Forensics team gather and collect evidence at the scene of a shooting on Conway St. at the intersection of light Street across from Harborplace Thursday, July 7, 2022 in Baltimore. A man was shot and killed after he swung a baseball bat at a person who cleans windshields at intersections for cash, Baltimore's police commissioner said Thursday.(Karl Merton Ferron/The Baltimore Sun via AP)

By Tinashe Chingarande,
Special to the AFRO

The July 7 killing of 48-year-old Timothy Reynolds at a downtown Baltimore intersection has once again inflamed the long-standing debate of how to handle “squeegee boys,” or young men and children who clean car windshields on busy street corners across the city 

Reports from the Baltimore Police Department say that officers were dispatched at 4:38 p.m. to the intersection of Conway and Light Streets where they located Reynolds suffering from gunshot wounds. He was transported to an area hospital and pronounced dead by medical personnel shortly after arrival. 

Police say that a squeegee worker shot Reynolds after he attempted to attack the worker’s group with a baseball bat. Details of what led Reynolds to exit his vehicle weilding a weapon are still unclear.

Police have not made any arrests.

Mayor Brandon Scott issued a statement in which he emphasized that those found complicit in violent crimes will be liable. 

“I want to be very clear – if you are on the streets of Baltimore and endanger the safety of others or turn to violence to solve your problems, we will hold you accountable,” he said. “Regardless of what caused this incident, it is a sad reminder that far too often easily avoidable confrontations escalate into acts of violence.”

The State of Maryland will be offering an $8,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for Reynolds’ murder, according to a statement from Republican Gov. Larry Hogan.  

“The squeegee workers have been a terrible problem for many years, and it hasn’t been addressed by the city,” said Hogan. “It has certainly had a major impact [on] people being afraid to come to the city because they keep getting harassed.”

Though Hogan claims nothing has been done to address squeegee workers harassing drivers in traffic, in November 2021 Scott announced a 90-day Squeegee Action Plan aimed at removing squeegee workers from the streets and connecting them to employment opportunities. 

“Seeing such a large number of young people on corners illustrates our failings as a city,” Scott said in his November 2021 press release. “This practice has been part of Baltimore culture for a long time, growing over the last 20 years to become more widespread, visible, and divisive.”

Scott’s program, which included partnering with the Mayor’s Office of Children and Family Success (MOCFS) and the Mayor’s Office of African American Male Engagement (MOAAME), involved facilitating community conversations between disconnected young people and businesses, and recruiting, training, and deploying traffic control staff to high-traffic intersections to ensure the safety of both youth and motorists, among other propositions.

The plan also outlined that MOFCS would work with local employers to hire disconnected youth and develop a pilot program to provide young people a daily stipend for working day jobs throughout the city.

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