According to the Baltimore Sun, the Baltimore Police Department is feeling “hesitant” in the wake of homicide charges against six officers in the death of Freddie Gray, leading to the phrase “police slowdown” getting thrown around.
State Attorney Marilyn Mosby unexpectedly charged the officers with homicide following a Baltimore PD investigation two weeks ago. Since then officers “feel as though the state’s attorney will hang them out to dry.”
“I’m hearing it from guys who were go-getters, who would go out here and get the guns and the bad guys and drugs. They’re hands-off now,” a shift commander told the Sun. “I’ve never seen so many dejected faces.”
The Department denies that officers are intentionally refusing to perform duties, as was suspected in New York City after tensions with the mayor’s office following protests over the death of Eric Garner and subsequent (but unrelated) assassination of two officers, and instead said officers are wearied from the tumult following Gray’s death.
However the Sun pointed out violence is increasing in the city, a trend one former police official said would be exacerbated if officers did engage in a so-called police slowdown:
The city has seen 40 shootings since April 28, the day after the city’s most intense day of rioting, including 10 on Thursday alone. There also have been 15 homicides in that span, bringing the year’s total to 82 — 20 more than at the same time last year.
One city leader said he doesn’t believe officers are treading too cautiously on the job, but he acknowledged that the stress from protests, rioting and federal investigations is wearing on police, as is fatigue for officers who worked 14- and 15-hour days several days in a row during the unrest.
“You have a perfect storm,” City Councilman Brandon M. Scott said. “First of all, I think everyone is tired. But you also have to realize for everything that’s going on in the city last week, we still have a violence problem in the city, and it’s just being exacerbated by the light being shined on Baltimore.”
Scott said he doesn’t believe officers are being “purposefully hesitant.”
[h/t Baltimore Sun]
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