Baltimore police stopped talking to Baltimore Sun reporter Justin Fenton eight weeks ago after the newspaper published the name of a police officer who had been shot several hours before the cops made the announcement themselves, reports the Baltimore City Paper. The strained relationship between Fenton and the department goes back much further. Since last fall, Fenton has written stories that embarrassed Commissioner Anthony Batts and his media spokespeople as the department took steps to control its public image.
Last October, Fenton called out the department on Twitter when he noticed that it had not tweeted notice of some nonfatal shootings. In an Oct. 7 story, he quoted department spokesperson Jack Papp saying that “the department is not going to tweet out every time a drug dealer shoots another criminal in the leg for nonpayment, i.e. criminal-on-criminal crime that we know,” he said. “We will still tweet out instances where nonfatal shootings involve citizens, public safety issues, etc. in real time, as well as homicides.” The department quickly reversed the policy, and Papp's statement was criticized by public officials.