the presidential election last November.

Rosenstein’s role in that process made headlines last week when Trump fired former FBI Director James Comey, citing Rosenstein’s recommendation to fire Comey as justification for dismissing the man leading the probe into Trump’s Russia connections. Subsequent reports raised questions about whether Trump was using Rosenstein to cover a political decision he already made.

Despite some jokes about the culture of Washington, Rosenstein insisted Monday he’s glad to be serving his country in the nation’s capital, invoking Thomas Paine’s “The American Crisis” essay to indicate he is not a “sunshine patriot.” He also said he’s focused on serving the people and not being influenced by “the tyranny of the news cycle.”

“Too many people running around (D.C.) are worrying about protecting their reputation and not the republic,” Rosenstein said.


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