Activists occupy Baltimore City Hall, issue list of demands
As tensions between the Fraternal Order of Police and City Hall rose this summer in the aftermath of the “Baltimore Uprising,” Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake fired Police Commissioner Anthony Batts inJune and appointed Deputy Police Commissioner Kevin Davis as his interim replacement.
A committee vote was held tonight to name Davis commissioner permanently, although it will take a vote of the full city council to confirm him. Nevertheless, the building was packed with protesters who wanted to ensure their voices were heard.
Baltimore police posted an update on the situation to Facebook.
Protesters gathered inside of City Hall during tonights confirmation hearing for Commissioner Kevin Davis. The protesters were non-violent; however, they refused to leave City Hall. At this time, several protesters remain inside of City Hall. It appears that there are less than 50 protesters gathered inside of a balcony area in City Hall.
The Baltimore Police Department is monitoring the situation.
Protesters also posted their own update in the form of demands.
Baltimore Sun reporter Kevin Rector summarized the list of demands detailed in the aforementioned open letter:
The coalition calls for a ban on military-style police equipment such as armored vehicles and rubber bullets, and for “riot gear” to be used only as a last resort to protect officer safety. They demand that police officers wear badges and name tags at all times, and for media and legal observers to be allowed to “do their jobs freely.”
The group also calls for police to respect as “sacred ground” several locations identified by the group as “safe houses” for protesters not to be entered without a warrant and never entered with sealed or so-called “no knock” warrants. They call for alternate routes to be created for commuters and other travelers to get around protests, but also call on police to “allow protests to take and occupy larger and more disruptive spaces than would normally be tolerated,” and for “longer periods of time than would normally be tolerated in the interest of constitutional rights.”
One of those spaces occupied and disrupted was city hall.