Richard Pollock, Daily Caller, May 14, 2015
Here’s what the data shows about the racial makeup of Baltimore’s finest:
* Of the 2,745 active duty police officers in the department, more than half–1,445–are African-American, Hispanic, Asian or Native American, according to data provided by the Baltimore police department to The Daily Caller News Foundation.
* Four of its top six commanders are either African-American or Hispanic.
* More than 60 percent of the incumbents at the highest command levels hail from minority communities.
* Among the 46 Baltimore police officers who hold the rank of captain and above, 25 are from ethnic or racial minority groups. That constitutes 54 percent of the command leadership.
In other words, Baltimore is a black-majority city led by a police force whose officers are mostly racial minorities as well.
Anthony W. Batts, an African-American, was hired by Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, also African-American, in 2012 after serving as police chief in Oakland and Long Beach, Calif. Rawlings-Blake put Batts in charge of reforming the department.
Under Batts, Baltimore was one of eight cities participating in an experimental Obama administration police reform program run by the Department of Justice and its Office of Community Oriented Police Services, or COPS. The program was designed to provide policing that was less adversarial and emphasized a cooperative spirit in poor neighborhoods.
Batts disbanded a tough-on-crime unit called the Violent Crimes Impact Section, the source of many citizen complaints about police brutality against individuals across the racial spectrum.
He also invited community leaders to participate on official promotion boards for all candidates who sought the rank of captain or higher. Promotions were a contentious issue among minorities who felt they were not fully considered when top leadership positions became available.
Batts also added an Office of Internal Oversight to the department’s Professional Standards and Accountability Bureau, which investigated charges of police brutality.
The bureau’s head for the last two-and-a-half years was Deputy Commissioner Jerry Rodriguez, who reported directly to Batts. Rodriguez overhauled the department’s investigation of police shootings, in-custody deaths and use-of-force incidents that resulted in serious injury or death.
Baltimore area resident Stacia L. Brown wrote in an April 29 New Republic article titled “Having Black Cops and Black Mayors Doesn’t End Police Brutality” that African-American police officers can suffer from “unconscious” racial bias.
And a Vox Media article on May 7 supported Brown, arguing that “racially skewed” policing tactics can force black police officers to act with “subconscious bias” against their own kind.