I’m sure many of you remember what happened after the death of Freddie Gray, and the riots and protests that followed. However, one of the details surrounding those events stands out for being particularly outrageous. Two days after the protests had turned violent, the police issued a statement warning that gangs like the Crips and Bloods were now working together to kill cops.
If that sounds weird or unlikely to you, you’re not alone. Shortly after the incident, Crip gang members were seen standing with the City Council, and calling for the end to the violence. They denounced the claims as “false.”
However, if you’re uncomfortable with believing the claims of a confessed gang member, you would be forgiven. But don’t take their word for it. The Baltimore City Council is also calling out the police for their false accusations, and they want answers.
City leaders questioned Thursday why the Baltimore Police Department issued a public warning, on the morning of Freddie Gray‘s funeral, that gang members had teamed up to “take out” police officers.
Police announced on April 27 a “credible threat” that the Bloods, Crips and Black Guerrilla Family had joined together up to target officers, but other law enforcement agencies concluded within hours that they couldn’t verify the claim, according to interviews and documents obtained by The Baltimore Sun.
“I knew all along it was a bunch of baloney,” City Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young said. “They owe the council and the public an explanation for why they put this false information out there.”
Meanwhile, the police department is still defending the press release, despite admitting that their information was certifiably false.
Police defended their decision to spread word of the threat, arguing that it was “imminent and consistent with previous threats.”
The department acknowledged that the threat was later determined to be “non-credible” but said other threats continued to be received as the unrest went on.
“This threat came less than 48 hours after officers were attacked by protestors and a short time before more attacks would take place,” police spokesman Capt. Eric Kowalczyk said in a statement. “Due to the exigency of the circumstances, the credibility of the threat at the time it was received, extraordinary action was taken.
“The department acted out of an abundance of caution rather than see an officer injured or killed and would do so again.”
But the city council isn’t buying it. In fact, some of them think that the press release was not only a mistake, it was irresponsible.
City Councilman Brandon Scott wrote an email Thursday to police Commissioner Anthony W. Batts and other top leaders in the department, saying that if reports that the FBI discredited the claim were true, “it is extremely unacceptable and put the lives of citizens, officers and others in danger.”
“Falsifying a threat of this magnitude during a highly tense time should result in the strongest penalty possible,” Scott wrote. “If we are going to repair our city, this kind of behavior cannot be tolerated.”
So what do you make of all this? Was this press release merely a poorly timed mistake based on bad information, or as many have claimed, an irresponsible attempt by the police department to paint themselves as the victim. Or was it something else entirely? Let us know in the comments.
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Contributed by Joshua Krause of The Daily Sheeple.
Joshua Krause is a reporter, writer and researcher at The Daily Sheeple. He was born and raised in the Bay Area and is a freelance writer and author. You can follow Joshua’s reports at Facebook or on his personal Twitter. Joshua’s website is Strange Danger .