Wicomico County, MD Sheriff Mike Lewis (R), whose officers have been helping with law enforcement duties in Baltimore, claimed that a “stand down” order was given to law enforcement in the city on Wednesday’s “Hannity” on the Fox News Channel.
Lewis said that while was “never addressed” by either Baltimore’s mayor or police commissioner, “I was told by a number of senior officers, commanding officers, who were delegated authority throughout the city, that we had orders to stand down, that orders had been given to stand down. And there were many, many Baltimore city police officers — I was assigned to police headquarters and City Hall, that whole three-block radius was ours for the entire night. And there were dozens, not a few, but dozens of police officers coming in and out of our barricade, and we talked to many of them. They got out and talked to us. They were worn, they were clearly, clearly worn out, and they were embarrassed. They apologized to us many times for having to come to Baltimore city. They said, ‘we’re embarrassed that our mayor told us to stand down. We’re embarrassed allowed us to get pelted. This is ridiculous.’ I heard people actually saying ‘I’m done, I’m through,’ my heart broke for these guys and girls, it truly did, and there were many, many young and senior officers that made these comments as they came in and out of our barricade. It wasn’t just Mike Lewis that heard this. All my deputies heard this. And we stared at one another in total disbelief that these men and women were sent into harm’s way and told to stand down while multiple felonies, multiple felonies were being committed in their presence.” And “I heard it. I had a Baltimore City Police radio on my person for the two days I was up there, and these guys were going through hell. And all I could hear was ‘retreat or stand down, stand down.’ This was over the radio. I heard it with my own ears. and I couldn’t understand for the life of me what was going on.”
Lewis also said that a report that Freddie Gray was “trying to injure himself,” according to another prisoner in the van, was “consistent with what I heard while in Baltimore city earlier this morning” in conversations with other officers. He also stated that Gray “certainly appears to have been healthy when he got into the van.” And that prisoners “many times” do hurt themselves by banging against things inside police vehicles.
He also criticized President Obama, declaring it was “disgusting and despicable” that he weighed in on other cases before all the evidence was in.
Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett
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