A Baltimore City police officer was shot and seriously wounded at a traffic stop Sunday night. At a press conference outside the hospital as the officer was being treated, Baltimore City Police Commissioner Anthony Batts said, “I’m not caught on the irony of the timing of the situation. We’ve had marches nationwide over the fact that we’ve lost lives in police custody. I wonder if we’re going to have the same marches as officers are shot, too.” (The remarks are at about 1:25 in the video embedded below.)

According to one news report the Baltimore Police Department has gone to great pains to point out that during the whole episode the police on the scene did not fire their weapons at all.

A man in the back seat refused to comply with an order to show his hands, police said.

“One officer advised him that if he didn’t comply he would be tased. At some point, there was the discharging of the firearm and the firing of a Taser, exactly which event happened first is under investigation,” Baltimore City police Maj. Stanley Branford said.

Three shots were reportedly fired and one struck the officer in the abdomen, below his bulletproof vest, injuring him. His partner took him to the hospital. (According to news reports, officers in Baltimore are authorized to take injured colleagues to the hospital and not wait for ambulances. The nearest hospital is about three miles from the scene of the shooting.)

“One of our officers was attacked was for no reason was attacked viciously by (the gunman),” Baltimore police Deputy Cmdr. Jerry Rodriguez said.

City police said a few people were taken into custody, but only one man, 19-year-old Donte Jones, was charged in the shooting. A city police commander said Jones is a violent repeat offender. He faces attempted murder charges in connection with Sunday’s shooting, police said.

“This is a situation where had the individuals in the car complied with the officers’ directions, at best, maybe a citation,” Rodriguez said.

The suspicious activity in question was reported marijuana use.

Jones, the suspect in the shooting, was out on $150,000 bail for drug and weapons charges. Before the shooting he had a court date on the earlier charges scheduled for yesterday.

Needless to say, Batts’ comments created something of an uproar, but he’s right. Where is the support for police officers trying to do their job? The question is even more apt in the city that was ranked the country’s 7th most violent in 2013.

As Prof Jacobson pointed out, sometimes it’s the police who end up on the wrong end of a gun in struggles with suspects. And unlike the case in Baltimore, they don’t always survive.

[Photo: WBAL-TV Baltimore / YouTube ]


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