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Former Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony Batts Joins MSMU Expert Panel Examining Unrest in Baltimore

Mount St. Mary's University
August 31, 2015

Mount St. Mary’s University will examine and discuss recent racial unrest in the city of Baltimore and in America by hosting an upcoming panel discussion titled: “Justice in America Today? Challenges and Opportunities for Action” held on September 2, 2015.

The discussion will include an expert panel, including Anthony Batts, who served as Baltimore Police Commissioner (2012-15) during the unrest; Marc Mauer, Executive Director of the Sentencing Project and national expert on sentencing policy, race and the criminal justice system; and Bishop Denis Madden, an auxiliary bishop in the Archdiocese of Baltimore and an advocate for preserving social justice in Baltimore.

In April, Baltimore caught the eye of the nation and the world when citizens took to the streets protesting against the Baltimore Police Department and its treatment of Freddie Gray. Demonstrators alleged Gray was assaulted by officers while in custody — actions that contributed to his death. Six Baltimore police officers await trial and face charges related to Gray’s death.

The events in Baltimore resulted in almost 500 arrests, millions of dollars in damaged property, and the disruption of city services  — forcing the Baltimore leaders to impose a seven-day, city-wide curfew. The protest occurred just months after events in Ferguson, MO; Cleveland, OH; and New York City spotlighted other African American suspects who died while in police custody, or in pursuit.

“It is our responsibility to look at the deaths of those in police custody and see how racism still burdens our community and country,” said Simon Newman, President of Mount St. Mary’s University. “It is important our society confronts issues undermining the human dignity of every citizen and serve as a collective force for positive change.”

MSMU will conduct campus-wide discussions, presentations and research during this academic year examining the issues of poverty, race, policing, and social justice and their connection to recent events in Baltimore and around the nation.

“We are looking within ourselves and within our community to find answers to the deep-seated issues of injustice and inequality. This is a task all strong leaders must be willing to take on and here at the Mount we empower our students to face those fights and develop into leaders who will make a difference,” said Newman.

The panel discussion is free and open to the public and will be held September 2, from 7-9 p.m., in Knott Auditorium, on the Mount St. Mary’s University campus.