The City Speaks
What do you think when you hear, "Baltimore police"? Baltimoreans tell us.
  • Kevin Williams


    “...make sure the police are working for the good of the citizens...”

  • Andre Bryant



  • Ann Gordont


    “A long history of racism…”

  • Bryan Atkins

    West Baltimore

    “I just don’t have any faith in them.”

  • Curtis Loggins

    Carrollton Ridge

    “Baltimore Police, they cool.”

  • Donell Gamble

    West Baltimore

    “You’re never treated fair.”

  • Earl Andrews

    Northeast Baltimore

    “I have been on the receiving end...”

  • Eli Antoine

    Towson Area

    “I want to avoid them.”

  • Jennifer Hamilton


    “They are underresourced.”

  • Jessye Grieve-Carlson

    Charles Village

    “When slaves were beginning to be freed...”

  • Kara Tyler

    Belvedere Square

    “...I’m concerned about the racism...”

  • Terrence Briscoe



  • Tyashia McCall

    Baltimore County

    “’s the police’s word against a black young man’s...”

  • Yeshiyah Israel

    Park Heights

    “Security and safety.”

  • Charles Offutt

    Rockville, MD


  • Jean Lloyd

    Broadway East


  • Lakia Phillips

    Northeast Baltimore

    “They’re not really protecting as much as they should.”

The Problem
Poor data collection and community distrust stand between the department and the necessary reforms

Unreliable police data obscures tracking of racial profiling

Do Maryland police target minorities? The data should tell us, but it can't.

How We Got Here
A history of the Baltimore Police Department and the city's black community

  • A Baltimore police officer kills a black serviceman, sparking protests over police brutality. The backlash led to the appointment of the city’s first black officers.

  • A 600-page report from the International Association of Chiefs of Police condemns the Baltimore police for poor management, discriminatory practices and internal corruption.

  • Riots erupt in the majority-black neighborhoods of Baltimore after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.

  • Black officers in the Baltimore Police Department create the Vanguard Justice Society to advocate for minority officers’ rights. The society wins a lawsuit against the city seven years later over discriminatory practices, and minorities are hired and promoted as a result.

  • Bishop L. Robinson is appointed Baltimore's police commissioner, the first African-American named to the job.

  • Kurt L. Schmoke becomes the first black candidate elected mayor and brings community policing to the city’s police department.

  • Baltimore removes residency requirements for officers. By 2015, only 21 percent of the force will live in the city, with others residing in neighboring counties or states.

  • Martin O’Malley is elected mayor of Baltimore and brings data-driven decision-making to the police department. The department tracks crimes and officers’ arrests and operates under a “broken window policy” of going after minor crimes to stave off major ones.

  • Baltimore police ranks fall below 3,500 for the first time since the data were first collected in 1995.

  • Tyrone West dies after a struggle with police during a traffic stop in Northeast Baltimore. The family settled a wrongful-death lawsuit four years later for $1 million.

  • Freddie Gray dies from spinal cord injuries incurred a week earlier while riding in a police van after his arrest. On the day of his funeral, a riot erupted in the streets near his home. Six officers involved in his arrest and transport were charged, but all were acquitted or had charges dropped.

  • Homicides in Baltimore surpass 300 in a year for the first time since 1998.

  • The Department of Justice releases a 164-page report detailing “a pattern or practice of conduct that violates the U.S. Constitution and its laws” and discrimination against black civilians.

  • The City of Baltimore and the Department of Justice formally enter into a consent decree to reform the police department and address the discriminatory and unconstitutional practices detailed in the 2016 Justice report.
This project was made possible by the support of the University of Maryland's Mpowering the State initiative, a research partnership between the University of Maryland, College Park, and the University of Maryland, Baltimore.