Baltimore City Power Rankings: Baltimore at Art Basel, BPD, Mayor $RB, and more

↑ Baltimore at Art Basel

Baltimore was well represented in the satellite fairs surrounding Art Basel Miami Beach this year, with Galerie Myrtis at Spectrum, Goya Contemporary and C. Grimaldis Gallery at Art Miami, Springsteen Gallery at NADA, and Terrault Contemporary and Platform Gallery at Satellite Art Show. Other Baltimore artists were scattered in booths around town with musician Abdu Ali's playing an energetic set at the public opening at Satellite. City Paper spoke to the local gallerists and curators about the slew of time, labor, and money that goes into exhibiting work in fairs; all agreed that showing Baltimore's artists and its curatorial strengths to an international audience was well worth it.

Baltimore Police Department

Police released body camera footage depicting the sequence of events as they shot an agitated man armed with two knives on Greenmount Avenue, a gesture that backed up Commissioner Kevin Davis' promise of greater transparency. The footage depicts a fast-moving incident and the speed with which the taser gave way to gunfire. The video raises questions, but it's also a sign that Commissioner Davis may be willling to engage in honest dialogue, which is a good thing. The man police shot, who has a history of mental illness, remains hospitalized. The police also drew on body camera footage to police their own this week, charging Officer Donald Gaff with assault and misconduct after a routine review of Gaff's body camera footage. Gaff's video revealed an arrest back in September where he appeared to use excessive force. And lastly, at a protest the day after the Greenmount shooting, police Major Richard Gibson rushed to try to revive a baby who had stopped breathing—a heroic act by Gibson that tragically couldn't save the one-month old who died at the hospital.

↓ Baltimore Police Department

The video police released of the Greenmount shooting depicts a chaotic and troubling scene: Five police officers converged on a man acting erratically in the street, armed with two knives. The man was heard to say he was "ready to give" his life. Police are trained to shoot to eliminate deadly threats, but they are also supposed to try to "de-escalate" violent situations with reason and physical signals designed to convey the message: "we don't want to hurt you." In this case, police repeatedly shouted at the man, ordering him to "drop the weapon." They followed this by quickly attempting to tase the man, and then, it appears, almost simultaneously, firing their guns. If there was any attempt to reason with or calm the man, it was not on the video that police shared.

↓ Developmental Disabilities Administration

The state agency, part of the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, serves 25,000 people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. But every time the state audits, it finds problems. This time, $4 million was improperly collected from consumers, contractors were not monitored, and consultants were paid for duplicative services and/or work not done. The silver lining: soon, the DDA will not be compelled by law to pay for services in advance.

↓ Mayor $RB

Stephanie Rawlings-Blake is now out of office, and one of her last acts as mayor was to be petty. In October, the mayor's office denied WYPR's Kenneth Burns access to the mayor's press conferences, alleging Burns "has consistently exhibited verbally and physically threatening behavior." They never really provided evidence to back those claims. Fox 45's Paul Gessler has stayed on top of the story, filing a public information act request for any official communications about the threats Burns allegedly committed. After blowing the dealinde, the mayor's office failed to produce a single one. At a press event last week, Gessler again asked about the ban on Burns. $RB referred questions to the radio station before spokesman Anthony McCarthy stepped in, on camera, to say: "No, no. We're gonna stop." As Gessler later noted on Twitter, McCarthy is set to stay on with the Pugh administration. They should consider a different approach with the press.

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