Baltimore, MD – An unprecedented court case came to a conclusion today as 3,018 Baltimore police officers pleaded no contest to charges of dereliction of duty. According to court documents, the charges stemmed from Monday night’s riots that went practically uncontested by police and led to millions of dollars in damage to city and public property. Hundreds of assaults on innocent victim’s were also reported.
Attorney Jeff Scriber, who represented all the officers said in mitigation during sentencing, “Although the facts are true that officers permitted the looting and violence, it was only because they were following orders from city leaders and police administrators to stand down.”
City leaders had a different story. When asked why charges were not filed against city and police leaders, prosecutors said their decision not to act were in good faith for the greater good of the community based on the information they had.
Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said they were in an undisclosed location having their weekly meeting with the Nation of Islam when the violence broke out and were unaware of the direction that the protests took on the street. “We were in a meeting in a bunker when things started to get out of control,” said Mayor Rawlings-Blake. “We were relying on information from the boots on the ground to keep us updated, but it never came. If we would have known things were that bad we would have given our officers their handcuffs back, removed the orders to ‘stand down’ and allowed them to make arrests.”
B&S spoke with one Baltimore police officer who wanted to remain anonymous and said, “It was sickening to watch the crowds run amok around us, but we were just following orders. We were all conflicted – was our duty to protect citizens and property or protect our political image?”
Political analyst Raymond Kelly chimed in on the decision. “‘Blindly following orders’ was always a slight used to compare police officers to Nazis when they followed orders to harm innocent people,” said Kelly. “I guess it’s a new age when officers are criticized for ‘blindly following orders’ to protect criminals – but what can you do? Everything is backwards these days.”
After the no contest plea, all 3,018 officers were sentenced by being forced to continue to work for the City of Baltimore for at least two years before they can quit and find a better job – or eighteen months with good behavior.