(Publishers note: This article is meant to focus on the political agenda and not the rank-and-file members of the Baltimore County Police Department.)
The Baltimore Post Took the legal route to get information shortly after our story on the violence that occurred at Tiki Lee’s Dock Bar. The Post felt that the community had a right to know the truth involving the violence that sent one victim to Shock Trauma.
The Post filed a Maryland Public Information Act (MPIA) requesting the 911 tapes and written police reports on June 21. Post reporter Ann Costantino described the often archaic process of how Maryland deals with such Freedom of Information Act requests.
The following quote is especially concerning since is details exactly what Baltimore County’s apparent intentions are in dealing with requests for information that we believe is vital to the public’s knowing how well their government is functioning.
We believe the more information the public has, the better,” says Rebecca Snyder, the executive director of the Maryland, Delaware, D.C. Press Association, a professional membership organization for news agencies. Some government agencies are “dragging it out so long, that (information is) no longer newsworthy,” she said.
The incident at Tiki Lee’s Dock Bar originally took place on May 24, 2019. At that time, social media reports gave a lot of information about the violent incident, including the following photo.
The sad part is the reports from social media were more accurate than the response the Post received from the police administration. In their initial response to the post, there was no information regarding the potential descriptions of the alleged and numerous suspects.
We reached out to the Baltimore County Public Safety Unit numerous times only to be met with the same response of, “We’ll get back to you.” When that information never came forward, we filed our MPIA request to get more details on the extent of the violence that occurred.
Unfortunately, the status quo continues, as evidenced by a Facebook post about the Eastside Town Hall meeting, during which Tiki Lee’s became a focal point of the meeting.
Pay particular attention to the gentleman who spoke on the violence that happened during the opening of the Dock Bar. In the exchange that begins around 1:10 into the meeting, the speaker makes it quite clear that Johnny O has been working closely with the owners of the bar. Also during that exchange, you will notice that Johnny O’s new police chief, Melissa Hyatt, said calm had been restored to the area—that comment was rebuked by the audience.
The entire town hall video can be viewed below. As the idiom goes, “You can run, but you can’t hide.”
As for the promise of Johnny O to provide more transparency into his administration, one particular community member who spoke that evening and waited to speak with Chief Hyatt was disappointed to find the chief made a rather hasty exit.
Like we said, folks—the status quo continues.