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Civilian Review Board to hear complaints tonight about police tactics in Harlem Park after detective's killing

Civilian Review Board to hear complaints tonight about police tactics in Harlem Park after detective's killing
Baltimore police and ATF agents on West Franklin Street in West Baltimore on Friday. There was a heavy police presence in the Harlem Park neighborhood as police continued to search for the gunman responsible for the death of a Baltimore detective. (Jerry Jackson/Baltimore Sun)

A civilian oversight panel tasked with reviewing complaints against police in Baltimore will hold a town hall-style meeting Thursday evening to hear from residents about the heavy police presence in the Harlem Park neighborhood after a detective was fatally shot there two weeks ago.

Parts of the neighborhood were shut down for nearly a week while police investigated Det. Sean Suiter’s shooting in the 900 block of Bennett Place, and residents have complained of pat-downs and being forced to show identification before being allowed to enter their homes.

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“Our office has received a growing number of phone calls, and messages via social media about what role the Civilian Review Board might be able to play in addressing the concerns of residents in the community impacted by the police presence,” said Jill P. Carter, director of the city’s Office of Civil Rights, in a statement.

Carter said the goal of her office is “to hold more meetings of the CRB in the community so that the work of the board can be better understood.”

The town hall meeting is scheduled to be held at Metropolitan United Methodist Church at 1121 West Lanvale Street from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The review board is an independent group of volunteers appointed by Mayor Catherine Pugh and tasked with investigating complaints of excessive force, abusive language, harassment, false arrest, and false imprisonment by police.

The police presence in Harlem Park in the days following Suiter’s shooting and his death the next day has been a point of contention.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland has expressed concerns about police tactics after receiving reports of pat-downs and nonresidents being barred from entering the area.

The independent monitoring team overseeing the Baltimore Police consent decree has said it has been keeping an eye on complaints, too, though it cannot become involved in active police investigations.

Pugh has previously thanked residents in the neighborhood for their “patience” during the investigation into the detective’s shooting.

Suiter was buried Wednesday. A suspect has not been caught, despite a $215,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.

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