Baltimore Mayor Criticizes Police Over Brutality Video, Seeks Reforms


Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake criticized the Police Department’s handling of a high-profile police brutality investigation and said she had directed the police commissioner to develop a “comprehensive” plan to address brutality in the agency, reports the Baltimore Sun. The mayor said top commanders should have quickly seen a video of an officer repeatedly punching a man, and should have moved immediately to take the officer off the street. “It is outrageous,” Rawlings-Blake said of the conduct of the officer shown in the video, whom authorities have identified as Vincent Cosom. “We have a situation where we know that video was held by the police, yet the people who needed to see it didn’t see it. That’s a problem.”

A police surveillance camera captured the incident the night it happened in June, and a department monitor flagged the footage. Though prosecutors and detectives from internal affairs were aware of it, Police Commissioner Anthony Batts said he didn’t see it until Monday, the day it was made public as part of a $5 million lawsuit filed against Cosom. Cosom was suspended with pay Tuesday. The mayor said she was prepared to lead a charge to weaken Maryland’s police “Bill of Rights,” which some critics say is too protective of officers. Gene Ryan, vice president of the city police union, said the law simply gives an officer “his day in court.” The Mayor has been giving it a bad rap. It’s a due process law,” Ryan said. “If the investigation proves this officer was wrong in what he did, he should be punished. Let’s give him his chance first.”

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