An email sent Sunday from a high-ranking Baltimore police official to the city's entire police department called Black Lives Matter protesters "thugs."
Lt. Victor Gearhart, first vice president of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 3 in Baltimore, was suspended Monday by Police Commissioner Kevin Davis after he learned of the email, the Baltimore Sun reported. T.J. Smith, a Baltimore Police spokesman, said Davis was "outraged" by the note, which is now the subject of an internal investigation, the Sun said.
The email was sent from Gearhart's official Baltimore Police account. A screenshot was posted by ABC2:
Greetings FOP Members,
By now you have seen that the THUGS from BLM and other similar groups have attempted to disrupt the State FOP Convention being held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel. Well today was check-in day with activities spread over the next 3 days so expect more bad behavior from the THUGS OF BALTIMORE. On the bright side maybe they will stop killing each other while they are protesting us.
[image/screenshot of email]
Gearhart also criticized the recent Justice Department report chronicling rampant racism in the Baltimore Police Department and calling for major reforms. "Now DOJ argues that we should drop our guard and approach everyone like we are patrolling Sesame Street," he writes. "In today’s climate of hatred for police I would keep your Black Mourning Bands close by and available."
The full email was posted by radio station WOLB. It was sent in advance of a protest of the Maryland Fraternal Order of Police Convention at a downtown hotel. The protest was peaceful, the Sun reported. Approximately 11 people were arrested for trespassing.
According to the Sun, this isn't the first time Gearhart has called protesters "thugs" and been disciplined for it. In December, using the Twitter handle @SDGhostRider, Gearhart wrote, "THUGS always act like THUGS" and "demonstrators act like animals." He also at one point suggested that both State's Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby, who brought charges against Baltimore officers in the death of Freddie Gray, and her husband, City Councilman Nick Mosby, should be "deported" from the country.
He was reassigned from patrol to building security.
Rob covers business, economics and the environment for Fusion. He previously worked at Business Insider. He grew up in Chicago.