Former police commissioner Batts to take part in discussion of Baltimore, national unrest

The Baltimore Sun
Former Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony Batts to speak at Mount St. Mary's panel on racial unrest.

Former Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony Batts is scheduled to take part in a panel discussion Wednesday at Mount St. Mary's University on racial unrest in Baltimore and in America.

The panel discussion, "Justice in America Today? Challenges and Opportunities for Action," will be held 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Sept. 2 in Knott Auditorium, on the Mount St. Mary's University campus in Emittsburg.

University officials say Batts, who served as commissioner during the recent unrest in Baltimore, will take part in a panel discussion with Marc Mauer, executive director of the Sentencing Project; and Bishop Denis Madden, an auxiliary bishop in the Archdiocese of Baltimore and an advocate for social justice.

The group will discuss how Baltimore was seen across the nation and world as citizens took to the streets protesting the Baltimore Police Department and its treatment of Freddie Gray, who died after suffering spinal cord injuries while in police custody. Six Baltimore police officers await trial and face charges related to Gray's death.

Protests and riots erupted the weekend of Gray's funeral, resulting in hundreds of arrests and millions of dollars in damaged property. Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake fired Batts in July, and named then-Deputy Police Commissioner Kevin Davis as commissioner on an interim basis.

The panel discussion is free and open to the public.

Officials say the college will conduct campus-wide discussions, presentations and research during this academic year examining the issues of poverty, race, policing, and social justice and their connection to recent events in Baltimore and around the nation.

Simon Newman, president of Mount St. Mary's University, said in a press release about the discussion that "it is important our society confronts issues undermining the human dignity of every citizen and serve as a collective force for positive change."

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