Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis on Wednesday publicly criticized as “outrageous” a Facebook post by City Councilman Ryan Dorsey in which Dorsey said city police officers who live in other jurisdictions “siphon” city taxpayers’ money and “beat, abuse, and kill the people who actually live here.”
Only a little more than 20 percent of city police officers live within the city, something Davis and other officials have identified as a problem. However, Davis has said recruitment in the city is up, and on Wednesday said more than 40 percent of current recruits are from the city.
Dorsey wrote the comment on an anonymously-sourced Baltimore City Paper story about ongoing contract negotiations between the city and the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 3, the police union that represents rank-and-file police officers. The story claimed negotiations have stalled because of union opposition to civilians sitting on trial boards. Such boards determine discipline for officers accused of misconduct.
The union and the city are barred from discussing the negotiations.
In his post, Dorsey seemed to mis-attribute a quote in the story by an anonymous officer calling police “the people who take care of this city,” incorrectly suggesting the remark was made by Lt. Gene Ryan, the union president.
Dorsey wrote, “Excuse me? Was he referring to the 80% of officers who don’t live in the city and whose payroll accounts for around $320 [million] of City residents’ property taxes that they siphon off to other jurisdictions day-by-day? Yo, that’s a real weird way to take care of the City.”
Dorsey then wrote, “But sure, don’t even allow those taxpayers a say when y’all beat, abuse, and kill the people who actually live here.”
Davis called Dorsey’s comment “disrespectful and demeaning” on Twitter. Then, when pressed on the matter at a news conference on an unrelated matter, Davis called Dorsey’s comments about officers abusing and killing city residents “outrageous.”
“That’s really outrageous. That’s not productive,” Davis said. “Opinions about policy and opinions about strategy and other issues about public safety are dime a dozen in this city, and I am on the receiving end of people’s opinions all the time. And I respect the opinions. I listen and I take note of them. But that’s more than just an opinion. That’s more than just a comment about local residency by police officers. That’s a comment that really is offensive to the men and women who work here each and every day.”
Davis said he would be happy to meet with Dorsey to discuss the issue with him.
“He’s young, and he’s new in his elected position, and I wish him the best,” Davis said. “I just hope that he can reflect on his statement and find a more productive way to express his concerns, because the way he chose to reflect his concerns is unproductive and not healthy.”
Dorsey did not respond to a request for comment on his Facebook post and Davis’ response.
The union responded to Davis on Twitter: “Thank You Sir for standing behind your officers. Maybe Councilman Dorsey should hit the street [with] our officers & see the work we do.”