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Baltimore Mayor Young calls recent police union tweets a ‘distraction,’ plans to meet with FOP leadership

Calling on Baltimore’s police union to stop making combative social media posts, Mayor Jack Young on Wednesday said he plans to meet soon with union leaders and ask them to work with him and the police commissioner to help fight Baltimore’s crime problem.

Young’s comments come as the Fraternal Order of Police has been criticizing new Police Commissioner Michael Harrison and his proposals to lower crime. The city is on pace for its fifth year in a row of more than 300 homicides.

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“We’re all upset with crime being out of control in the city,” Young said at his weekly news conference at City Hall. “We need all our partners, including the FOP, to sit down and figure out how we can work together instead of everybody putting out all these little quotes. ... We don’t need people tweeting and being a distraction.”

After several high-profile crimes against police department employees in the city, Young was asked about recent tweets from the Baltimore police union’s account that use the hashtag #cityincrisis.

In particular, the union is objecting to the police department’s response after an officer escaped injury after being reportedly shot at early Tuesday.

Baltimore police say at 1:16 a.m., a silver SUV tried to strike an officer who had stopped a car in the 2400 block of Reisterstown Road. Three minutes later, another officer on patrol noticed a silver SUV matching the description at an intersection in the 1500 block of Pennsylvania Ave.

As the officer began to approach the SUV, the driver got out of the car and began firing a handgun but missed the officer, police said.

The driver then fled in his car with police chasing, but a police major stopped the pursuit once officers reached southbound Route 295, because it became a “danger factor” to citizens and officers, according to Harrison.

In response, the union tweeted: “The brave men and women of the Baltimore Police Department were told to stand down during the riots. Now we are being told to stand down on an attempted murder of a police officer."

The incident follows several attacks on Baltimore police officers and employees in recent weeks.

On Saturday, an off-duty Baltimore school police officer and a retired state corrections officer shot and killed a 22-year-old man who reportedly tried to rob them at gunpoint. And three weeks ago Sgt. Isaac Carrington was shot outside his home also during an attempted robbery in the 5600 block of Summerfield Ave.

Last month two Baltimore Police civilian employees, including a deputy police commissioner, were robbed in separate incidents in Patterson Park and Albemarle Street.

Young said Wednesday that he hopes to meet with union officials in the near future.

“We need all the partners at the table. We need all hands on deck,” Young said. “I want to talk about how we can work together to improve the crime-fight in the city of Baltimore.”

Police union president, Sgt. Mike Mancuso, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. But the union posted on Twitter Wednesday afternoon, saying it has no meeting scheduled with Young.

The union said Young had cancelled a previously scheduled meeting and accused him of dishonesty.

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“Honesty, or lack thereof, is the single largest barrier we have in establishing a productive relationship with the city and BPD,” the union wrote.

The mayor’s office says the union postponed the meeting.

Mancuso has been critical of Harrison since his hiring.

Harrison has proposed an anti-crime plan that includes new performance goals to ensure response times of 10 minutes or less for “highest priority calls where life or property is in immediate danger" and new “focused patrol areas” called “micro-zones" across the city’s nine districts where officers will be concentrated.

“The current deployment of Patrol Officers will not be able to, under any circumstances, implement the new crime plan as intended,” Mancuso wrote in July. “Any crime plan must begin with the stark reality of the current resources available, not the resources that are desired."

On June 7, the union sent an “open letter” to its members denouncing Harrison after the commissioner conducted a press conference announcing the arrest of Sgt. Ethan Newberg on charges he illegally arrested an innocent man out of spite.

“I believe politics are at play here,” Mancuso wrote.

City Council President Brandon Scott on Wednesday offered his office as a meeting site for union leaders and Harrison.

“My focus is on how we can partner together to make Baltimore safer,” Scott said.

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