Larry Hogan: 'crime is out of control in Baltimore City'

Erin Cox
Contact ReporterThe Baltimore Sun
As Baltimore braces for more protests, Gov. Hogan questions why no "uproar" over escalating murder rate.

Calling the murder rate in Baltimore “disgraceful,” Gov. Larry Hogan asked Thursday why protesters in the Freddie Gray case are not also marching against violence in the streets.

“Crime is out of control in Baltimore City,” Hogan said during a radio interview. “I've expressed my concern that we have a lot of people out there, expressing their concern, their frustration over the tragic death of Freddie Gray. But where is the uproar from the community? Where are the people protesting the 330 people murdered?”

Through Tuesday night, Baltimore police reported 328 homicides in 2015.

Hogan's comments on WBAL's C4 show came as a Baltimore jury was deliberating after the trial of William G. Porter, the first of six police officers charged in Gray's arrest and death. Gray's spine was partially severed during a ride in a police van in April. His death touched off more than a week of protests and a day of rioting.

City Councilman Brandon Scott, one of the co-founders of the 300 Men March, an anti-violence group, called Hogan’s comments “disrespectful.” The group frequently holds walks and protests against the city’s high murder rate, Scott noted. He said others hold “Enough is Enough” marches, unity rallies and Citizens on Patrol walks.

“There are thousands of people in the city in every neighborhood working to reduce violence. Don’t act like no one cares,” Scott said.

Hogan, a Republican, repeated his promise that state and city officials are prepared for protests over the verdict.

“We want people to have the right to express their concerns and frustration and protest in a peaceful manner,” Hogan said. “But we want to make sure we stop violence and stop looting. We don't want to see people hurt. We don't want to see property destroyed.”

The governor said he spoke Monday night with Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, a Democrat, about coordinating any response to protesters.

Violence in Baltimore has escalated since spring and the city has already logged for the year its highest per capita murder rate in history. Hogan said he didn't “want to point the finger of blame,” but said, “We've got to do something about it.”

“We've got a tremendous drug problem, heroin problem, problem with gangs running the streets. And they're killing each other left and right. And it's something that we've got to figure out a solution to.”

Scott said many in Baltimore are trying.

“I, like the governor, sometimes get frustrated that more people are not outraged when violence happens every day,” Scott said. “But for him to say that there is no uproar, it’s disrespectful to the 70- and 80-year-old women who are calling 911 every day. It’s disrespectful to the people leading the [Citizens on Patrol] walks. It’s disrespectful to the people who organize block watches.”

ecox@baltsun.com

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