When asked about an op-ed from the president and CEO of the Y in Central Maryland decrying a lack of leadership, Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young wanted to make one thing clear: He’s not the one murdering people in the city.
“I’m not committing the murders, and that’s what people need to understand,” he said.
Neither is Police Commissioner Michael Harrison. And these killings are not being committed by the members of the Baltimore City Council, either.
“So how can you fault leadership? You know, this has been five years of 300-plus murders,” said Young, who’s held elected office since 1996. “And I don’t see it as a lack of leadership.”
The YMCA’s leader, John K. Hoey, wrote the op-ed in The Sun following the murder of Jordan Taylor, a sports director at the Y in Catonsville who was shot and killed on Nov. 5 after intruders entered his Southwest Baltimore home in the 4800 block of Clifton Ave.
“Jordan was a gentle soul and a hero to the many, many kids he coached, mentored, guided and helped,” Hoey wrote. “His 10-year career at the Y has been filled with the kind of success that ultimately matters most in life: building enriching relationships with so many and being a source of inspiration, leadership and encouragement, particularly to young people.”
His thoughts on Baltimore’s leadership were not as kind, likening the state of the city as it undergoes yet another year of unchecked violence to a house on fire. Only the political class won’t acknowledge it.
“When a house is on fire, one doesn’t start planning for new carpeting,” he wrote.
While acknowledging there are many underlying reasons for gun violence, all without a quick cure-all, and numerous other problems plaguing the city, Hoey stressed the importance of making Baltimore a safer place to live.
Young’s stunning response was prompted by a question from WBAL’s Jayne Miller, who tweeted a video of the exchange. Watch it below.
"I"m not committing the murders, that's what people need to understand.." @mayorbcyoung responding to YMCA CEO who blamed "a lack of leadership" after Y employee was shot to death in his NW Baltimore home. Mayor told me he is reaching out pic.twitter.com/pEfWvgTjX9
— Jayne Miller (@jemillerwbal) November 13, 2019
The mayor started out by defending his stewardship of Baltimore since taking over as mayor in early May and said he is moving the city forward.
City Council President Brandon Scott, who is running for mayor in the 2020 election, shared a video of Young’s response on Twitter and said “this can’t be our response to violence as elected leaders in Baltimore.”
“Our residents deserve to know their leaders have a vision to coordinate our precious resources in the fight against violent crime effectively and urgently, not passing the buck,” he said.
Scott renewed a call he made on Tuesday for the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice to give an update on its comprehensive crime plan–something Young promised in July–which would provide public health programs to buttress the efforts of police.
The council president has invited Young and his staff to appear at a Public Safety Committee scheduled for Nov. 19.
Speaking one week ago, Young said the BPD’s crime plan targeting micro-zones with enforcement is starting to work, but adjustments have to be made as criminals move elsewhere.
He said it would take more time for the plan to reduce violence in the way everyone wants to see, adding it’s incumbent upon officers to get out of their cars and rebuild relationships with residents. He also pleaded for more community support, saying the mayor, city council and commissioner can’t solve crimes by themselves.
But he was skewered for other remarks hoping the dropping temperatures would lead to a reduction in crimes.
“I’m hoping that these colder months will keep [criminals] inside watching TV and doing something positive–working with children who probably need some assistance with homework.”
This story has been updated.
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