Residents says FOP has gone too far with criticism while organization hires PR firm.
STEPHEN JANIS, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER, TRNN: The pressure intensified yesterday on the city’s police union as protesters marched from the neighborhood where Freddie Gray encountered police before his death to the organization’s headquarters in Hampden to raise concerns about their role in the increasingly heated debate about policing in the city. The protesters say the union, which represents police officers in Baltimore, went too far when it characterized them as a lynch mob, and were concerned about the attacks on city prosecutor Marilyn Mosby after the indictment of six officers in Gray’s death, which they say went beyond advocacy and into the realm of threats. PROTESTER: Something needs to be done. You know, seriously. People’s tired—we [know] the police going to be held accountable for what they do. How come their life is worth more than mine? How come they can keep killing us and nothing can be done about it? JANIS: Which is why they took to the streets, marching across West Baltimore and through Hampden, finally arriving at the FOP headquarters. And this is not the only group unhappy with the organization that has been front and center at a storm of criticism against prosecutors and the Mayor after the indictment earlier this month. Yesterday the Baltimore chapter of the NAACP sent a pointed letter to the organization, reiterating the same complaints, and the concerns the rhetoric had gone too far. HASSAN GIORDANO, CHAIRMAN, NAACP CRIMINAL JUSTICE COMMITTEE: Along with the allegations it’s a lynch mob, that I know Gene Ryan at one point walked back. But a lot of the people in that community were upset about this. Our community justice members as well as a lot of African-American women were upset due to the fact that they elected both of these African-American women, the Mayor and the State’s Attorney, and it feels like they weren’t getting their just due to be able to do the process, to let the process work itself out without the influence of this very powerful police union. JANIS: To address a continued controversy, the FOP has hired a public relations firm. They sent us this email, stating that they had arranged a sit-down with the NAACP last week, and look forward to discussing the issue further. Meanwhile, back in West Baltimore, the process of policing continued. Just before the protest, police are spotted loading a previously unconscious man into the back of a van. Our Real News photographer, Cameron Granadino, asked why the man was being arrested. But he was simply told to back off. Stephen Janis reporting with Cameron Granadino, for The Real News Network in Baltimore.
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