- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 28, 2015

Sheriff Mike Lewis of Wicomico County, Maryland, said the Baltimore Police Department has been “eviscerated” and police officers are fearful to do their jobs in the city rocked by violence following the death of Freddie Gray.

“The Baltimore City Police Department, the officers particularly on the street, have been eviscerated, they’ve been disemboweled, their guts removed to have the courage to go out there and do this job,” Mr. Lewis told Fox News’ Sean Hannity on Wednesday.

“They’re very fearful that if they go out there and be proactive, which we all should be doing in law enforcement today, we can’t afford to be reactive, especially in urban areas. Those officers are no longer being proactive, and as you see, the violence has surged,” he said. “And I hope this is a shot fired across the bow of mayors and urban leaders across this country. Once you disembowel your law enforcement officers, then you cannot no longer expect them to go out there and protect you, or protect your communities.

“This is very troubling the worst I’ve ever seen in 31 years of law enforcement,” the sheriff added. “I’m hearing it all the time. They’re [police officers] fearful at doing their jobs.”

Baltimore has seen 36 homicides so far this month, the highest homicide count for May since 1999, but arrests have plunged more than 50 percent compared to last year, according to the Associated Press.

Police Commissioner Anthony Batts said last week that his officers “are not holding back” from policing tough neighborhoods, but they are encountering dangerous hostility in the Western District.

“Our officers tell me that when officers pull up, they have 30 to 50 people surrounding them at any time,” Commissioner Batts said.

• Jessica Chasmar can be reached at jchasmar@washingtontimes.com.

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