Back on April 27 in the wake of unrest surrounding Freddie Gray’s death while in police custody, Baltimore Police announced there was a “credible threat” that the Bloods, Crips and Black Guerrilla Family had joined forces to target officers. But according recent reports, other law enforcement agencies couldn’t verify the claim in the hours after it was made.
When the FBI’s Baltimore division investigated the claim they quickly found that it had zero credibility, and city leaders want to know why it was made in the first place.
Writing in an email to police Commissioner Anthony W. Batts this Thursday, City Councilman Brandon Scott said that if reports that the FBI discredited the claim were true, “it is extremely unacceptable and put the lives of citizens, officers and others in danger.”
“Falsifying a threat of this magnitude during a highly tense time should result in the strongest penalty possible,” Scott wrote. “If we are going to repair our city, this kind of behavior cannot be tolerated.”
From The Baltimore Sun:
Shayne Buchwald, an FBI spokeswoman, said Thursday that agents interviewed their gang sources at the request of Baltimore police and were unable to corroborate the threat.
Neighboring Baltimore County police also told their officers that day that the threat was “uncorroborated,” according to internal police emails obtained this week by The Sun under the Maryland Public Information Act.
In an to officers sent at 4:12 p.m. April 27, Lt. Matthew Gorman wrote that the city “identifies very nonspecific information about a retaliatory threat towards Law Enforcement after today’s funeral for Freddy Gray.”
“Circumstances regarding the source of information and its veracity are still being evaluated,” he wrote.
“Baltimore County Intel is communicating with our counterparts in Baltimore City and at this time the below/attached information is uncorroborated. As we work to confirm or dispel the alleged threat please use caution and forward any related information to the Intelligence Unit.”
In a report from VICE this week, documents released by the Department of Homeland Security showed that the FBI had interviewed the Baltimore police’s source and found no credibility to the threat.
From The Sun:
Federal investigators also moved quickly to assess the threat, according to the documents released to Vice News, a New York-based news outlet. An official at the Maryland Coordination and Analysis Center, a clearinghouse for police information, wrote at 1:38 p.m. that day that the meaning of “credible” in the Baltimore police response was not clear.
It more likely meant that gangs could plausibly attack an officer rather than that the police had specific information, the official wrote. In an email at 5:16 p.m., another official wrote that the FBI officer in Baltimore had interviewed the city Police Department’s source and determined the “threat to be non-credible.”