Davis Says Protesters Can Talk To Him
Some of the protesters who disrupted Interim Police Commissioner Kevin Davis’ confirmation hearing Wednesday night were back at Baltimore City Hall Thursday morning; angered by the arrests of members of their group.
Police arrested 16 people, including three juveniles, after they refused to leave a balcony in city council chambers after Davis’ hearing. The council’s Executive Nominations Committee voted to send Davis’ appointment to the full council for a vote next week over the chants of “Stop the Vote.”
The coalition of youth protesters demanded to meet with Davis and Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake among other things.
They’ve also called for the firing of Housing Commissioner Paul Graziano because of allegations from some residents of the Gilmor Homes project against some of the maintenance workers. The residents charged that the workers demanded sexual favors in exchange for repairs to their apartments.
Gilmor Homes is the project where the Freddie Gray incident began.
The protesters also want the $20 million the state plans to spend on a new youth jail in the city to be spent on social justice programs.
Kwame Rose, who led the morning protest, said Davis should hear from those with concerns as well as his supporters.
“We’ll find those community activists who get the grants; they get the funding for not holding the system accountable,” he said. “I’m more concerned about [why] aren’t those who have questions being given the same access to engage him.”
Rose complained that Davis missed an opportunity “to prove to all the mayoral candidates that he is really engaging all sides of Baltimore City.”
Davis found that hard to believe. He said protesters have his cell phone number “because I gave it to them…weeks and weeks ago.”
While he hopes to meet with protesters soon, Mayor Rawlings-Blake is not as open to such an interaction.
“If you want to get a meeting with me, you can call my office,” she said. “You don’t sit in City Hall all night.”
Rose said he is not expecting the mayor to meet with the coalition.
“The mayor has proven she’s not ready to engage protesters and she’s shown she is not confident in her own ability to complete the job.”