Interim Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis said Thursday city police officers are working as hard as ever through a "tough summer" mired by violence, and many were "disappointed" by recent comments by former Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony W. Batts, reports the Baltimore Sun.
"I'm proud of them, they're working hard," Davis said, pointing to a 44 percent increase in gun seizures, and the department's response to protests and the potential for civil unrest Wednesday, when a judge decided to have separate trials for all six officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray.
Davis was responding to comments Batts made Wednesday night. The former police chief said Baltimore officers "took a knee" after the April rioting that followed Gray's death. In the months since, crime has spiked in the city. Baltimore has surpassed last year's homicide count.
Batts' comments were made during a panel discussion at Mount St. Mary's University in Emmitsburg on Wednesday night.
Batts was fired in July. He told the panel the rank and file felt he wasn't supporting them. "They want — anything they do — for the chiefs to stand up and say, 'My guys are right,'" Batts said. He mentioned how Washington, D.C., Police Chief Cathy Lanier recently faced a vote of no confidence from her officers, who tried to implement changes in that department.
Davis said he thought "police officers generally, whether it's in Baltimore or elsewhere, take offense to that type of simplistic statement."