One week after rioting and looting ripped through Baltimore, Korean-American merchants whose businesses had been damaged organized a meeting at a Columbia church.
They wanted to hear directly from the Baltimore Police Department about what was being done, and they got their wish — thanks in part to the interest of Maryland's First Lady, Yumi Hogan.
The day before the meeting, Edward Parker, deputy director of the Governor's Office of Crime Control & Prevention, emailed Ganesha Martin, chief of staff for then-Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony Batts, telling her that Gov. Larry Hogan's wife planned to attend the meeting.
"The business owners are complaining that they are still being victimized even though the demonstrations in the wake of the [Freddie] Gray case have ended," Parker wrote, according to an email obtained by The Baltimore Sun in a public records request. Thousands of emails were released Monday. "The Korean business owners are asking that someone from BPD attend the meeting. It might be a good idea for the department to be represented there to allay concerns."
Yumi Hogan, a native of South Korea, has expressed a desire to help the Korean business owners impacted by the unrest — during which hundreds of businesses were damaged or destroyed. It was sparked by Gray's death in police custody.
In addition to Martin, Parker sent the email to Drew Vetter, the police department's director of legislative affairs.
Vetter forwarded the email to Batts, Lt. Col. Melissa Hyatt — one of Batts' top commanders and an incident commander during the unrest — and others in the department.
"The Governor's wife is attending, so it is important that we are responsive," Vetter wrote of the meeting.
Batts replied the next morning, directly to Hyatt: "Governors wife. You need to stop in be seen. Show it is a big deal for me."