Baltimore City Mayor Brandon Scott and Acting Baltimore Police Department Commissioner Richard Worley are hosting a series of community meetings to discuss public safety concerns and Worley’s confirmation. The meetings have been held in person and via telephone and virtual offerings.

By Aria Brent 
AFRO Staff Writer 

On Aug. 22 Mayor Brandon M. Scott and acting police commissioner Richard Worley held the fourth community engagement meeting at Shake and Bake Family Fun Center. Throughout the meeting members of the community were able to bring the issues they are most concerned about to the attention of Scott and Worley. 

“Making Baltimore the safest version of itself is going to take every single one of us getting involved in our community and discussing the ways forward and really deeply engaging with one another,” stated Scott during his welcoming remarks. 

Matters such as the enforcement of curfews, the Squeegee Collaborative, racial profiling by police and neighborhood safety were brought up during the 90 minute town hall. Residents questioned wrongful arrests and police corruption. They also asked why Baltimore Police Department officers often sit back and watch open air drug markets around the city.

“Making Baltimore the safest version of itself is going to take every single one of us getting involved in our community and discussing the ways forward and really deeply engaging with one another.”

“Mr. Worley, what are you going to do to help Black men like me have trust in people in departments like yours?,” questioned Bolon Zahir Xi Amaru, formerly known as Reynard Parks. “I work with kids ages nine to 15 in this neighborhood every day. I have over 100 videos on my phone of your police watching these people commit crimes.” 

The crowd applauded as Amaru pleaded his case and questioned the two community leaders. 

“ getting our officers out of the cars, getting them on their feet into schools to start to learn and make relationships with the young people,” explained Worley. “No one should have to sit and watch anybody sell drugs– our job is to address it. We can address it now and we will address it.”

During the meeting there were many other complaints from citizens sharing similar sentiments and wanting solutions to the problems that are plaguing their neighborhood. 

Shortly after Amaru, Sean Weston took the mic and shared the problems he’s been dealing with, attributing many of them to Councilwoman Sharon G. Middleton. 

“I own the Stonepit Bar and Grill which I have been trying to get open for the last four years,” explained Weston. “Since those four years I’ve had several other ethnic groups come in and open up businesses in my community and I have not been able to open up the Stonepit Grill as of yet.”

Mayor Scott was able to refer citizens to a series of community resources, organizations and initiatives that are taking place to help address the issues in the Pennsylvania Avenue area. When the topic of loitering, littering and drug activity were brought up, he mentioned the work that is being done by the community and noted that these particular issues are going to require more personal responsibility from those in the neighborhood. 

“We actually partnered and are working with the folks in the area to make this a clean core community,” Scott explained. ”We’re paying people– some of the reentering citizens– to get out there and clean. If we’re going to continue doing that we’re going to need a lot more help in doing that.”

“We also have to have a little bit more self responsibility for us in the community. I know after talking to some of the folks here who go out and participate in these cleanups that they get frustrated that after they clean up all this trash, people come and just dump trash right next to the place that they just cleaned,” said Scott. 

Worley is currently only acting as police commissioner and hasn’t been officially sworn in yet. Ahead of the community meeting, the mayor spoke on what  residents can do if they disagree with Worley becoming the next commissioner.

“We talked to thousands of residents in the City of Baltimore prior to the city council making a decision whether he’s going to come to me to be sworn in,” said Scott. “This is why they elected those individuals–to make those decisions. That’s how this process is going to work and we’ll see how that goes.”

 If residents are not in agreement with Worley officially taking on the role of BPD commissioner, they should reach out to their council member. 

To find information on who your council member is, please visit

The next community meeting will be held on Aug. 24 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the National Federation of the Blind located at 200 E. Wells Street, Baltimore, MD 21230.