By Sean Yoes, AFRO Baltimore Editor, [email protected]
Last night (March 6), Michael Harrison, the Baltimore Police Department’s (BPD) acting commissioner moved one step closer to becoming the city’s full-time top cop and leading one of the most beleaguered police departments in the nation.
“I am committed to reform,” said Harrision during his confirmation hearing before more than a dozen members of the Baltimore City Council, as well as several community members who spoke for and against his confirmation. Members agreed to move Harrison’s nomination forward to one more council hearing on March 11, where a final vote for or against confirmation will take place. Harrison, who is expected to be confirmed by a significant majority of the City Council would become the BPD’s fifth commissioner since the Uprising in 2015.
He will lead a police department considered to be one of the most corrupt in the country, one still reeling from the last chapter in the saga of the notorious Gun Trace Task Force (GTTF).
This week, a federal grand jury indicted former Baltimore Police Sergeant Keith Allen Gladstone on charges of denying the civil rights of a Baltimore man who was wrongfully charged. Specifically, according to AFRO reporter Stephen Janis, “Gladstone planted a BB gun on the suspect after a member of the GTTF identified only as “WJ.” intentionally struck him with a police vehicle,” wrote Janis in the current issue of the AFRO. It is widely speculated that the “WJ” referred to in the case against Gladstone is Wayne Jenkins, the acknowledged ringleader of the GTTF.
“It was my decision as the executive to make sure we send the right message internally and we send the right message externally to our community that we won’t tolerate that,” said Harrison to local media following the hearing in reference to the Gladstone case.