The rioting following the death of Freddie Gray was “preventable,” with the police response hindered by leadership that was concerned with image over safety, the city police union charged in a report released Wednesday.
The union, which collected accounts from officers, concluded that the “overwhelming sentiment of officers is that the Baltimore Police Department’s response to the riot was lacking in many areas.”
“Officers characterized the Baltimore Police Department’s leadership during the riots as unprepared, politically motivated, uncaring and confusing,” union President Gene Ryan said at a news conference.
Ryan said morale “has suffered greatly,” but officers compiled the report because they “do not want to see Baltimore burn again.”
Officials at the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 3, which represents more than 2,500 sworn officers, have been critical of decisions made by top police commanders during the unrest — including orders for officers to hold their lines rather than break off in smaller numbers to confront individuals causing damage or representing a threat to officer safety.