Taking a page from his former boss, the late Kevin Kamenetz, Baltimore County Executive Don Mohler condemned calls to limit bus service between the city and the county in the wake of a melee between young people and security at White Marsh Mall.
“While I understand the frustration that was caused by a recent disruption at White Marsh Mall, stigmatizing and creating hardship for City residents is not an acceptable response,” he said in a statement Friday.
And in a nod to the racist nature of the calls to limit public transportation, Mohler added: “It is 2018. Not 1950.”
He plans to tell MTA he does not approve of any reductions, he said.
The melee happened last Saturday, as a group of juveniles and young adults became aggressive with an off-duty Baltimore County police officer working at the mall and security officers who were “moving large crowds of juveniles and young adults out of the mall and off of the property,” police said.
A suspect from one of the groups tried to punch the off-duty cop. The officer blocked the punch and attempted to make an arrest, when a group surrounded him and security guards. The officer then used pepper spray in to disperse the crowd, sending people running in various directions, including The Avenue across Honeygo Boulevard, which has a 9 p.m. curfew, police said.
Officers from four different precincts responded to the scene. Nine arrests were made, and two 19-year-olds, both of Baltimore, were charged with disorderly conduct. One of the teens, Michael Jerard Forrester, was also charged with second-degree assault, resisting arrest and trespassing.
The incident spurred two members of the Baltimore County Council, Cathy Bevins (D-District Six) and David Marks (R-District 5), to call on MTA to end bus service in the area after 11 p.m. Service to the mall stops around 9:30 p.m., but a stop near The Avenue is running as late as 1:30 a.m., according to The Sun.
Both City Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young and Councilman Brandon Scott condemned the request, with Young posing the question, “What about the county kids who come down to Fells Point and the Inner Harbor and wreak havoc?”
In his statement today, Mohler called for unity between the neighboring jurisdictions.
“We cannot and should not put a moat around our City partners,” he said. “We must continue to work together on complex issues for the good of the Baltimore region.”