With the primary election for Baltimore City State’s Attorney less than a year away, the city’s current top prosecutor took to the streets to address the crime rates in the city.
Gregg Bernstein stood amidst a crime-ridden neighborhood in east Baltimore, at the corner of East Preston and Ensor streets at a July 30 news conference held on the grounds of a 2007 homicide. As he spoke, a male spectator stopped to listen and made several comments as Bernstein tried to stop him.
“Can I ask you a question,” he asked Bernstein.
As Bernstein attempted to prohibit him from speaking, the man continued.
“You got murderers walking up and down these streets left and right and y’all ain’t catching a soul,” he said.
“It would be nice if y’all took some of the rookie cops and let them infiltrate these gangs,” he said. “Maybe y’all would be able to catch some of the murderers out here, Baltimore is hell. It’s hell out here, I don’t even come out of the house past 7 p.m. I’m getting ready to go in the house now.”
The man stormed off toward Ensor Street after his impromptu speech. Bernstein continued his news conference, saying that his office looked “to target the worst of the worst, who are continuing to commit these violent offenses.”
In 2007, Melvin Jordan, 32, was gunned down in the east Baltimore neighborhood shortly after he was released from prison for non-payment of child support. He was hanging out with friends celebrating at the time of his death.
The neighborhood of Preston and Ensor streets was formerly known as Crips territory, a gang associated with the color blue. Jordan happened to have on red, which was associated with the Bloods.
“Jordan was brutally shot and killed by Phillip Herrell, 32, and just last week we secured a jury conviction of 1st degree murder in just over an hour of deliberations,” Bernstein told reporters.
Bernstein said Herrell will be sentenced in September, and said his office would ask the courts to sentence Herrell to life in prison.
The news conference, which lasted less than 30 minutes, highlighted recent arrests and prosecutions made since Bernstein has been in office.
“I took office took office in 2011 and promising to aggressively investigate and prosecute the worst of the worst the violent repeat offenders who were preying on our citizens across our cities,” Bernstein said. “We are committed to prosecuting successfully individuals that are committing murder right here on these streets.
“Obviously we have a lot more work to do but we are making progress and we will have more prosecutions and hopefully convictions to announce in the days ahead,” he added. “Like every resident in this city I want fewer crimes.”
The Democratic primary election is scheduled for June 24.