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Baltimore Police Department wrapped up in stop-and-frisk debacle

A couple weeks ago, we wrote about the use of the “stop-and-frisk” investigative tactic here in Baltimore, and the fact that Police Commissioner Anthony W. Batts had committed to retrain officers in the proper use of the policing strategy. The aim of the retraining, it was said, is to ensure that officers are aware of the necessity of having a sufficient reason to stop suspects.

The use of the stop-and-frisk is an ongoing issue here in Baltimore due to alleged abuses in its use. As we noted last time, officers are supposed to have a reasonable articulable suspicion that a suspect is presently armed and dangerous in order to make use of the tactic. The purpose of the search is to confiscate any dangerous weapons on the suspect’s person. 

Commission Batts promised back in 2013 that he would see to it that his officers used the investigative tactic appropriately, and as part of the pledge, submitted an example of a stop-and-frisk he himself conducted. Ironically, Batts’ example was questioned as inappropriate, but when asked to submit records of the stop for public review, the Baltimore Police Department refused to do so on the grounds that there was an ongoing criminal investigation and citing privacy concerns.

Now, two years later, the department is saying the document is nowhere to be found. A spokesman for the department has said that an internal investigation is currently underway, but the situation certainly doesn’t look good from the perspective of the public.

In our next post, we’ll look at the Batts’ stop-and-frisk and the criticism it has generated. 

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