The City Hall balcony where more than 30 activists staged a sit-in to protest Kevin Davis’ appointment as Baltimore’s top cop won’t be open for a similar hearing on Monday. In response, activists say they’re going to shut down City Hall again.
Davis, who is currently the interim police commissioner, is scheduled to go before the full City Council on Monday. The body will vote on whether to make him the permanent police commissioner, and the vote is widely expected to pass.
City Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young spent the afternoon defending his decision and his record on social media after announcing that the balcony would be closed at a luncheon this morning. According to Young, the balcony is being closed for safety reasons due to needed repairs. A Young spokesman told the Sun’s Kevin Rector that the safety issues with the balcony have long been an issue.
Young said seating will be available for anyone who wishes to attend the hearing.
— Bernard C Jack Young (@prezjackyoung) October 19, 2015
The timing of the move led protesters to question whether the government was trying to take away space that was used to demonstrate. Activists were already planning to gather outside City Hall at 4 p.m. for a press conference before the hearing, making similar demands to those they voiced last week. Here is a flier circulating on Monday:
We won't just shut up or go away.
— Baltimore BLOC (@BmoreBloc) October 19, 2015
Interestingly, one of the demands is that police create a safer environment for protesters. Activists were thinking more along the lines of militaristic equipment and riot gear.