The Baltimore Police Department has launched an internal investigation into an incident earlier this month that Interim Police Commissioner Gary Tuggle calls on its face “unacceptable.”
At an impromptu news conference Monday, Tuggle and Media Relations Chief T.J. Smith played a dash cam video by two firefighters who had seen a man with a gun at Lexington and St. Paul Streets. The firefighters flagged down a police officer, but the officer refused respond.
Commissioner Tuggle said the incident came to his attention over the weekend. “We don’t know what this individual did with that gun before he originally tossed it,” said Tuggle. “We don’t know what this individual did with that gun after he recovered it. But, we’ve got a responsibility no matter where you are—if you wear this uniform and this badge—it says Baltimore City, you’ve got the responsibility to serve anywhere in this city.”
The firefighter dashcam video is dated July 6 around 2:30 a.m. They witnessed a man toss a weapon into some bushes and believing something was wrong, drove around trying to find police to tell them what they had seen. When they finally catch up to an officer, she can clearly be heard telling the firefighters “this is not my district.” Commissioner Tuggle says that response was an embarrassment. The officer has not been identified, but the matter has been turned over to internal affairs.
“Fortunately, there were no incidents that we’re aware of prior to this incident---no homicides, non-fatal shootings or robberies—violent crimes in that general area,” said Smith. “[It] Doesn’t mean it didn’t happen elsewhere, but it didn’t happen in that general area [where the gun was tossed].”
“That officer should have immediately gotten on the radio and called for back-up in response to those observations made by the firefighters,” said Tuggle