The Baltimore Sun's editorial of Aug. 12 condemning my response to the recent allegations of evidence planting by police officers as disturbing is unfair and completely misses the mark ("The cost of eroding trust in Baltimore police"). During my tenure as police commissioner, whenever police officers have engaged in misconduct or otherwise violated the public's trust, I have consistently and directly responded to those incidents by describing them as unacceptable. In addition, I have always outlined the criminal or administrative paths necessary to hold cops accountable and improve community trust. I have never shied away from taking responsibility for our actions, the good and the bad. Our transparency and reform efforts over the last two years are second to none in this business, and big city police departments across the nation regard the Baltimore Police Department as a progressive, forward-thinking organization that is wrestling with the after-effects of the 2015 riots and subsequent violent crime spike.
I have said on numerous occasions that an allegation of planting evidence is as serious as it gets. I have described its damage to community trust and outlined the investigative process that is currently underway. I also went one step further by telling our community, much to The Sun's chagrin, that there is more to this salacious allegation than meets the eye. Telling Baltimoreans that judgment should be reserved until the facts are examined in their totality, and not just after viewing a portion of a video clip gone viral, is not an effort to sugar-coat or mitigate but an attempt to have a grown-up conversation about the complexities of real-world policing in 2017. Suggesting that it is never appropriate for a leader to respond to an allegation in any other way than by offering an unqualified apology is absurd. Life is far more complicated than that.
Kevin Davis, Baltimore
The writer is Baltimore police commissioner.
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