In an internal email to police officers, Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony W. Batts praised his department's response to protests in the city on Saturday as "scary good."
"In more than 30 years of law enforcement experience, I've been involved in many protests. Today, the restraint, professionalism, and attention to duty you demonstrated were nothing short of remarkable," Batts wrote in an email obtained by The Baltimore Sun. "I am proud and truly humbled to lead this organization. You stood tall in the face of challenge after challenge and you were a credit to the city and your families today."
People from across the city, and some from places much farther away, gathered in Baltimore on Saturday to protest the April 12 arrest and subsequent death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray from injuries sustained while in police custody. The protests were mostly peaceful, but shifted later in the evening toward vandalism and violent clashes between police and protesters.
Police arrested 34 people related to the protests. Six officers sustained injuries. Many other clashes between police and protesters occurred with no arrests taking place.
Batts, in his email, said these "have been challenging days and there may be more ahead," but encouraged his officers to keep doing what they have been doing.
"We will be tested, and as today showed, many will try to provoke you just to record a response. Don't give it to them," he wrote. "Once again today, we represented Baltimore on a world-wide stage, and you did so in a very impressive manner."
Batts said media "across the country commented on your calm and restraint in the face of extraordinary circumstances," and asked his team to remain calm and work together.
"I'm proud, your Command Staff is proud, you should be proud of the honor your actions brought to the badge today," Batts wrote. "You all were scary good."