As President of Baltimore City FOP Lodge #3, I would like to respond to one of the reforms proposed, yesterday, by State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby concerning the elimination of bench trials in the State of Maryland.
Mrs. Mosby takes the position that a criminal defendant, police or citizen, should not
have the right to request a bench trial to determine their guilt or innocence, when criminal charges are placed against them. Mrs. Mosby points to the inability to convict any officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody. Every Judge in the State of Maryland, and particularly those Judges assigned to the Circuit Court for Baltimore City, should be offended at this position because what Mrs. Mosby is saying is that she does not believe that Judges who hear cases, non-jury, would do so in a fair and impartial manner nor can they render a verdict solely based on the evidence presented.
What Mrs. Mosby is doing is questioning the integrity of every Judge in the State of
Maryland particularly those Judges in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City. It should be noted that before anyone can become a Judge in the State of Maryland, they must be recommended for the position by a judicial nominating commission comprised of attorneys and citizens which determine their qualifications to sit on the bench. The Governor in the State of Maryland appoints all Judges and every Circuit Judge must be confirmed by the voters of the jurisdiction in which they preside.
Mrs. Mosby’s position makes a mockery of the judicial selection process. In the view of the Fraternal Order of Police, Judge Barry Williams rendered a verdict of not guilty in the cases he adjudicated concerning the death of Freddie Gray consistent with the law and in accordance with his oath of office requiring that his decision be fair and impartial based solely on the evidence.
I would like to extend my thanks to Senator James Brochin of Baltimore County for his immediate public statement and for expressing his opposition to any attempt to legislate the right of any criminal defendant who elects to be tried by a Judge within the State of Maryland. It is our hope and expectation that the General Assembly will see it the same way.
October 11, 2016
The Honorable Vanita Gupta
Assistant Attorney General
U.S. Department of Justice
Civil Rights Division
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Office of the Assistant Attorney General, Main
Washington, D.C. 20530
Dear Assistant General Gupta,
On behalf of our over 4500 Police Officers, Sergeants, and Lieutenants, active and retired, we are eager to join the discussion to reform the Baltimore Police Department. We are an organization of professional law enforcement personnel and our experience, views, and commitment to a safer city bring much to the conversation that currently surrounds the implementation of the Consent Decree that will dictate the future of not only the Baltimore Police Department but our profession.
The Baltimore Police Department has a very long and storied history. Our members are extremely proud of the badge we wear and have a vested interest in insuring that the future is more successful than the past. We are proud of our many decades of serving the citizens of Baltimore and it is our greatest hope that any reforms generated by the involvement of the Department of Justice will foster an improved relationship with all stakeholders.
In the spirit of a productive reformation, we recently held numerous focus groups in which our active members were encouraged to freely express their own thoughts and ideas for ways in which the BPD can improve its patterns and practices. We emphasized repairing the current climate of dissatisfaction that exists not only within the community but within the agency. Our members are the core of the Baltimore Police Department. We are the men and women who are tasked with the extremely important and highly dangerous job of securing the safety of our citizens. It is our membership who work daily to guarantee that Baltimore City remains a viable place to live and work.
With an eye on the problems outlined in the DOJ’s report, we brought our members together. The following are our suggested reforms to repair the damaged relationship between Police Officers and the community they serve. Those we represent have recognized that the policies and practices put in place by past administrations have led us to this point. Our union as a whole welcomes the Department of Justice and the reforms that they can bring to the Baltimore Police Department to better the agency and Baltimore.
On Tuesday, 3 October 2016, FOP President Gene Ryan and Past President Robert Cherry joined the Police Commissioner and members of his command at a day-long work session hosted by the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF).
The purpose of the session was to allow the BPD and Chicago Police Department an opportunity to discuss the challenges facing our police officers as we both work towards a consent decree with the United States. Also in attendance were representative from the NYPD, LAPD and New Orleans Police Department – who shared with the BPD and CPD their insight and crime fighting strategies while working under a consent decree.
The FOP welcomes the opportunity to be engaged in this conversation as we prepare to negotiate our own consent decree and in the coming days, the FOP will be publishing our own recommendations to the Department of Justice to negotiate within the consent decree.
All BPD members planning to run as part of the Baltimore Police Department’s Running Team need to register by Friday, 7 October 2016 at 1600 hours. Bring your check(s) and entry form to the FOP by 1600 hours. Details will only be given to those running the Relay, Half or Full Marathon.
September 30, 2016
This afternoon, the Baltimore Sun published a story written by journalist Kevin Rector in which he detailed a report of the response of the Baltimore City Grand Jury following their experience in the “shoot, don’t shoot” simulator at the Baltimore Police training facility. We congratulate the Grand Jury for their courage to participate in this experience and then to share their honest responses. As stated in the article, “The grand jurors noted the difficult challenges officers face on a daily basis. ‘Police officers are often faced with situations that require split-second decision making, and as we are all aware, any decision could cost a life, erupt civil unrest, damage careers and/or impel jail time,’ the jury wrote.”
On numerous occasions we have suggested that the work of a professional law enforcement officer is extremely difficult and only those who have experienced some of what we deal with, on a daily basis, will be able to properly understand how quickly we must react and what effect that response has on each situation and the officers involved. Obviously, the members of the Grand Jury have now come to understand what we have consistently stated in response to the many who have criticized our work, and we are extremely grateful for their support and encouragement. We also agree with the Jurors when they suggest that our elected officials would be well served to take the opportunity to share this simulated experience.
The results of the 2016 Lodge election are as follows:
President – Gene Ryan
1st VP – Kenneth Butler
2nd VP – Paul M. Blair Jr.
3rd VP – Ron Starr
Secretary – Lisa Riha
Treasurer – John K. Nolan
Trustees – Ditty Baldwin, Dominic Mastromatteo, Jeff Boettcher
Guard – Edward Gorwell
State Trustee – Stan Mezewski
Chaplain – Don Helms
Congratulations to all!
Big Win for the FOP – Det. Greg Ostrander’s Arbitration re: PROMOTIONS
Today, Det. Greg Ostrander and the FOP received Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge Cynthia Jones’ decision regarding the Department’s appeal of the Arbitrator’s decision and award. Judge Jones DENIED the Department’s Appeal and ruled in favor of Det. Ostrander and the FOP. This, in effect, means that the Arbitrator’s original decision is affirmed and the Department must promote within 30 days of there being a funded vacancy. Judge Jones’ decision also requires that the Department pay promoted officers back pay and back seniority. Attorneys Aaron Nichols and Herb Weiner are prepared to ensure that Judge Jones’ decision is executed by the Department. The Department, however, has a right to appeal to the Court of Special Appeals within 30 days of the Judge’s decision. Should you have any questions, please email Aaron Nichols at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Police Emerald Society of Baltimore and the Metropolitan Baltimore Fire Emerald Society are proud to host the Wreaths for Fallen Heroes Ceremony at Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens on Sunday, December 10th, 2016 at 9:00 AM. This joint effort to place Christmas Wreaths at each Fallen Hero’s gravesite will honor the Firefighters & Police Officers who gave their lives in the line of duty and are interred in the cemetery’s Fallen Heroes Section. We are seeking your support to help us complete this mission.
Ways to help:
Sponsor a Fallen Hero’s wreath for $30.
- Check, Cash or Paypal at www.pesbaltimore.org
- Become an event sponsor.
- Attend the Craft Beer Fundraiser at Key Brewing Company, 2500 Grays Road, Sparrows Point, MD 21222, on November 5th, 2016 1:00pm – 5:00pm.
- The METROPOLITAN BALTIMORE FIRE EMERALD SOCIETY & POLICE EMERALD SOCIETY of BALTIMORE will be hosting a Craft Beer Fundraiser at Key Brewing Company on Saturday, November 5th, 2016 1:00pm – 5:00pm . Key Brewing will have their beers on hand for sampling and Mission BBQ Perry Hall will provide food. A limited number of tickets are available for purchase online at www.pesbaltimore.org for a donation of $20.
The Wreaths for Fallen Heroes Ceremony Saturday, December 10th, 2016 – 9:00am at Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens, 200 E. Padonia Rd. Timonium MD 21093.
Brothers and Sisters,
BPD Officer Jimmy Halcomb was shot and killed by John Earl Williams on April 16, 1976 at Lombard and Carey. The event is reviewed in detail on the Baltimore Police History website at: http://baltimorecitypolicehistory.com/index.php/baltimore-police-history/39-minutes-of-terror.html. He has been in jail ever since. He is requesting that his case be re-tried due to a jury selection process error from the 1970’s. He will go before Judge Lynn Mays on December 20, 2016 in court room 228 east at 9:30am.
Jimmy’s wife, Angie, and her 3 daughters (that Jimmy never got to see grow up) are asking for your help in writing to Judge Mays. The letter should request that Judge Mays NOT modify the sentence of John Earl Williams. It should communicate whether you are a victim of the event or someone who knows a victim of the event, and how it has and still does affect them. This includes Jimmy’s five fellow officers shot that day and, of course, Angie and her daughters.
WE NEED MORE THAN 100 LETTERS TO BE SENT TO JUDGE MAYS!!
The text of the letter should be addressed to:
Judge Lynn K. Mays
Courtroom 228 East
111 North Calvert Street
Baltimore, MD 21202
Please email or mail the letters by October 3, 2016. Also, government mail rooms aren’t always the fastest.
Traci L. Robinson
Assistant State’s Attorney
120 East Baltimore Street, 9th Floor
Baltimore, MD 21202