Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, who gave rioters “space to destroy” property and reportedly told police to stand down, was a key player in the Justice Dept.’s plan to expand federal control over local law enforcement.
Rawlings-Blake was one of three mayors who provided broad input into President Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing, which advocates the federalization of police departments across the country by forcing them to adhere to stricter federal requirements when they receive funding.
“The federal government can be a strong partner in our efforts in build better relationships between the police and community,” she said in written testimony before the task force.
That would explain her inaction to stop the rioting when it began: by allowing it to spiral out of control, the mayor and her friends at the Justice Dept. could use the unrest to justify the expansion of federal power into local law enforcement, which would also allow her to receive more funding.
President Obama said the Task Force on 21st Century Policing is “directed at the 18,000 law enforcement jurisdictions that are out there.”
“I’m going to be asking Eric Holder and the Justice Department and his successor to go through all these recommendations so that we can start implementing them,” he said. “I know that one area that’s going to be of great interest is whether we can expand the COPS program that in the past has been very effective, continues to be effective, but is largely underfunded – to see if we can get more incentives for local communities to apply some of the best practices and lessons that are embodied in this report.”
And Rawlings-Blake was more than willing to apply these “best practices” in exchange for federal funding.
“Our police commanders are constantly seeking additional dollars, both to develop best practices and to then teach those practices to our officers and our developing leaders,” she also said. “If there is any place where the federal government and U.S. Department of Justice could produce a tangible impact on our officers and our efforts, it would be to provide more resources in this area.”