A Baltimore City Council committee will meet Wednesday afternoon with law enforcement agencies and members of Mayor Brandon Scott’s administration to hold a hearing on what city officials have dubbed the “squeegee issue.”
The Public Safety and Government Operations Committee scheduled the hearing for 1 p.m. at City Hall. Squeegee workers, usually Black teens, are a mainstay of some of downtown Baltimore’s busiest street corners, offering to clean motorists’ windshields for a few bucks.
Some business and political leaders consider squeegee workers a nuisance at best and a threat to public safety at worst. Most people working intersections as squeegee workers are teens and children trying to survive and not a threat. Many of the workers need money to provide for younger siblings or their own children.
But political tensions around squeegeeing came to a head earlier this month when Timothy Reynolds, a white, 48-year-old Hampden man, got out of his car with a baseball bat at the intersections of Light and Conway streets to confront a group of squeegee workers.
The workers and Reynolds got into an altercation that ended when one of them fatally shot Reynolds. Baltimore Police arrested a 15-year-old boy and charged him with first-degree murder for the shooting.
The shooting sent the debate over squeegee work into a fever pitch, bringing the racial undertones of the matter to the forefront.
In addition to City Council, Wednesday’s hearing will feature testimony from the Baltimore State’s Attorney’s Office, the Baltimore Police Department, the Baltimore City Sheriff’s Office, the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement, the Mayor’s Office of Children and Family Success, the Mayor’s Office of African-American Male Engagement, the Mayor’s Office of Employment Development and the Baltimore City Joint Apprenticeship Program.
Members of the public interested in participating may attend the meeting in person or online.