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In the Media: Davis Frustrated by 'Interim' Tag; Transgender Inmate Wins Legal Victory

Interim Police Commissioner Kevin Davis at work with Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.
Kevin Davis /
Interim Police Commissioner Kevin Davis at work with Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.

A digest of Baltimore news from local sources.

From The AFRO American: Interim Tag Frustrates Baltimore Police Commissioner Davis

"American law enforcement is at the beginning of a sea change that will transform policing in the 21st century, and Baltimore is hoping to be in the vanguard, says interim Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis.

"In order to effectively move the department in the direction of improved community-police relations, however, Davis believes the interim tag must be removed from his title. As long as that interim title remains, there are natural questions that arise about the longevity of any reform efforts he attempts to implement, since a new commissioner might take an entirely different approach. In a city that has seen seven police commissioners in the last 15 years, Baltimore has been deprived of the sort of long-term leadership required to change an institutional culture. 

“'Baltimore suffers from this overwhelming desire to have instant gratification. So while we’re in the midst of this crime fight—and we’re doing some really really good, innovative things to address it, and it will work over time. I understand that urgency must be associated with violent crime, and it is associated with violent crime, but if we’re going to change things for the better, police leaders have to be given enough longevity and stability, that not only can they be successful at things, but they can be given the opportunity to fail. So they have to be given an opportunity to fail and survive that failure, because failure is part of success. Failure can’t, and shouldn’t, always indicate the end of your tenure. Because then leaders become afraid to make a mistake for fear of termination, so they don’t try anything different,' said Davis in a sit-down interview with the AFRO." 

Full Article 

From The Baltimore Sun: Man Fatally Shot by Police After Faking Prescription, Foot Chase in Reisterstown

"A man was shot to death by a Baltimore County police officer in Reisterstown Wednesday after trying to pass off a fake prescription at a pharmacy, then running from the officer, police said.

"The responding officer saw the suspect in the shopping center parking lot and chased him across the street to the parking lot of the Word of Life International Church, where a "confrontation" occurred and the officer fired multiple shots, Baltimore County police spokeswoman Elise Armacost said.

"Police said it's unclear whether the man was armed. Neither he nor the officer were identified.

"The police officer was not injured. He had not given a statement as of Wednesday night, but police said he and other witnesses in the area would be interviewed."

Full Article

From The Washington Post: Maryland Prison Mistreated Transgender Inmate

"A transgender inmate who says she was called “it” and “some kind of animal” by guards who watched her shower has won a legal victory that forces the Maryland prison system to better train for how to treat transgender people, advocates say.

"Neon Brown, who goes by Sandy, said in a grievance that she was sent to the state prison at Patuxent in February 2014 for a psychological screening. Brown said she was placed in solitary confinement, and kept there for 66 days despite a directive from the jail warden that staff shouldn’t segregate her from the rest of the population. During that time, she was routinely harassed by guards who made fun of her while she showered, including one who told her to commit suicide, Brown said in the complaint.

"Administrative Law Judge Denise Oakes Shaffer ruled in August that Brown’s treatment violated the federal Prison Rape Elimination Act, saying the prison 'failed to train all employees in how to effectively and professionally communicate with transgender inmates.'

"Advocates say the complaint and several audits of state prisons in the past year suggest a fundamental lack of training when it comes to how guards handle transgender prisoners, and come as transgender issues have become a focal point in the national conversation about gender identity and gay rights.

"But Gerard Shields, a spokesman for the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, said there has been a 'total shift in agency thinking' since Brown’s complaint was filed. He said the state also has since developed policies for handling transgender inmates."

Full Article

From BuzzFeed News: Hillary Clinton Agrees to Meet with Deray Kckesson, Campaign Zero

"Hillary Clinton agreed to meet with leaders from the Campaign Zero movement Tuesday evening, the latest public victory for the platform to end police violence made up of a collection of activists from the Black Lives Matter movement.

"Early Monday, DeRay Mckesson requested a meeting with Clinton before the release of her justice platform.

"Clinton responded to Mckesson’s tweet on Tuesday evening. It would be just the second time Clinton has spoken directly with Black Lives Matter activists since she agreed to meet with them weeks ago after a campaign event in New Hampshire.

"At a private roundtable with reporters on Saturday, senior campaign officials said that Clinton would continue to engage with activists, including Mckesson, whom senior campaign official Karen Finney mentioned by name.

“'It demonstrates a willingness on her part to have a conversation about the issues,' Mckesson said in a brief interview with BuzzFeed News. 'I’m hopeful that the conversation will be candid, that we will be able to talk about a range of issues, and that the conversation will inform the release of her platform.'”

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