Baltimore’s top prosecutor and City Council president are calling for an outside agency to investigate rape complaints summarily dismissed by police detectives, saying that independent eyes are needed to ensure citizens’ faith in the results, reports the Baltimore Sun. Baltimore State’s Attorney Patricia Jessamy told the City Council that any review by city police and prosecutors – as proposed by a task force selected by Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake – would be akin to “evaluating our own work.”
City Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young said he “fully supported” an outside audit of cases highlighted by the Sun. Police Commissioner Frederick Bealefeld and City Councilman James Kraft, chairman of the public safety and health committee, disagreed, saying the mayor’s task force includes several outsiders, such as victims’ advocates and a representative from Mercy Hospital. The council hearing was called in response to a Sun article that raised questions about the way allegations of rape are investigated. A Sun analysis showed that for at least five years, the city led the nation in the percentage of rape allegations that police found to be “false or baseless.” The review also found that four out of 10 calls to 911 over that time had not generated a police report in the first place, having been dismissed by detectives at the scene. Victims have reported being interrogated by detectives about their motives and truthfulness, while others said patrol officers ignored their allegations.