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Freddie Gray's death from injuries obtained while in police custody in April fanned the smoldering anger and frustration with police practices in Baltimore into a conflagration of protesting, rioting, and looting.For the next twelve months, WYPR's Mary Rose Madden will explore those practices and the culture of policing in Baltimore. She'll look at how the relationship between officers and citizens reached that tipping point and report on racial and class tensions, the documented instances of excessive use of force and probe how complaints against officers are handled.She'll look at past attempts at police reform in the city, how they compare with other cities with the same problems and how police officers are responding to calls for community-oriented policing.It will all be in On the Watch: Fixing the Fractured Relationship Between Baltimore's Police and Its Communities .On the Watch will air during Morning Edition and All Things Considered.This special series is supported by grants from the Bendit Family Foundation, Sig and Barbara Shapiro, The Zanvyl and Isabelle Krieger Fund, and Open Society Institute-Baltimore.

Baltimore Cop Shoots Teenager Holding A Realistic Looking BB Gun

Mary Rose Madden

A Baltimore police officer in plain clothes chased and shot a young African American boy because he thought the bb gun the boy was carrying was a semi-automatic pistol.  

Two detectives were driving to their district station when they saw fourteen year old Dedric Colvin holding a basketball in one hand and a realistic-looking gun in the other. 

They say the boy ran after they identified themselves.  Once he stopped,  an officer shot Colvin in the shoulder and leg.  Critics are asking what threat was posed by walking with a bb gun. Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis says his officers  didn’t have time to ponder whether the gun was real or not. "Police officers don't have to wait until they're being shot at to engage in a deadly force scenario."  

The shooting is being reviewed by a special investigation response team that was created in the aftermath of Freddie Gray’s death last year.