Mayor Catherine Pugh said in a statement Wednesday night that she has been following coverage of the ongoing Gun Trace Task Force trial after all, and that comments she made earlier that day during a press briefing at City Hall were “distorted.”
“Of course, I am well aware of the ongoing trial of officers formerly a part of the Gun Trace Task Force, and the deeply disturbing allegations arising from the trial,” she said in a statement issued via Twitter. “Be assured, we addressing the culture and practices of the Baltimore Police Department in a way that will engender the highest level of trust and confidence our citizens want and need in those who are sworn to protect and defend.”
A half-day earlier, Pugh, responding to a query from The Baltimore Sun’s Ian Duncan about whether she has been closely following the trial, said, “I don’t have time to sit in a trial,” and later added, “I don’t have time to just read articles.”
Responses from around the city were swift:
For the record I am following the case and will be seeking the results to investigations of claims made during the trial. https://t.co/ZIQYuci5JU
— Brandon M. Scott (@CouncilmanBMS) February 7, 2018
Two days after Trump says a 10 page House Intel memo is too long to read, Baltimore @MayorPugh50 says she doesn’t have time to read @justin_fenton’s concise, compelling 800-word dispatches from the huge police corruption trial unfolding in her city. OK. https://t.co/xeKL7c6TZ3
— Alec MacGillis (@AlecMacGillis) February 8, 2018
It's worth remembering that @MayorPugh50's statement that she isn't following the biggest police scandal in a generation (https://t.co/4IBOc8RUcj) comes while she is under a legally-binding order to address police corruption in a robust way.
1st paragraph of the consent decree: pic.twitter.com/7KXVbAcbrE
— Kevin Rector (@RectorSun) February 7, 2018
This is outrageous and scandalous.
Everyone: Mayor, your police force is being exposed in the biggest police corruption trial in American history! What say you?
Mayor Pugh: ¯_(ツ)_/¯
This is Baltimore. The Gods will not save you. https://t.co/7WEBH6DxBc
— The Big Acquittal™ (@BeattyLaw) February 7, 2018
She elaborated last night on what she meant: “What I do not have time for is to follow every report, tweet or post about the trial and related testimony, however outrageous.”
Allegations aired during the trial, which entered closing arguments on Wednesday, included that slain Det. Sean Suiter helped a Gun Trace Task Force officer steal money, that the plainclothes unit kept replica guns handy to plant in the event of a police-involved shooting, that they received “slash days” in which they were compensated for hours they didn’t work in reward for confiscating guns, and that Sgt. Wayne Jenkins, the unit’s leader, helped sell entire garbage bags filled with pills stolen during the 2015 Uprising.
Pugh said in her statement that she has “been meeting with Police Commissioner-Designate [Darryl] De Sousa regularly on his plans to ensure the highest level of accountability and integrity going forward.”
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