By Tashi McQueen,
AFRO Political Writer,
Despite opposition, Richard Worley and James Wallace were sworn in as Baltimore’s new police commissioner and fire chief, respectively, by Mayor Brandon M. Scott on Oct. 5.
“Together, they understand that public safety is a collective effort that requires collaboration directly with residents, community organizations, and amongst agencies in government,” said Scott at the ceremony. “Our city is lucky to have both of them and I am proud to be able to make this official for them today.”
Throughout Commissioner Worley’s acting role with the Baltimore Police Department (BPD), he faced several high-profile incidents and issues that drew protests during his city council confirmation on Oct. 2.
“Thank you, Mayor Scott, for even nominating and sticking with me. We’ve had a rough couple of months,” said Worley.
Worley had to answer for the Brooklyn Homes mass shooting in July and publicly admitted fault for how BPD handled the issue. People were also upset about how BPD decided to withhold information and a photo of Jason Billingsley, the chief suspect in the assault and murder of Baltimore CEO Pava LaPere, and how he characterized victims of an arson, rape and attempted murder incident on Edmondson Avenue for which Billingsley is also the main suspect.
Worley seemed to suggest that the victims deserved what happened to them, and he later apologized for this statement during a press conference on Oct. 4.
“The comments that I made were victim blaming – I misspoke,” said Worley. “The last thing I ever want to do is blame the victim. No victim is ever at fault for a crime committed against them. I apologize to the victims.”
Councilwoman Phylicia Porter (D-District 10), the sole no-vote from the city council, recommended that residents go to their council members with any concerns they may have with the commissioner or BPD.