The day before a coalition of Baltimore-based faith groups formally called for Police Commissioner Anthony Batts’ resignation, he left office today, the Baltimore Sun reports. It was not immediately clear whether he resigned or was fired, but the Sun says Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake named Deputy Commissioner Kevin Davis as interim head of the police force. Baltimoreans United in Leadership Development, or BUILD, had planned an announcement asking the commissioner to step down. Batts has been under fire since the riots in late April after Freddie Gray’s death. The 25-year-old sustained severe injuries while in police custody.
“At a time of an unprecedented level of violence in Baltimore, Commissioner Batts clearly does not have a visible plan to stop the violence,” the group said. “BUILD has met with Commissioner Batts twice since the unrest in the aftermath of the death of Freddie Gray. Both times, he committed to publicly announce his plan to address the crisis of violence plaguing Baltimore. He has failed. If he has a plan, it clearly is not working.” The Rev. Andrew Foster Connors, BUILD co-chair, said what’s also concerning is that many officers have said publicly “they will not follow him. And they do not have the necessary guidance or training. His officers have lost confidence in him. The faith community, business leaders and residents have lost confidence in him. He is a leader without a following. And the community is suffering. He should recognize this and do the right thing and step down.”