Week In Review: New trial for Keith Davis, Bloomberg funds police, Jewish Times reporter quits, more

Photo of Keith Davis Jr. presented to Ihtisham Butt.

-Baltimore City Police Commissioner Kevin Davis held a press conference last Friday—the first one relating to the Death of Det. Sean Suiter since Nov. 22, when he announced that Suiter was due to testify about a federal police corruption probe the day after he was fatally shot. This time, it was to tell the public that the department is handing the case over to the FBI. Lots of questions relating to this case remain, including the reason why police had to lock down portions of the Harlem Park neighborhood where he was shot and, apparently, the manner of death as Davis now entertains the possibility of suicide.

-When we heard that the Carroll County school officials had decided to suspend field trips to Baltimore City due to safety concerns, our first instinct was derision—like, come on. The kids will be fine. On second thought, though, it’s sad that all those students will miss out on the education and culture that Baltimore City can offer. This isn’t new, though. In 2015, according to the Carroll County Times, school officials suspended field trips to Washington, D.C. due to a statement made by the Islamic State. One positive byproduct of this: Councilperson Zeke Cohen invited Sheriff Jim DeWees of Carroll County to come to Baltimore to see the city, and DeWees obliged. It’s a start.

-Bloomberg Philanthropies announced that they were donating $5 million to the Baltimore Police Department, with the money going to more hi-tech crime-fighting tools like surveillance cameras, license plate readers, and more. But what if all that money went to the root causes of crime (joblessness, a lack of housing, poor education, and insufficient transportation systems), instead of aiding in over-policing?

-Keith Davis Jr., a man shot by police in June of 2015 and later charged and convicted of the murder of Kevin Jones, has been granted a new trial. A hearing for a motion for a new trial, which began on Dec. 1 and continued into Dec. 4, found Davis’ lawyers focused on the unreliability of the state’s star witness David Gutierrez. Gutierrez claimed Davis confessed to him about Jones’ murder, something that sounded far-fetched and, according to Davis’ lawyers, impossible given prison layout and permissions. It is something of a victory for local activists and Davis’ wife Kelly, who have been calling attention to Davis’ situation since 2015.

According to the Baltimore Brew and reporter Justin Silberman, the Jewish Times spiked a lengthy story about the community meeting discussing the patrol vehicle given to neighborhood watch group, Shomrim. Silberman, who quit the Jewish Times over the debate, says he was told to shorten the piece and then that it would be a 300-word “brief” not written by Silberman. The Brew has been all over the Shomrim story, which continues to get messier, so kudos to them, and kudos to Silberman for saying “nah” with so much integrity.

-There were nine homicides in Baltimore over the past week (Nov. 27-Dec. 4, the week before the Beat goes press). Joshua Richardson on Nov. 27, John Stevenson and a not-yet-identified 50-year-old man on Nov. 28, and since then six other victims not yet identified (one killed on Nov. 29, two on Nov. 30, one on Dec. 2, and one on Dec. 3. As of Dec. 4, Baltimore has had 322 homicides. In 2016, Baltimore had 318 homicides for the entire year.

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