Baltimore’s Democrat mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has decided not to seek another term.
Donna Owens of Reuters reports:
Baltimore mayor says will not seek re-election
Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, whose city was rocked by riots earlier this year over a black man’s death in police custody, will not seek re-election when her term ends next year, she said on Friday.
Rawlings-Blake, who became something of a flashpoint in the troubled city, was criticized by the public for her handling of the April riots that followed the death of Freddie Gray, which saw dozens of cars and buildings burned.
In a hastily arranged City Hall press conference, the Democrat, who is black, said her decision was not directly related to the Gray case but acknowledged the past six months have been a “tough time” for Baltimore.
“While certainly I would not have chosen (the unrest), you don’t choose … you play the cards you’re dealt,” said Rawlings-Blake, 45, who spent 12 years on city council before becoming mayor in 2010. “I have chosen to govern for the next 15 months rather than campaigning.”
Baltimore is braced for the upcoming trials of six police officers charged in Gray’s death, which resulted from injuries he sustained in the back of a police van following his April 12 arrest in a crime-ridden West Baltimore neighborhood.
It almost sounds like she expects more unrest in her riot weary city, which wouldn’t be surprising now that a judge has ruled that the Gray case will stay in Baltimore.
Let’s not forget the strange motives behind the settlement the city of Baltimore recently reached with the family of Freddie Gray.
In case you missed it last week, here’s the mayor defending the decision to settle with Gray’s family as the “right fiscal decision” for taxpayers:
According to Kevin Rector of the Baltimore Sun, Blake’s decision doesn’t do any favors for the city’s already stressed police department:
Mayor’s announcement creates new uncertainty for troubled police department
Baltimore’s embattled Police Department, confronting a spike in violent crime and added scrutiny after the death of Freddie Gray, is now facing months of uncertainty about its leadership.
With the announcement Friday that Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake will not run for re-election, she and her top lieutenants became lame ducks.
Police leadership was thrown into flux after the mayor fired the Commissioner Anthony W. Batts in July. Kevin Davis has been serving on an interim basis since then. Even if Rawlings-Blake picks a permanent successor, her successor could impose change again.
The next mayor is likely to pick a police commissioner who has a similar policing philosophy, said Joe Thomas, an expert in law enforcement leadership at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business. The general election is in November 2016.
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