Baltimore police issue official response to Select Lounge commission

March 15, 2012|By Peter Hermann

The Baltimore Police Department on Thursday released its official, written response to concerns raised by an independent panel that investigated the January 2011 shooting outside Select Lounge in which a plainclothes officer was shot and killed by four of his colleagues.

The 102-page report spells out changes and reforms that Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III promised in November, such as better training and prohibiting officers not in uniform from responding to unruly crowds.

The reported faulted the department for lack of command at the scene. Police wrote this introduction:

The tragic police-involved shooting at the Select Lounge on January 9, 2011 represents a historical and challenging point in the history of the Baltimore Police Department. The circumstances of this event have challenged the Department to critically examine its internal structure and find the necessary solutions to prevent a recurrence of this incident. In addition to implementing the recommendations ... the BPD has used the tragedy at the Select Lounge as a catalyst for a major cultural change that emphasizes professionalism within the Department.

The shootings claimed the life of Officer Willam H. Torbit Jr., who was shot repeatedly by four fellow officers who misstook him for a citizen. At the time, Torbitt was fatally shooting another man who was on top of him in a scuffle. At least three other bystanders were wounded.

The report says the police are working on new ways to oversee large nightclub venues, which could include new legislation, and is implementing ways to track incidents at bars and other nightspots that have in the past led to trouble.

Read the entire report here.

Read Baltimore Sun's complete coverage of Select Loung shooting.

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