Baltimore police disbanded an overnight occupation of City Hall by activists who say they want a voice in the process of selecting a permanent police commissioner, and at least 16 people could be seen being led away to police vehicles early Thursday.
At least 25 police officers converged at the front entrance of the building hours before dawn as activists were still inside participating in a sit-in over numerous demands for better policing. Several of the demonstrators could be seen by an Associated Press reporter as they were led off in plastic handcuffs and loaded into transport vehicles at about 4 a.m.
Police said in a statement posted on their social media site that a small number of protesters had decided to leave after hours of warnings.
“The remaining protesters refused to leave the building. As a direct result of their failure to comply, the remaining protesters have been arrested and charged with trespassing. There are no reported injuries at this time to any protesters or officers,” the police statement added.
A City Council subcommittee voted to make Davis the permanent police commissioner. Davis still has to be approved by the full council, which is to vote on the appointment Monday, WJZ TV reports.
Davis took the interim role in July after predecessor Anthony Batts was fired amid a spike in violent crime in Baltimore. The spike followed unrest and rioting in April after Freddie Gray’s death.