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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER
Baltimore Police Custody Death Examined; Police Union Lawyer Speaks to Press
Aired April 22, 2015 - 16:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[16:30:02] JAKE TAPPER, CNN: But this, by far, is not the first time a police-involved situation has been closely examined here in Baltimore. In fact, the city has a history of law enforcement misconduct. Repeated cases of excessive force have given people a reason to question the cops.
TAPPER (voice-over): It has been dubbed, originally without irony, Charm City. Baltimore, Maryland, has long held a reputation for being one of the most dangerous cities to police in the nation, with a history of brutality on both sides of the badge.
It's a reputation that Freddie Gray's death has brought to light once again. Gray was young, African-American, had a slew of previous drug- related arrests and he spent time in the housing projects here. In short, Gray represented one of Baltimore's most watched populations, watched by police on foot patrol and watched by an audience of millions in television depictions.
Baltimore has served as the go-to example of urban tension in shows like "The Wire" or "Homicide: Life on the Street," shows based on neighborhoods dotted with death. This map compiled by "The Baltimore Sun" shows 211 homicides in the city last year. So far, 2015 has seen 63.
These numbers are vastly better than in previous decades, when crime was notoriously high, more than 350 homicides in 1993 alone. At the time, police recruitment videos used the slogan "And You Thought Your Job Was Tough." It is a dangerous job that's difficult to do without criticism.
Today, the Baltimore Police Department is working hard to improve its relations with those whom it serves, posting photos of outreach efforts and successful busts on Twitter. It's an effort of which the mayor is proud.
STEPHANIE RAWLINGS-BLAKE (D), MAYOR OF BALTIMORE, MARYLAND: I think Baltimore has had a very challenging history when it comes to the black community and the police department. We have done a lot of work and made a lot of progress.
TAPPER: But for many in this city, these efforts do little in the wake of videos such as these showing officer brutality, punching, hitting. Residents say it's all too common. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Freddie Gray isn't the only one they beat up in
this last -- past two weeks.
TAPPER: In 2014, "The Baltimore Sun," reported that the city paid more than $5.7 million in judgments and settlements for alleged police misconduct since 2011. This includes six-figure settlements for allegedly slamming a pregnant woman to the ground, for killing an unarmed Marine veteran and for beating a church deacon with no previous record.
ANTHONY BATTS, BALTIMORE POLICE COMMISSIONER: I have heard the complaints, I have heard the distrust, and it is clear there's still work to be done.
TAPPER: Baltimore police called for a government investigation. Now, less than a year later, the Department of Justice will investigate the force once again.
RAWLINGS-BLAKE: We need stronger enforcement and more tools to hold officers accused of wrongdoing accountable.
TAPPER: In a city has hard to police as this one, the biggest challenge may be a department trying to police itself.
TAPPER: Let's go live now to an attorney for the police union and the head of the FOP, taking questions from the media. Let's listen in.
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)
MICHAEL DAVEY, ATTORNEY FOR BALTIMORE POLICE OFFICERS: ... you flee from the police unprovoked, the police have the legal ability to pursue you. And that's what they did.
They pursued Mr. Gray. They detained him for an investigative stop. Had he not had a knife or an illegal weapon on him, he would have been released after the proper paperwork was done. However, in this case, he was in possession of a spring-loaded knife, which is in violation of Maryland law, at which time he was arrested.
Everyone keeps going back and forth that there was no probable cause. In this type of an incident, you do not need probable cause to arrest. You just need a reasonable suspicion to make the stop. And that's what they had in this case.
There's been a lot of controversy as to whether the six police officers involved in this case gave statements to the investigators. We have heard from the deputy police commissioner on Monday that they did. We have been hearing from other administrators today that they didn't. And that was because of the Law Enforcement Officers' Bill of Rights.
I can tell you that on April 12, the day this incident occurred, five of the six officers voluntarily waived their constitutional rights and gave voluntary statements to the investigators in this matter. [16:35:00]
They have completely cooperated with the investigation from day one. One officer elected not to give a statement. It has nothing to do with the Law Enforcement Officers' Bill of Rights. It's simply he did not waive his constitutional right.
And to be perfectly candid with you, had any of the five officers that did give statements contacted me or any competent attorney, defense attorney, prior to giving statements, they most likely would not have given a statement. However, they did. And they have cooperated.
And why individuals are still going out as late as this afternoon indicating that they have not cooperated in not giving statements is beyond us. We don't know why they would make those statements.
Finally, there's been a lot of talk regarding the Law Enforcement Officers' Bill of Rights and the Law Enforcement Officers' Bill of Rights is prevented the Baltimore Police Department from conducting the investigation. That is simply not the case.
This is a criminal investigation, not an administrative departmental violation-type case, where the LEOBR would kick in. Each and every one of these officers are being investigated as a suspect in a crime. Therefore, they are entitled to all the rights of any other citizen in this country.
They have the right to speak to the police and they have a right not to speak to the police. The LEOBR, it is in no way preventing the Baltimore Police Department from talking to these individuals or is having any negative effect on this investigation.
And why anyone would say that the reason they can't move forward or they're not getting the information they want is because of the Law Enforcement Officers' Bill of Rights is simply not correct.
With that, we will take any questions that you have.
QUESTION: Mike, the fact that you would not advise them to talk, when they talk about optics, that looks like -- makes them seem guilty.
QUESTION: What do you say about that kind of -- how that is viewed?
DAVEY: As a defense attorney, your job is to protect your client, to ensure that at the end of the day, he doesn't say anything that may not be accurate or put himself in a position to get himself in more trouble.
I would do that if I was representing somebody on a burglary or a robbery. And in this case, whether he's a police officer or not makes no difference. They have the exact same rights as everybody else. And I would have told them not to give a statement.
QUESTION: I was reading the statement you all just handed out to us just now. And just reading it, the tone it says that the images on TV look and sound much like a lynch mob. Are you...
DAVEY: I haven't seen that. I haven't...
GENE RYAN, PRESIDENT, BALTIMORE FRATERNAL ORDER OF POLICE: Because they have already tried and convicted the officers. And that's just unfair. They still get their day in court. They did not give up their constitutional rights when they became a law enforcement officer.
That's what I was getting at with that. Some of the protesters and some of the stuff I have been watching on the news, they want them put in prison. Well, they haven't been charged, number one. Number two, they still get their day in court. So, how can they request that they be put in jail? We haven't even gotten to that process yet. The investigation has to be completed before we can move forward.
QUESTION: Are you concerned with the tone of the statement at all?
RYAN: No, because I was quite offended by some of the things that were being said yesterday, me personally. That's coming from me. That didn't come from Mike and the law firm.
QUESTION: This says it comes from the Fraternal Order of Police.
RYAN: Yes, and I'm the president.
QUESTION: Sir, are you likening these citizens protesting in this rally to a lynch mob specifically?
RYAN: Well, let's put it this way. If they're tried, convicted and they want them to be put in jail, where's the due process with that?
QUESTION: I know the mayor has said, Gene, that she is encouraged by the way the residents have participated in these peace -- I'm sorry.
RYAN: Yes, sir.
QUESTION: She is encouraged by the way the community has participated peacefully with these demonstrations. She calls that an important thing as they move forward in this investigation for the community to remain as one or appear as one. These allegations that you're making today, aren't they divisive?
RYAN: If you look, I did compliment. The protesters for the most part have been peaceful. But some of the comments about putting -- and this isn't coming from a large portion of the crowd.
Some of the comments are putting someone in jail that haven't had their due process.
QUESTION: But isn't this -- what you're doing right now, can it be construed as being divisive in a very already tense time here in Baltimore City?
RYAN: No. That was never my intention. That's why I complimented everybody that was involved.
QUESTION: Everybody talks about this is an investigation that's ongoing and it's a long process. Even the federal government, DOJ, is going to review what happened.
But I'm struck by, don't the officers themselves know what happened, the six that have been involved? Couldn't we just simplify this a little bit? Couldn't they just come out and say what we know -- or do they not know what happened?
DAVEY: They know what role they played in the arrest of Mr. Gray. What we don't know and what we're hoping the investigation will tell us is what happened inside the back of the van.
QUESTION: So you're under the impression that it's kind of what the mayor said the other day, that she said whatever happened, happened inside the van. Is that what...
DAVEY: Our position is something happened in that van. We just don't know what.
QUESTION: But can't you understand why people would be so upset at the protests? And you even said yourself, not the majority of the people at the protests...
RYAN: No, no, they have been very peaceful. I have complimented them on that.
QUESTION: So why relate it to a lynch mob...
RYAN: Because if you're going to call to have someone imprisoned before they even have their day in court, that's wrong.
QUESTION: Do you think the majority of the protesters have called for that?
RYAN: No, no, no, not at all, not at all.
QUESTION: If we're focused on what happened in the van and you don't know, I assume you haven't talked to the officers at all?
RYAN: I haven't talked to them. DAVEY: The officers have been spoken to. They're each being
represented. We know basically what the department knows as to what the officers said.
QUESTION: Do you know if Mr. Gray was secured when he got into the transport van?
DAVEY: He was placed in the transport van. Whether he was seat- belted in, is that what you're asking for? I don't believe he was.
QUESTION: Is that (OFF-MIKE)
DAVEY: I don't have a copy of the policy. I can only tell you if you have ever seen one of those vans, they are boxed inside the van, which makes them even narrower.
There's a screen down the middle. And I believe it's been the practice of the department that if you're trying to put a combative person who doesn't want to go in that van in there and put a police officer in there with the ability to seat-belt him in, it is a very dangerous situation due to the very tight quarters.
And I believe there are times when unfortunately individuals are not seat-belted in.
QUESTION: Was there another officer -- was there an officer in the back with him? But wasn't there another individual in the back with him, another person who had been picked up?
DAVEY: But that was at the very end. That was not during the initial time.
QUESTION: Are you aware of any instances in the past, or maybe you would care to speak about this case, where officers might put a cuffed suspect into a van un-seat-belted in order to teach him a lesson in some way or make a -- call it a rough ride?
DAVEY: Everyone's been saying that. Have incidents like that occurred? Possibly. Do I have any documentation where that's come up? No.
It's something that people on the street tell us a lot, that that happens. Do I have -- in my 16 years of representing police officers, have I had anyone disciplined for that? No.
QUESTION: Michael, to be clear, you mentioned that five of the six officers have given statements about what happened.
DAVEY: Yes, sir.
QUESTION: Can you reiterate for us, please, in terms of what the officers say happened? What can you tell us?
DAVEY: I can't go into the details, other than the basis for the stop and that when he was placed in the van on the original -- and the video clearly shows -- he's standing on the bumper. He's turning around yelling at the crowd and he was placed in the van at that point without issue.
QUESTION: The video also shows -- as you just indicated, the video also shows him being dragged, because it seems that his legs are inoperable. (OFF-MIKE)
DAVEY: It seems. It doesn't mean that they were.
QUESTION: What did the officer say regarding...
DAVEY: The officer said he simply did not want to walk. And that is not unusual with individuals who don't want to be arrested. They don't cooperate and they don't want to walk. That is not unusual.
QUESTION: ... because he didn't want to walk. Why he yelling as if he was in pain? Have they said that?
DAVEY: I think you're using the words yelling in pain -- is a speculation. It could have also been yelling to bring the crowd to make attention to his arrest, which if you're a police officer in Baltimore City, that happens on many, many arrests. And I think both lieutenants can speak to that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's not unusual.
QUESTION: Is there a possibility or do you know if these guys had any history with Mr. Gray, any past history?
DAVEY: I have no knowledge. I couldn't answer that question.
QUESTION: Which of the six officers you have identified -- they have been identified now.
QUESTION: Which of them hasn't given a statement?
DAVEY: I don't want to provide that information at this time.
QUESTION: You spoke a little bit about the Law Enforcement Bill of Rights.
DAVEY: Yes, sir.
QUESTION: The ACLU and (OFF-MIKE) civil rights activists here are very critical about it, saying that it -- that is too much protection for law enforcement officers and it doesn't give citizens enough leeway to be able to challenge officers.
What is your guys' response to why you need the Law Enforcement Officers' Bill of Rights? Why is it important to you?
DAVEY: The Law Enforcement Officers' Bill of Rights has been around since 1974.
[16:45:02] Basically, it was designed originally to protect chiefs from just simply saying, "You know what, I don't want you working here anymore, you're fired," without any due process.
Over the years, it has developed into a set of laws that do not prevent police agencies from taking discipline against officers or terminating them for misconduct. What it does is set up a due process system for police officers in which they're entitled to based on their job.
There's been a lot of talk that, well, the 10 day notice requirement prevents us from doing anything quickly, which is simply not true. I can tell you from my experience of representing members of this lodge, a simple discourtesy case in the Baltimore Police Department Internal Affairs can take 10 months to investigate. In any investigation, the law enforcement officer, or the accused officer, is generally the last person to be interviewed. That's just the way it works.
The 10 days, I don't know, in my 16 years, of any case where a police agency needed or wanted to take a statement prior to that 10 days. I think a lot of individuals don't understand the law. I think a lot of individuals look at it as a way to block discipline. And that is simply not the process.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But they say outside agencies are not able to -- it's police investigating police, is what they say, with this law, is that correct?
DAVEY: Well, basically, on an internal matter, the law states that the investigator, the person doing the investigation has to be a sworn law enforcement officer. It doesn't say it has to be from the state agency.
And I represent a lot of smaller agencies where all of their internal investigations are done by outside agencies.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One other thing that people say about the Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights, if they know about it before, which they may or may not, but they've heard about the 10 days and they liken it to what might happen in their community if they did something similar. And they say, look, if I did that, I'd be in central booking and whereas in the case of an officer, that's just not how the investigation works.
DAVEY: But again, we're talking about somebody saying they're in central booking. That means it's a criminal investigation. The law enforcement officer at that point would not even be in place. So it has nothing to do with the criminal side of what's occurring, either in that case or the case we're here for today.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The other thing that they talked about, too, was the lack of medical attention for Mr. Gray.
Can you enlighten us on any reason why there was not a call made earlier (INAUDIBLE)? DAVEY: I -- I don't have all the facts. And I don't want to speculate as to what was said. I've heard -- because we're not doing the investigation, I don't know all of the facts that the investigators have been provided by either outside witnesses. So I can't comment on that as to whether he did or did not request medical assistance.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can we revisit your point where you mentioned the mayor and the rhetoric surrounding the Bill of Rights law.
If I'm hearing you correctly, the union is not very happy with the way the officers involved in this case have been presented to the public. And you're blaming the mayor, in part, because of the way she's referred to the Bill of Rights.
Is that right?
DAVEY: What I'm concerned about is that the mayor is using the Bill of Rights as a way -- as a way -- as a way to involve the Bill of Rights in a case that it's not involved in. There was a lot of bills in the legislature this year in an attempt to weaken or the laws under the LAOBR and they all failed.
What I don't want to see is now this investigation, as tragic as the incident is, be blamed, or the lack of investigation or the lack of evidence be blamed on a set of laws that simply are not relevant to this case.
And that's what -- when the mayor gets on TV, or anyone gets on TV, including Mr. Murphy, and says, well, it's the LAOBR, they either factually don't understand the LAOBR or they just don't want to understand the LAOBR.
As it pertains to the misstatements that have been made in the past, as late as today, coming from the administration, that the officers didn't cooperate or they didn't give statements, that's simply not an accurate statement in any way. And I don't understand why individuals would continue to make that statement when it's not true.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you believe that -- that other cases that are happening outside of Baltimore, that are happening nationally, have played a role, in the sense of the community rushing to judgment, rushing to a point where it is -- you know, they're seeing what's happening, they're looking, you know, at their TV screens and seeing what's happening on Twitter and whatever, they're looking await other cases that have happened in the past years, sort of witnessing -- they're rushing to that judgment rather than seeing the specifics in this case?
DAVEY: I think the public opinion, as it pertains to police work right now, is obviously somewhat negative. This is a tragic incident. Someone lost their life. We totally understand that.
I understand the protests.
Do I think that what happened in New York and in Ferguson, Missouri have an impact on how things are playing here?
[16:50:05] I do.
How much, I don't know.
But I clearly think the sentiment in -- of the citizens, whether it be in Baltimore, New York, Philadelphia -- is pretty much the same, that police officers are overstepping their bounds.
And unfortunately, this is a case that came up. And it happened to happen in Baltimore. And now we're having to deal with it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you think any of the six officers committed a crime that day?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Unequivocally.
And what makes you say that?
DAVEY: Based on the information that I know, no.
RYAN: And I think it's important to understand that the union is 100 percent completely behind the officers, also. You know, they still have their constitutional right to have their day in court. And I wish everybody would just slow down a little and let the investigation take its course. Once the facts and the evidence are found and it's completed, it will move on so the state's attorney's office can do their investigation. The commissioner has appointed an independent committee to where they're going to do their investigation. And the DOJ is going to do a fair and impartial investigation of their own.
The truth will come out. And then moving forward, then we can decide which way we're going to go. And I have faith in State's Attorney Mosby that once she gets all the facts into evidence, she will make a strong, tough decision. She's a very intelligent and capable attorney.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're asking the protesters, though, to basically wait for the facts to come out. And that's fair enough.
But then you're just asked do you any officers committed -- I think the question was committed a crime (INAUDIBLE)?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- something?
And you unequivocally said no. Fair enough.
So why -- why do you have facts they don't have?
I guess you must.
Is that the case? RYAN: I think I do, yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And if I was to take this statement down to the protests that's going to be later tonight and show that to them, they're probably going to -- the word lynch mob is probably going to jump out at them.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What should I tell them?
RYAN: There again, my intention wasn't -- maybe I should reword that. I don't want it to turn into a lynch mob, because when you're trying to put somebody in jail before all the facts are in and the investigation hasn't been completed, I mean that's wrong. I mean let the investigation -- and it's an ongoing investigation. That's why a lot of information is not coming out, because it would jeopardize the integrity of the investigation.
So our procedures and policy is we don't give out information until everything is complete.
I'm just -- that's all I'm asking. Maybe I need to reword that, because I wasn't trying to -- I'm not sighing they did anything wrong. I actually complimented them. I just don't want it to turn into something ugly. That's what my intention was.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you nervous, though, that by saying that, the officers that all right standing there behind the barriers might be in danger because you...
RYAN: Well, I'm not nervous, number one.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- danger...
RYAN: I'm just hot. (INAUDIBLE) that's why I'm sweating. I'm always hot.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, but do you see -- do you worry that it might incite anger in the crowd that could lead to something else?
RYAN: I'm afraid of the crowd becoming hostile, number one. That's what I was trying to point out.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But, sir, why are you afraid...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- with a demographic that's 68 percent African- American in Baltimore.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And that's not really going to sit well with a lot of the people that are out there.
Do you understand that connotation?
RYAN: Well, that was never my intention
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, I know. I know it isn't. But I'm just saying, you understand that connotation in a statement like this?
RYAN: Well, I also got a lot of positive things about the protesters. They have been very peaceful to this point. My main concern is for the public and the police officers, that they remain peaceful and exercise their constitutional right to do what they're doing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But, sir, why do you think they may become (INAUDIBLE) you feared that they may become, what, violent?
Why do you...
RYAN: Because of what happened in Ferguson. I mean this -- the one reporter here brought that up, do I think it's affecting what -- police work nationwide?
It has affected everyone. That -- it all started in Ferguson to New York. And I think it's important to realize or keep in mind, Baltimore is nothing like Ferguson or New York. I mean obviously, because our protesters are being peaceful.
My concern is when you're trying to put somebody in jail and there's no criminal charges, the investigation is not complete, it's completely unfair. They're judging him. He's being tried, convicted and sentenced in the media.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, how would you characterize what you've seen, in terms of the image -- here's your opportunity, I guess, to rephrase it or whatever.
You've seen the images of the protests.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Characterize the images you've seen for us.
RYAN: Most of the protesters have been fine, as far as I've seen. And I haven't been physically out there. I've seen it on television.
But some of the statements given by some -- a few of the people interviewed, I am afraid that would create hostility in the crowd toward police officers. And believe me, that's the last thing I want.
We need to work together, the community and the police department and the mayor's office, to make sure this doesn't get into a hostile situation and doesn't explode like Ferguson did.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Back to the original incident. It was defined in -- it was defined as a high crime area...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, sir.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Gilmore Homes. So you say they didn't need probable cause to make an arrest, they only needed...
[16:55:10] DAVEY: Reasonable suspicion to make the stop.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What was -- what was the reasonable suspicion that they had to make a stop initially?
DAVEY: Reasonable suspicion can be defined based on case law, that if an individual is in a high crime area and he or she runs from the police unprovoked, that is considered reasonable suspicion, which gives the police the authority to pursue that individual and detain him and conduct an investigation.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And you're pretty sure that those officers knew that at the time, (INAUDIBLE) versed in that (INAUDIBLE)?
DAVEY: They were working the hot spot area. They're very versed in what they can and cannot do.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And when you see the video, tell me what do you see when you look at that video?
DAVEY: I see an individual who is handcuffed, who is being detained on the ground, waiting for the wagon, I would presume. As he's going to the wagon, he is not walking. He's placed at the wagon. He stands up on the bumper to get into the wagon. He seems to be standing on his own free will. He's turning his head, looking back toward where the crowd was and screaming.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And like the fact that you said that you've talked to the officers and you don't believe, in their statements, they -- that he was seat belted or slash secured in the van, does that concern you with this investigation going forward?
DAVEY: From a criminal aspect?
I don't -- my personal opinion, I don't. From a civil aspect, that would be something for another day.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And Michael, you said earlier, unequivocally, that these officers, in your opinion, based on the information that you know...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- are -- haven't done anything wrong?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The information that you know, do they know that?
Do the investigators know that same information? DAVEY: I would hope so.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you mean by that?
DAVEY: I mean I'm not doing their investigation. That's not my job or my role. I would imagine the information that I know they know.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How did you come to the information that you know that makes them unequivocally not guilty?
DAVEY: Because that's my opinion from being a police officer for 20 years and based on my evaluation of the video and my conversations that I've had with the people involved.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, how many people get hurt in these paddy wagons?
And -- I mean would you put (INAUDIBLE) video cameras in the wagons so you could see what was going on (INAUDIBLE)?
DAVEY: That would be up to the department to answer that question.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But how often do people get hurt in there?
RYAN: I'm not sure about their statistics. I can try to out. But we're all for the cameras in the -- in the paddy wagons, because they had -- and my understanding is most of them aren't functional. They have what -- they're in there, but that's just so the driver can watch what's going on in the back.
I'm all for putting cameras in there and recordable. I mean we're -- we're doing the -- we're talking about body wearing cameras and I'm -- I'm for that. The mayor put me on the task force and so we could look into possible issues and what can we do to make it work. I'm all for the body cameras.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So there was a camera back there?
RYAN: That, well, maybe...
RYAN: Right. So they don't record. And the problem is the majority of them aren't -- they're not operating anyway.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They don't work?
RYAN: Right. They don't work.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I asked the mayor this the other day, too, and I'll ask you the same question today.
Do you think they ought to move up this time line of getting the cameras?
She wanted to maybe get a pilot program started in November. I mean by the time that gets going (INAUDIBLE) which ones they want, it could be next summer before it's department wide.
Do you think they ought to speed that up now?
RYAN: Actually, we -- I was on that task force. And I don't think that they should speed up anything. I think it needs to be carefully worked out and -- before it's put in place. And the pilot program, I think, is very important, for the simple fact there's going to be -- this is all brand new. It's all uncharted waters. The bugs need to be worked out of that before we implement over the entire city.
So, no, I think we should take our time and do it properly.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How would you characterize the relationship of the citizens in the city of Baltimore, particularly in high crime areas, with the police departments?
RYAN: I, without a doubt, I think that there's some tension there. And, you know, we have to work together as a -- the police community and the citizens of Baltimore to repair that relationship.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Was it negative beforehand, before this incident?
RYAN: I think there has been some tension for a couple of years, but not on a wide scale, because the majority of our police officers are very professional. They're highly trained, self-motivated. And they do an excellent job, for the most part.
Now, are there some bad apples out there?
I'd be the first to admit we need to improve the relationship between the police department and the community. And I think that needs to start with training, because, quite honestly, I've seen -- I get information, people call in here and it's just like the police officers (INAUDIBLE) talked to us.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I can say, being a current shift commander, that I work in high crime areas. And the majority of the people, they speak to you, they talk to you. Kids speak to you. So it's not everyone in that high crime area where it's just constant tension like that.
[17:00:11] WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM.
We're monitoring a news conference out of Baltimore where an African- American man died in police custody. The president of the police union, the lawyer for the officers involved, they're speaking out right now.
Let's continue to listen.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But most of the tension that we have is with the criminal element. And that's just going to be, because we're the police and they're the criminal element. But there are women who have come out there, hi, Lieutenant, how are you?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What efforts are being made to train these officers in instances that may occur?
RYAN: Well, the commissioner has put in certain things into place to improve community interaction. I mean I don't know moving forward all of the things that he's going to implement. But he's trying to like getting the officers to walk foot a certain amount of time during the shift, to have that (INAUDIBLE) community, to rebuild that trust again.
And I think, certainly, the cameras will help rebuild that trust. But it's not going to be the end all or the be-all. It's just one factor, one tool that will be in our toolbox. And I think that will make -- that will make the community feel somewhat more comfortable.
So then they can see the officers are doing the right thing. I'm -- like I said, I'm all for the cameras, because I think a lot of these false complaints, the officers will be exonerated.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are all these officers from Baltimore or are they from different (INAUDIBLE)?
DAVEY: As far as where they reside or?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, growing up and stuff?
DAVEY: Oh, that I don't know.
RYAN: I don't have that answer, either.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Their background?
RYAN: No, sir.
DAVEY: If that's it, any other questions?
Thank you for your time.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you (INAUDIBLE).
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thanks very much.
RYAN: Hey, the bar is open if anybody would like to...