As Baltimore city officials called on the federal government to help address a deadly spike in violence — the highest in 43 years — veteran Democratic Rep. Elijah E. Cummings on Monday urged the community to put down its weapons.
The city saw 45 homicides last month, eclipsing a 43-year-old record, officials said.
“I hear over and over again that ‘Black Lives Matter,’ and they do matter, but Black lives also have to matter to Black people,” Cummings said at a press conference this week. “The police need the community and community needs the police. I’m begging you to put the guns down.”
Cummings was flanked by Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby, among others, at a news conference where it was announced that 10 federal agents from “the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration; the U.S. Secret Service and the U.S. Marshals Service would work with the police department’s homicide unit for the next 60 days,” CNN reports.
According to CNN:
They join the 20 ATF agents who were sent in last week to form BFED, a joint task force that “is the next step of an all-hands-on-deck movement addressing violence in our community,” Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said Monday….
The loaning of law enforcement officials is a common practice between local police departments and federal agencies for a particular investigation, but what makes this move unusual is that this isn’t for any one specific investigation and the loaning is typically the other way around — local detectives are usually plucked to assist a federal investigation, according to interim Police Commissioner Kevin Davis…
Mosby, who made a splash earlier this year when she announced charges against police officers involved in the death of Freddie Gray, also implored residents to put down their weapons, CNN says.
“There have been 191 killings (this year) in the city of Baltimore, that is completely unacceptable,” said Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby. “The police can’t do it alone. The state’s attorney can’t do it alone.”
Only four days into August, there have already been three homicides.