City police union claims mayor using police shooting for "political gain"
Amid calls from the public for an independent investigation, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said this week that there would be an independent review of Sunday's shooting that left a veteran officer and a 22-year-old man dead. The city police union is now claiming that her announcement is an attempt to use the tragedy for political gain.
Through a public relations firm, the union sent out this statement:
"Should the current investigation determine that an independent review is warranted, the FOP would fully support such a review at that time. We, too, want a thorough investigation of this incident to reveal all the facts of that night's events. However, at this point, this action seems premature. Mayor Rawlings-Blake should have confidence in her Police Commissioner and the Baltimore City Police Department and give them a chance to conduct an exhaustive investigation into the facts and circumstances surrounding this tragedy. The Baltimore City Police Department has one of the premier homicide units in the nation and a system of checks and balances is already in place, as the independent Baltimore City State's Attorney investigates every police-involved shooting in Baltimore. The Baltimore City Police Department wants to work closely with the State’s Attorney’s Office to get to the bottom of this occurrence. For Mayor Rawlings-Blake to utilize this tragic incident for political gain is a tragedy in itself."
A spokesman for Rawlings-Blake said he would not have a response to the statement.
Tensions between City Hall and the city's public safety unions have been rising for months. A week ago, the police and fire unions held a press conference outside City Hall denouncing pay cuts and saying Rawlings-Blake wants to take credit for crime reductions while not compensating officers for their work. They also paid for billboards downtown last year that took shots at city officials.