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In the Media: $6.4 Million Settlement in Gray Case; Controversial T-Shirts for Gray Officers

The image on the t-shirts being sold at baltimore6.com.
The image on the t-shirts being sold at baltimore6.com.

A digest of news and stories about Baltimore from local sources.

Baltimore City Law Department to Submit $ 6.4 million Settlement Claim

The Baltimore City Law Department will propose a $6.4 million settlement of all civil claims arising from Freddie Gray's death to the Board of Estimates, according to a press release from the mayor's office.

The proposed settlement would resolve all civil claims related to the City of Baltimore, the Baltimore Police Department, individual Baltimore Police officers, and any other persons or institutions who might be deemed liable in Gray's death.  The proposal will be considered on Wednesday, Sept. 9, by the Board of Estimates, according to the release from Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake's office.

"The proposed settlement agreement going before the Board of Estimates should not be interpreted as a judgment on the guilt or innocence of the officers facing trial," Mayor Rawlings-Blake said in the statement. "This settlement is being proposed solely because it is in the best interest of the city, and avoids costly and protracted litigation that would only make it more difficult for our city to heal and potentially cost taxpayers many millions more in damages."

The proposed settlement does not resolve any factual disputes surrounding the events of April 12, 2015, and expressly does not constitute an admission of liability on the part of the City, the Baltimore Police Department, or any of the police officers who interacted with Mr. Gray on that day. The settlement is not connected to the criminal proceedings currently underway against the six officers indicted in Gray's death.

Website Sells Controversial T-Shirts to Raise Money for Gray Officers

A group of organizers is looking to raise money for the families of the six officers indicted in the death of Freddie Gray through online t-shirt sales.

The controversial shirts show a brick with the text "Baltimore Riot 2015: The Battle of Mondawmin,” cost $25, and are being sold through a website, www.baltimore6.com.  

“The Baltimore Six, each of them, took an oath to protect and to serve, precisely their goal during their interaction with Freddie Gray,” reads a statement on the website. “For that, they and their innocent families, who sacrificed so much because they were police, now live a nightmare. They supported our community, doing a job few have the courage or ability to do. Now they need our support.”

A spokesperson for Baltimore’s police union told the Baltimore Sun that the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 3, “had nothing to do with the design, production or sale of these shirts and to date, has not received any money from the fundraiser.” 

From the Baltimore Sun: Two Well Known Political Leaders Enter Baltimore Mayor Race

"Two veteran Baltimore lawmakers — state Sen. Catherine E. Pugh and City Councilman Carl Stokes — say they will challenge Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake in next spring's Democratic primary.

The entry of two well-known political leaders with money, proven constituent bases and legislative records marks a significant expansion of the field of Democratic challengers, which has so far included only former Mayor Sheila Dixon and four little-known candidates. More are expected to announce before the Feb. 3 filing deadline for the April 26 Democratic primary, which for decades has determined Baltimore's mayor.

Normally a crowded roster of candidates bodes well for a sitting mayor like Rawlings-Blake as challengers divvy up any anti-incumbent sentiment. But political experts said that the mayor's image has been tarnished by unprecedented challenges: her management of the city during and after the riots that followed Freddie Gray's death in April, turmoil in the Police Department and a spiking homicide rate.

'She's seen her political fortunes damaged,' said Todd Eberly, an associate political science professor at St. Mary's College. 'She doesn't have the advantages that she otherwise would have had as an incumbent. Now she's going to be just another member of this group of highly credible candidates.'"

Full Article

From WBAL: Group Rallies For Better Care Of Pregnant Women 

Members of the organization Improving Birth rallied in Baltimore's McKeldin Square yesterday morning to raise awareness of what they say is a "broken" maternity system. The group speaks out against hospital practices such as refusing to listen to the request of the pregnant woman, lack of informed consent, and overusing equipment. 

"As a doula, I work with women in home-birth settings, hospital settings and birth-center settings, and I repeatedly see, particularly in hospital settings, a lack of informed consent and a lack of respect in childbirth," doula Cherie Correlli told WBAL on Monday.

Full Article

From The Washington Post: Counselor Says Gambling Problems Are Getting Worse 

Summary: Maryland's toll-free hotline for people who think they might be addicted to gambling has gotten almost a hundred more calls in the last year than the year before. The manager of the 1-800-GAMBLER helpline says he'd like to see the state offer free treatment programs.  

“Michael Rosen listens to the wreckage that the $1 billion gambling industry has wrought in Maryland.

He listens to the man, $400,000 in debt, whose wife threw him out of the house and told him he couldn’t see his kids again unless he gave up gambling. He listens to the gambler who went on a three-day blackjack binge without sleeping and rarely eating. He listens to the woman facing a jail term for embezzling $135,000 to feed her gambling addiction.

Rosen, who helps manage the state’s increasingly busy 1-800-GAMBLER help line, commiserates with the desperate and directs many to Gamblers Anonymous meetings. But he can’t suggest any free treatment programs because Maryland, one of the country’s most concentrated casino markets, doesn’t offer any. That sets it apart from Delaware, Connecticut and many other casino states, even as experts believe that gambling addiction in Maryland is on the rise.”

Full Article 

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