By CATHERINE PALMER
News & Features Editor
A crowd of protesters interrupted a hearing at City Hall Wednesday night in an attempt to prevent interim Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis from being appointed to the position permanently. Despite a brief delay, the Baltimore City Council’s executive appointment committee carried on with the hearing and approved Davis’ appointment, voting three in favor and one against with one abstention.
Prior to the vote, Davis attempted to talk with the protesters, who were standing on a balcony overlooking the chamber in which the hearing was being held.
“I will be more than happy to meet with your entire group,” Davis said before being drowned out by the crowd.
Several protesters continued to occupy City Hall overnight, leading to 16 arrests for trespassing. Arrestees ranged in age from 16 to 38.
In an interview following his appointment, Davis commented on the protest.
“This is just part of where the city is right now and if we’re going to get to the other side of it, we got to go through all these moments,” he said.
According to The Baltimore Sun, Davis’ appointment must be ratified by the entire City Council and his contract approved by the Baltimore Board of Estimates before he can officially be named Baltimore police commissioner. Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake sits on the board and spearheaded the proposal for Davis to be appointed the position.
Davis was named interim commissioner in July after then-commissioner Anthony Batts was fired due a surge in homicides following the death of Freddie Gray in April. Gray, 25, died from a severe spinal cord injury, one week after being arrested by Baltimore Police Department officers. His death sparked more than a week of both peaceful and violent protesting.
Since then, however, violent crime has continued to surge. More than 250 people have been killed in Baltimore so far this year. 45 were murdered in July alone, making it the city’s deadliest month since August 1972, according to The Sun.