The official line from Police Commissioner Anthony Batts has been that Baltimore’s spiking murder rate is likely linked to the amount of prescription drugs looted from pharmacies during the riots. DEA agent Gary Tuggle agreed: “They’re selling to limited number of people, so they’re vying for that customer base,” he said at a press conference last Wednesday.
Two Baltimore police officers, who spoke anonymously to CNN Tuesday, have a different take.
One officer said that, following the fall-out surround the death of Freddie Gray, “proactive, self-initiated policing has stopped.” The second officer agreed: “We are now in a reactive mode.”
It’s that shift from proactive to reactive that they blame for Baltimore’s swelling murder rate: “The criminal element feels as though that we’re not going to run the risk of chasing them if they are armed with a gun, and they’re using this opportunity to settle old beefs, or scores, with people that they have conflict with,” one said.
The police concealed their identity in the interview, but it’s a view that has previously been offered quite openly by Baltimore’s police union.
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