|(L) Anthony Batts (R) Stephanie Rawlings-Blake|
Rawlings-Blake thanked Police Commissioner Anthony Batts for his service — and praised the job he had done — but said growing criticism of his leadership had become a "distraction" that was preventing the city from moving ahead.
Deputy Police Commissioner Kevin Davis, who has only been with the department since January, will serve as interim commissioner, Rawlings-Blake said.
"We need a change," the mayor told a news conference, which was attended by Davis by her side. "This was not an easy decision but it is one that is in the best interest of Baltimore. The people of Baltimore deserve better and we're going to get better."
Following the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody, Rawlings-Blake gave a fiery speech that included a promise she would not tolerate police misconduct.
Former commissioner Batts has been under fire for his handling of the protests surrounding the Freddie Gray death, and a surge of violence in Baltimore some equate to relaxed policing.