When Baltimore police officer Andrew Groman was fighting for his life after being shot during a routine traffic stop near Mondawmin Mall on Sunday, it was a powerful reminder of the risk that cops face on a regular basis. But Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony Batts tried to turn it into something else: some kind of rebuttal to the demonstrations against the failure to indict police officers in the killing of unarmed black men.
“We’ve had marches nationwide for the fact that we’ve lost lives in police custody,” Batts said. “I wonder if we’re going to have those same marches as officers are shot, too.”
Baltimore NAACP President Tessa Hill-Aston gave a very measured response to those comments Tuesday:
“My thoughts and prayers are with the family of the officer shot in a routine traffic stop on Sunday in Baltimore and wish him a speedy and complete recovery,” Hill-Aston said. “Although I certainly understand the pain and frustration expressed by Commissioner Batts, I believe his questioning of the community’s response to the shooting is misplaced and not helpful to the dialogue between the police and the community we’re trying to build.I pledge the support of the Baltimore City NAACP to work with Commissioner Batts as we try to build a bridge over the mistrust and history of discrimination and abuse experienced by many city residents. The Commissioner has proven himself to be an open and trusted partner in this important work and the NAACP condemns any violent attack on our officers.”
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