Activists gathered in front of City Hall tonight to say they had been "disrespected" by Interim Police Commissioner Kevin Davis and planned to occupy City Hall again, for the second time in a week, if he did not agree to their "rules of engagement" for demonstrations in the days ahead. Anticipating a raft of protests as the Freddie Gray trials begin on Nov. 30, the young activists put together a list of 19 demands for police reform, including such things as eschewing mass arrests, limiting tear gas to a last resort, and agreeing that police would not intercept cellphone conversations.
Davis met with leaders of the activist groups Baltimore Bloc, City Bloc, The Baltimore Algebra Project, the West Coalition, Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle, and Youth as Resources at 5 p.m. on Sunday. Davis agreed to the 19 points outlined in the letter, say protesters, though he added a few amendments that all parties agreed to. He even added a 20th point of his own.
However, Davis also promised to email over the revised document for approval and then make a formal announcement of the changes at noon today, say protesters. He failed to do this. (Davis did send out an email to press at 3:13 p.m. stating: "We ultimately want the same thing: a safe and peaceful environment where citizens can exercise their Constitutional Rights. We've taken steps to ensure a better flow of communication, and I look forward to a constructive and productive relationship moving forward.")
"This was supposed to be a congratulatory press conference," City Bloc's Makayla Gilliam-Price, 17, told reporters. "But we are here to say we will be unflinching in our stance and we will not leave until our demands are met."
During the City Council meeting, Davis had the interim tag removed in a council vote. After briefly disrupting the meeting, protesters began marching in the streets downtown.