Former Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony W. Batts said Wednesday night that officers “took a knee” after the April riots following the death of Freddie Gray, allowing crime to spike because they felt a lack of support from commanders, reports the Baltimore Sun. Batts, who was fired in July as homicides mounted following the unrest, said during a panel discussion at Mount St. Mary’s University that he is one of several police chiefs who have been met by opposition from their rank-and-file as they tried to implement reform.
“They felt that I wasn’t standing up for them,” Batts said. “They want — anything they do — for the chiefs to stand up and say, ‘My guys are right.'” Washington, D.C., Police Chief Cathy Lanier recently faced a vote of no confidence from her officers, Batts noted, as she tried to implement changes in that department. “Is this going to be the tactic, where police don’t feel supported, so they allow the crime rate to go up, and the reformers lose their job?” Batts asked. A spokesman for Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said the mayor “couldn’t disagree more.”