Baltimore, MD – Baltimore police have identified the officer who told an off-duty firefighter and his friends that it wasn’t her district when they tried to report a man with a gun (video below).
The incident occurred at about 2:30 a.m. on July 6 when the firefighter and his two “fire buff” friends were driving around downtown Baltimore in a vehicle fitted with a dashcam, The Baltimore Sun reported.
The men were sitting at a traffic light when they saw a man carrying a gun in his waistband as he crossed the street. Then they watched as he tossed it into some bushes at the intersection of Lexington and St. Paul Streets, WJZ-TV reported.
The firefighter called 911 to report the man and the gun, and then circled back to the intersection to wait for police, according to The Baltimore Sun.
But the video showed the man who had tossed the gun returned, and the men were afraid he might have another weapon or that he might retrieve the gun and shoot them.
So the firefighter and his friends took off, and called 911 again. Then they pulled over when they saw some patrol vehicles and flagged down an officer, the video showed.
“Hey, can you help me out?” the firefighter asked the officer.
“What’s going on?” the officer asked from off camera.
“There’s a guy who just dumped a gun. I just called it in twice, but it took them forever to respond. Right there at St. Paul and Lexington,” the firefighter explained in the video.
“Sir, right now I’m going back to the station. You called it in? This isn’t my district. Call them.’ the officer told them.
“Alright. Thanks,” the firefighter responded. And then when he’d pulled away from the officer, he said “Protect and Serve!” with a hint of sarcasm, the video showed.
Interim Police Commissioner Gary Tuggle called the officer’s response to the citizens unacceptable, WJZ reported.
“Everyone in this city deserves a police force that’s responsive,” Commissioner Tuggle said at a press conference on Monday where the video was released. “Officers generally do want to do their job. … However, this was particularly disturbing to me.”
A spokesman for the Baltimore Police Department said officials had identified the officer who was heard in the video, but they have not released her name to the public, WJZ reported.
“You wear this uniform and this badge,” the commissioner said. “It says Baltimore City and you have the responsibility to serve any place in the city.”
He thanked the firefighters for doing their civic duty in reporting the tossed gun, and also for bringing the officer’s behavior to the department’s attention.
“As citizens, they did exactly what we ask them to do,” Commissioner Tuggle said. “At the end of the day, when we receive information like that, we have an obligation — a duty, a duty — to respond to it.”
When reporters asked Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh for her comments on the video that had been released, she referred them back to her latest commissioner, the third since the beginning of the year.
She told reporters that Commissioner Tuggle “has complete control of what needs to take place,” and then walked off.
This latest embarrassment for the department brass comes just one week after USA Today published a story about the lack of policing taking place in Baltimore since the Freddie Grey riots in 2015.
In the time since the Freddie Grey incident, Baltimore police have continued to respond to calls for service from citizens, but the number of violations that officers have reported seeing themselves has dropped by half from the number that were reported before the riots that left whole blocks of the city in ruins.
Six Baltimore officers were prosecuted for the death of Freddie Gray without any evidence of wrongdoing. All officers were acquitted by a judge or had charges eventually dismissed.
Five of those officers have attempted to sue prosecutor Marilyn Mosby for malicious prosecution, but in the latest ruling on the case, the judge determined that she had immunity as a prosecutor.
Police records showed that officers still responded to calls just as quickly as they did before the Freddie Grey riots, but the number of suspected narcotics offenses reported by officers dropped by 30 percent.
The number of people being picked up on outstanding warrants by officers who spotted them out and about dropped by almost half, according to USA Today.
A Baltimore police officer told Blue Lives Matter that officers were already in a culture of doing as little proactive work as possible to stay available for calls because the department is so understaffed. Now, officers are also afraid of losing their jobs or being prosecuted for no reason like the six officers in the Freddie gray case.
USA Today reported that the surge of shootings and killings that followed the officers’ change in attitude and behavior has left Baltimore as “easily the deadliest large city in the United States.”
Baltimore’s murder rate reached an all-time high of 342 in 2017. In some neighborhoods, the number of shootings has more than tripled, according to USA Today.
Watch the officer blow off the firefighter in the video below: