The Chatter

Mayor Fires Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony Batts

Deputy police commissioner Kevin Davis will serve as interim commissioner.

By Ron Cassie | July 8, 2015, 4:11 pm

-Andrew Burton/Getty
The Chatter

Mayor Fires Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony Batts

Deputy police commissioner Kevin Davis will serve as interim commissioner.

By Ron Cassie | July 8, 2015, 4:11 pm

-Andrew Burton/Getty

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake announced Wednesday afternoon that she has replaced Anthony W. Batts as commissioner of the Baltimore Police Department.

Effective immediately, deputy police commissioner Kevin Davis takes over as interim commissioner.

Introducing Davis at a City Hall press conference, Rawlings-Blake thanked Batts for his three years of service to Baltimore, praising his commitment to put more officers into high-crime areas in the city and bring accountability and transparency to the police department. However, she said, the ongoing debate over Batts' leadership in the aftermath of the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray from injuries suffered while in police custody had become "a distraction" in efforts to battle the recent surge in violence facing the city.

Rawlings-Blake noted that three people were murdered Tuesday in Baltimore and that another person had already been killed Wednesday prior to the press conference.

Just last September, with Rawlings-Blake's support and the unanimous approval of the City Council, Batts had signed a six-year contract extension.

Although homicide and crime numbers had dropped in recent years, the move to dismiss Batts doesn't come as a surprise given the ongoing bickering in the media between the mayor's office, the Fraternal Order of Police, and City Council. Front and center have been concerns of a police "slowdown" in the wake of indictments against six police officers involved in Gray's arrest and whether or not Batts had protected and stood by his uniformed officers during the protests, riots, public outcry, and subsequent charges brought by the city state's attorney's office.

There were 42 homicides in Baltimore in May, the deadliest month in more than two decades, and 29 more in June, bringing the total to 156 so far this year.

Outside City Hall after Rawlings-Blake's announcement, city councilman Brandon Scott said he supported the mayor's decision to fire Batts. Scott also praised the former police commissioner for his past work, as well as current police commanders and officers for reducing crime in the past three years, but said that Batts "had lost the locker room"—meaning the support of the rank and file—over the past eight weeks.

This announcement of the firing came after this morning's release of a 32-page report by the Fraternal Order of Police, which found that the rioting following the death of Freddie Gray was "preventable."

"By refusing to immediately release the radio transmissions and other command communications made during the riots, Commissioner Batts has missed an opportunity to regain the trust of the City as well as the rank and file police officers," FOP president Lt. Gene Ryan said in a statement after the report was released. "The bottom line is simply that our leadership—Commissioner Batts and State’s Attorney Mosby—has done nothing since the riots to investigate protocol shortcomings and better prepare our officers.”

Davis, the interim commissioner, was born and raised in College Park. He previously served as chief of police in Anne Arundel County and assistant police chief in Prince George's County. He is the son of a retired Prince George’s County police office and graduated from DeMatha High School before earning a degrees Towson University and Johns Hopkins University. Davis is also a graduate of the FBI National Academy and FBI National Executive Institute, according to a bio posted Wednesday on the Baltimore Police Department's Facebook page.

Davis made only brief remarks after being introduced to the media by Rawlings-Blake. "It's all about the crime fight, and it's all about the relationships with our community," he said. Davis added that his only immediate message to the city's police officers is, "I will walk with them. I will serve with them and I will be with them every step of the way."


Interim commissioner Kevin Davis at the City Hall press conference. -Photography by Ron Cassie



Meet The Author

Ron Cassie is a senior editor for Baltimore, where he covers the environment, education, medicine, politics, and city life.



You May Also Like


The Chatter

Early Risers Turn to Skateboarding as a Pandemic Pastime

Group of guys in their 30s and 40s spend mornings skating in Hampden’s Roosevelt Park.

News & Community

Arabbers’ Mission Becomes More Urgent In the Midst of COVID-19

In addition to produce, arabbers distribute free groceries, masks, and public health fliers.

The Chatter

Design for Distancing Competition Aims to Revive The Beauty of Public Spaces

Forward-thinking social-distancing structures could be built in the city as early as this month.


News & Community

Hotel Revival Becomes An Emergency Response Center in Mt. Vernon

The hotel's community outreach takes on a new meaning during the pandemic.

Health & Wellness

All in a Day With Ellen Frost

We follow a day in the life of the Local Color Flowers owner.

The Chatter

Boxer Yahu Blackwell Is An All-Everything Businessman

The 33-year-old Baltimore native is the owner of the new Rita’s Italian Ice in Hampden.

Connect With Us

Most Read


Design for Distancing Competition Aims to Revive The Beauty of Public Spaces: Forward-thinking social-distancing structures could be built in the city as early as this month.

Bottoms Up Bagels Rolls Into Harwood: Owners debut their new “BUB Hub” at 28th and Greenmount.

The Womanist Reader Creates an Online Library of Black Literature: A Baltimore writer curates an evolving list of women writers for her women followers.

Amid The Economic Chaos, Downtown Partnership’s New President Has a Plan: Shelonda Stokes was just named president after serving in an interim leadership role.

Five Things to Know About Democratic Mayoral Nominee Brandon Scott: The 36-year-old City Council President rallies past Sheila Dixon to win Democratic mayoral primary.