Heat Is On

Baltimore police commissioner criticized for wondering where protestors are when officer is shot

By Crawford Coates  |   Dec 23, 2014

Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony Batts stirred up political controversy following comments about his officer shot during a traffic stop Monday night.

The offending remark?

“We’ve had marches nationwide for the fact that we have lost lives in police custody,” said Batts at a press conference about the officer’s condition. “I wonder if we’re going to have those same marches as officers are shot, too.”

Baltimore City officer Andrew Groman is in stable condition after being shot. Officer Groman allegedly ordered suspect Donte Jones to show his hands or be shot with a Taser. Groman shot the Taser as Jones shot Groman with three rounds from a .38 caliber revolver, one of which penetrated beneath Groman’s armor and into his abdomen.

Jones—who faces charges of attempted murder assault, and resisting arrest, among others—was on parole and probation, according to Deputy Police Commissioner Jerry Rodriguez at the time of the shooting. Jones has been arrested three times on gun charges.

“My thoughts and prayers are with the family of the officer shot in a routine traffic stop on Sunday in Baltimore and wish him a speedy and complete recovery,” said NAACP President Tessa Hill-Aston in response. “Although I certainly understand the pain and frustration expressed by Commissioner Batts, I believe his questio

ning of the community’s response to the shooting is misplaced and not helpful to the dialogue between the police and the community we’re trying to build.”

Batts is no stranger—or antagonist—to protests over recent police incidents. In fact, the commissioner was at a protest the day before the shooting: “Looking at the signs that say `Black lives matter’…from my standpoint, I like those signs,” said Batts. “I understand those signs and that’s why we’re out here, to make sure people can voice that concern.”

Officer Groman, 27 years old, has nearly three years on the force and lives in Baltimore. In his spare time he is a sergeant at the Pikesville Volunteer Fire Company.


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Crawford Coates

Crawford Coates

Crawford Coates is the author of Mindful Responder: The First Responder's Field Guide to Improved Resilience, Fulfillment, Presence, & Fitness--On & Off the Job and the publisher at Calibre Press.
Crawford Coates

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