Two Baltimore police officers have stepped forward for an anonymous interview with CNN Wednesday to provide their thoughts regarding a stark rise in gun violence that is currently plaguing the city.
Speaking to CNN’s Brooke Baldwin, the officers revealed that Baltimore police were in “reactionary mode” since riots and protests incited national criticism of the department over the death of Freddie Gray.
The officers, speaking through voice altering technology, claim the “police slowdown” is the direct result of a lack of city and community support in recent months. Law enforcement is still responding to emergency requests, the officers maintain, but they’ve retreated from the active policing practices meant to deter gang violence.
Watch the full CNN report and interview below:
“The criminal element feels as though that we’re not going to run the risk of chasing them if they are armed with a gun,” one of the officers told Baldwin. “And they’re using this opportunity to settle old beefs, or scores, with people that they have conflict with […] I think the public really, really sees that they asked for a softer, less aggressive police department, and we have given them that, and now they are realizing that their way of thinking does not work.”
The officers wouldn’t say if the “reactionary mode” had become the official policy of the Baltimore Police Department. To determine if all police officers are using this tactic is also a bit tricky.