Baltimore Seeks More Federal Aid in Face of Murder Surge

Donna Owens, Reuters, June 3, 2015

Baltimore police are seeking more federal help in the face of a sharp upturn in murders fueled by drug turf wars, Police Commissioner Anthony Batts said on Wednesday.

The deadly surge has come as police tactics have come under criticism following the death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man who died in April from injuries in police custody.

Batts said that 27 pharmacies and two methadone clinics had been broken into since rioting, arson and looting erupted on April 27 hours after Gray’s funeral.

“There’s enough narcotics on the streets of Baltimore to keep it intoxicated for a year,” he said at a news conference flanked by federal and state police officials.

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Baltimore posted 43 murders in May, the highest monthly total since 1972. Batts said he was requesting more federal agents and prosecutors to help fight the upturn in crime.

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