In the Media: Davis and Batts Disagree About Violence Spike; Lead Poisoning in Baltimore
A digest of news and stories about Baltimore from local sources.
From The Baltimore Sun: Davis Says Baltimore Police Officers ‘Take Offense’ at Batts’ Comments
"Interim Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis said Thursday that city police officers are disappointed by his predecessor's remark that they "took a knee" after the riots of April, as violence in the city began to spike.
Davis pointed to a 44 percent increase in gun seizures since mid-July, as well as the department's response to protests this week outside the first hearing for the six police officers charged in the arrest and death of Freddie Gray.
Batts, who was fired in July, sought Thursday to clarify his comments.
'My comments were not focused on Baltimore police under Davis,' he wrote in response to a query from The Baltimore Sun. 'I referenced them taking a knee during the tail end of my tenure. I can't speak for Davis' term. I haven't been connected to the department nor have been keeping up with the department under his tenure.'"
From WBAL: Child, 10, among three Shot in West Baltimore
"Three people, including a child, were wounded by gunfire in a west Baltimore shooting. The shootings happened at about 8:45 p.m. Thursday. Police responded to two locations in an area around the 3100 block of West North Avenue. Police said two adult men were shot and a 10-year-old boy was grazed by a bullet.
The victims were found in different locations. The boy was located on North Rosedale Street and the man about a half a mile away on Windsor Avenue. The victims' injuries are non-life-threatening."
From The Real News Network: Why Is there Systemic Police Abuse in Baltimore?
While waiting outside of the Mitchell Courthouse on Monday where the first motions in the Freddie Gray case were being argued, TRNN’s Taya Graham spoke to Paul Jay about the connection between poverty and policing.
From The Baltimore Sun: Lead Poisoning Declines as State Expands Effort (Timothy Wheeler)
"Childhood lead poisoning continues to decline in Maryland, new data show, which state officials called encouraging but still not good enough.
There were 2,359 children statewide whom testing found last year had elevated levels of toxic lead in their blood, according to the Maryland Department of the Environment. That's a 10 percent drop from the number diagnosed in 2013.
Of that total, 355 children up to 6 years old had lead levels high enough to be considered poisoned under Maryland law – down from 371 the previous year.
The figures continue a downward trend seen since the early 1990s, when childhood lead poisoning was so widespread it was labeled a public health epidemic. In Maryland, the number of lead-poisoned children has declined 97 percent since a 1994 state law passed requiring owners of older rental housing to reduce lead-paint hazards in their units."
From The Washington Post: How Companies Make Millions off Lead-Poisoned, Poor Blacks (Terrence McCoy)
Despite the reported decline in childhood lead poisoning, the issue continues to be rampant in Baltimore. The Washington Post recently reported on the debilitating consequences of childhood lead poisoning — from brain damage to lawsuits to companies taking advantage of victims of poisoning.
"She remembered a nice, white man. He had called her one day on the telephone months after she’d squeaked through high school with a “one-point something” grade-point average. His name was Brendan, though she said he never mentioned his last name. He told her she could make some fast money. He told her he worked for a local company named Access Funding. He talked to her as a friend.
Rose, who court records say suffers from “irreversible brain damage,” didn’t have a lot of friends. She didn’t trust many people. Growing up off North Avenue in West Baltimore, she said she’s seen people killed.
But Brendan was different. He bought her a fancy meal at Longhorn Steakhouse, she said, and guaranteed a vacation for the family. He seemed like a gentleman, someone she said she could trust.
One day soon after, a notary arrived at her house and slid her a 12-page “purchase” agreement. Rose was alone. But she wasn’t worried. She said she spoke to a lawyer named Charles E. Smith on the phone about the contract. She felt confident in what it stated. She was selling some checks in the distant future for some quick money, right?
The reality, however, was substantially different. Rose sold everything to Access Funding — 420 monthly lead checks between 2017 and 2052. They amounted to a total of nearly $574,000 and had a present value of roughly $338,000.
In return, Access Funding paid her less than $63,000."