Mayor Rawlings-Blake aides discussed sending 'scouts' ahead of her apperances amid curfew anger

Mayor's aides wanted 'scouts' ahead of her community visits during week of unrest curfew.

Nearly a week after Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake instituted a curfew in Baltimore following rioting and looting — and just one day before she lifted it — top mayoral aides were concerned about her safety amid a growing community tension.

One suggested the need to put "scouts on the ground" in advance of all mayoral appearances.

In a May 2 email to other aides and top deputies, Gus Augustus, director of the Mayor's Office of Neighborhoods, said he had been at Mondawmin Mall that morning and did not recommend the mayor go there because "it was very sketchy and tense."

"Folks want the curfew lifted," Augustus wrote.

He recommended the city send "community folks up there to assist" instead.

He also said that while there were "many options" for where the mayor could meet with community members the following day, her team would "need scouts on the ground."

The email was obtained by The Baltimore Sun along with thousands of others as part of the city's response to a Public Information Act request.

Some community members questioned the mayor's actions and level of visibility during and after the unrest. Many expressed frustration with the curfew, particularly toward the latter part of the week.

Howard Libit, a spokesman for Rawlings-Blake, said Monday that Rawlings-Blake was "out in neighborhoods all over the City, including Penn North and Mondawmin," during the days after the unrest, and that conversations about security are not uncommon — during unrest or otherwise.

"Of course, during our conversations about locations where she might visit, it's part of our responsibility to take security and safety into consideration. That's true not just during the period following the unrest, but for any events we might plan," Libit said in a statement. "What this email also demonstrates is that the Mayor's office took seriously our responsibility to be a calming influence in neighborhoods, which [is] why Gus talks about sending community folks into the area."

Rawlings-Blake lifted the curfew on May 3, the day after the email was sent.

krector@baltsun.com

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