The Latest: Baltimore police commissioner takes oath

AP News
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Posted: Oct 19, 2015 8:39 PM

BALTIMORE (AP) — The latest on the Baltimore City Council's vote to keep interim police commissioner Kevin Davis permanently (all times local):

7:15 p.m.

Kevin Davis has been sworn in as Baltimore's permanent police commissioner by Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.

Davis, the interim commissioner until the City Council voted to confirm him hours earlier, was met with cheers as he took his oath at a community meeting Monday evening.

Beforehand, Davis and Rawlings-Blake held a news conference to address an activists' protest that erupted after the vote. The protesters, some of whom were arrested after a sit-in at City Hall late last week, said they remained frustrated even after Davis met with them Sunday and agreed to 19 demands, including a policy for how police treat protesters.

Davis said he thought the meeting was "productive" and that he admired the commitment of the young activists.

"I don't know many police commissioners who have met with a group of grassroots protesters. It's an important relationship to build, and like any relationship it takes work," he said.

Rawlings-Blake said she was "confused" by protesters' tactics. "I'm grateful that the commissioner met with them and talked about their demands," she said. " ... I think certainly their voices have been heard."

Davis has the remaining five years of Anthony Batts' six-year contract. Rawlings-Blake fired Batts in July after homicides spiked following the death of Freddie Gray, who was severely injured while in police custody.

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6:30 p.m.

The young organizers of a protest over police, housing and educational issues in Baltimore say they'll continue to pressure Police Commissioner Kevin Davis to ensure the city's youth are heard.

They rallied at a plaza at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore after speaking out Monday evening at a City Council vote to confirm Davis permanently as the city's top police official. People chanted, "Justice for Freddie Gray, justice for Tyrone West, justice for all victims of police brutality." Gray and West are black men who died after encounters with Baltimore police.

At least 25 officers gathered nearby and watched. Shortly after 6 p.m., organizers linked arms and pledged to carry on the struggle.

Adam Jackson, chief executive of a Baltimore think tank called Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle, was among the protesters arrested last week at City Hall after a sit-in. He said Monday night of the demonstrators present that "we're more effective out here, advocating, than we are getting arrested."

Of the group's efforts, Jackson said, "It's a battle and we lost tonight with the vote. But it's a longer battle and one we're in for."

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6 p.m.

About 60 to 70 people are marching in Baltimore's downtown streets after a City Council vote confirmed Kevin Davis as the permanent police commissioner.

The group left City Hall and was marching and chanting, "No justice, no peace, no racist police." They also called, "Whose streets?" and answered, "Our streets!" Another chant: "This is what democracy looks like!"

The student and community activists are unhappy with Davis' selection, with some saying he has cracked down on protests since taking over as interim commissioner in July. They sought to reach an agreement with him on how officers will respond to protests and held a meeting with him Sunday.

Marchers entered the streets during evening rush hour. Some drivers appear bewildered by the presence of the demonstrators and are trying to turn their cars around.

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5:40 p.m.

When Baltimore City Council President Bernard C. "Jack" Young asked which council members opposed Commissioner Kevin Davis' appointment, several audience members chimed in, shouting "no!"

Young called a five-minute recess when protesters began chanting "If we don't get it shut it down!" and "This is what democracy looks like" in the hallway.

Police officers escorted several protesters outside City Hall onto the street. The Council then resumed its meeting.

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5:15 p.m.

Baltimore's City Council has approved the nomination of interim Police Commissioner Kevin Davis to the city's top law enforcement job.

The Council voted Monday evening to appoint Davis to the post permanently. Two Council members voted 'no.'

Davis has the remaining five years of Anthony Batts' six-year contract. Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake fired Batts in July after homicides spiked following the death of Freddie Gray, who was severely injured while in police custody.

The Board of Estimates, which is controlled by the mayor, is to set the terms of Davis' contract. The mayor wants to pay him $200,000 annually through June 2020.

After Davis appeared last week before the Council's executive appointments committee, activists staged a sit-in at City Hall that led to 16 arrests on trespassing charges.

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4:30 p.m.

A group of activists gathered Monday outside of City Hall in protest of the likely confirmation of Interim Commissioner Kevin Davis by the city council, scheduled to vote at 5 p.m.

Makayla Gilliam-Price, a high school student and founding member of City Bloc who was arrested after a City Hall sit-in last week, said she and other activists met with Davis on Sunday to discuss a list of demands that includes guidelines for how protesters are treated by police.

Gilliam-Price said Davis agreed "whole-heartedly and unflinchingly" to the demands on Sunday, and that Monday's gathering was supposed to be a celebration of that. But Gilliam-Price said the group was disappointed that Davis issued a statement that stopped short of acknowledging that commitment.

She and others gathered outside of City Hall to send a message, she said, that the group is "well aware of his neglect" and "will continue to put pressure on him while he's commissioner."

Adam Jackson from Leaders for a Beautiful Struggle said some members of that group were ready to occupy City Hall again.