Baltimore - Email Trail Shines Spotlight On Bureaucratic Run-Around For Baltimore Shomrim During April Curfew
Baltimore, MD - A recently released trail of emails reveals the confusing run-around beset upon members of the Baltimore Jewish community volunteer patrol groups Shomrim and Chaverim as they attempted to serve fellow residents during the April curfews which shut down the riot-torn city.
BALTIMORESUN.com (http://bsun.md/1DLwY8U) reports that the series of emails—-which chronicle the frustrating attempts by Cheswolde Neighborhood Association president Nathan Willner to obtain written permission for the groups to continue nightly patrols—-expose a disappointing pattern of bureaucratic “pass-the-buck” during a period of increased calls for assurance of safety within the Jewish community.
At the heart of the matter is Willner simply asking for a written version of the verbal exemption for Shomrim and Chaverim Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake issued immediately following her announcement of the 10 p.m. curfews on April 28.
What followed was a 24-hour period of confusion and indecision between reps for the Mayor’s office and law enforcement officials as to how to handle the exemptions, while in the meantime leaving the Jewish community volunteer groups hanging in the balance, not sure as to whether or not they could even provide their nightly patrols.
Having failed to get a response to an hours-earlier April 28 request from Mayor Rawlings-Blake’s Northwest Neighborhood Liaison, Susannah Feinstein, for written confirmation of a Jewish volunteer exemption, Willner fires off an email at 9:08 p.m.—-less than an hour before curfew is in effect—-to Rawlings-Blake’s chief of staff Kaliope Parthemos, reminding her of the critical time frame and requesting written confirmation.
“We would like to keep the community at ease knowing that these response organizations are available to assist if needed,” Willner wrote.
Feinstein finally emailed Willner back the following morning, telling him to “reach out to the police” for an answer to his request, after which Willner then emailed Rawlings-Blake spokesman Howard Lit, suggesting that Feinstein was “passing the buck” and pointing out that his concerns were “not a police issue, the executive order came from the Mayor, so the directive to allow these groups an exemption has to come from the Mayor’s office as well.”
Lit wrote back, asking if Willner has a Baltimore PD “liaison” that Shomrim and Chaverim collaborate with “on a regular basis.”
Willner then fires back telling Lit how former police commissioner Anthony Batts failed to install clear contact procedures for the Jewish volunteer groups, despite his promise to, and that the Jewish community has no clear go-to person at the PD.
Willner also reminds Lit of the “extreme cooperation” from the Jewish community and its rabbis in adhering to the curfew, and how its Rabbis “will not feel comfortable to advise people to intentionally break from the Mayor’s orders.”
An hour later, Lit finally responds with bad news for Willner in that, following correspondence with the City Solicitor and the Baltimore PD’s legal affairs office, “they have made a decision not to [issue] written exceptions to this policy.”
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