Baltimore PD Defend Strategy in Riots

Baltimore police’s top brass defended their strategy during April riots over the death of Freddie Gray on Tuesday, arguing they prioritized safety when they ordered police not to engage rioters. Police Commissioner Anthony Batts and six commanders who gave orders during the unrest denied telling police to do nothing as rioters grew violent, adding that officers confused “stand down” with “hold the line.” About 160 officers were injured during the riots, while damage to businesses cost millions. Commanders told The Baltimore Sun they repeatedly asked officers to “hold the line,” to create a shoulder-to-shoulder barrier between rioters and police operations. The strategy was to protect people and officers from being overtaken by mobs. Police have acknowledged officers did not have the appropriate riot gear other than helmets.