• City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
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City Council Minutes

May 9, 2005

The City Council met in regular session on Monday, May 9, 2005 Council Chambers. A quorum being present, Mayor Cleveland L. Rippons called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. Those Commissioners in attendance were Commissioners Knox, Cephas, Brooks, and Travers.

Ed Kinnamon led in the Lord's Prayer. Mayor Rippons asked everyone to honor Commissioner Edward E. Watkins, who passed away on April 29, 2005, with a moment of silence. Commissioner Travers led in the Pledge of Allegiance. Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the minutes of the April 25, 2005 Council meeting as distributed. Commissioner Cephas seconded the motion. The motion was passed unanimously. 

APPOINTMENTS

Proclamation for Relay for Life-Ed Kinnamon read the proclamation. Mayor Rippons signed it and presented it to Gail Skinner. Mrs. Skinner thanked the community for their support. Last year they raised over $152,000 for the American Cancer Society and were recognized in the top ten for our population group which was an average of $4.55 per person in Dorchester County.

Gail Skinner Representing Relay for Life to Request Variance from the Noise Ordinance for Friday, June 10 and Saturday, June 11 at the Cambridge South Dorchester High School Track-Gail Skinner announced that the survivor reception starts at 5:00 pm. The opening ceremonies start at 6:00 pm. Weather permitting, they will be at the school overnight until about 10:00 am Saturday morning. Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the request. Commissioner Knox seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0. Mayor Rippons extended the Council's well wishes to the entire group for their concerted efforts. Gail Skinner thanked the Council for their support each year.

Proclamation for Safe Boating Week-Ed Kinnamon read the proclamation. Mayor Rippons signed it and presented it to Bob Hammerton. Mr. Hammerton reminded everyone that safe boating should take place every time people get on a boat.

UNFINISHED BUSINESS

Debbie Ellis (5330 Bucktown Road) Request for Approval for Temporary Connection to Sanitary District No. 4-Dennis Lednum spoke on behalf of Debbie Ellis. Mr. Lednum said they spoke with Mr. Herbert at the Sanitary District. He informed them that Doty Sewer and Plumbing does a lot of work for them. In their opinion, the most feasible way is to go under Bucktown Road to the sanitary lines. This will cost $7,005. Rob Collison said he doesn't see any legal problems with this because they are in the city. The property owner will be incurring substantial expense without any guarantee of any offset in city taxes. Currently they are receiving a reduction because there are not any city services in the area. Once it is extended out there, they may or may not, depending on what Council decides, grant any reduction. Mr. Lednum asked for assistance with the expense because they were told last year that they would have water and sewer within a year. They started building the house which is nearing completion. Rob Collison said this would be a dangerous precedence to set. He doesn't think there was any guarantee as to the time schedule. Mayor Rippons said it is on schedule to be completed by the end of the year. David Pritchett said a year was an estimate. There is never a guarantee when you have a main line installed in a certain amount of time. With some changes and some activity out there, it was delayed. Rob Collison said they would have to take that portion of it under advisement. Mr. Lednum said they paid all the permit fees, impact fees, and sewer tap fees for a house they cannot use. He asked if it is possible for these fees to be reimbursed to them. Mayor Rippons said anybody who connects to the line will have to pay the impact fee. Commissioner Cephas said he feels bad about this. He was not on Council when Mr. Lednum was promised that they would be able to connect within that period of time. Two week ago, Commissioner Travers told them they could hook into his daughter's line for $250. Now it is a completely different story and he doesn't think it is fair. The Council should live up to their commitments. The expenses are unexpected. He strongly encourages the Council to waive the fees. Mr. Lednum said the cost to connect to the other property was not feasible. They would have to run the pipe over a quarter of a mile. Debbie Ellis said twice she came to Council meetings and had been told at Public Works that it would be two years before the city would have the water and sewer lines installed. When she came to the Council meetings, someone told her it would only be about a year. Now they are talking about 18 more months. Mayor Rippons said David Pritchett said it would be 18 months from the time she first came to Council. The job will be completed in December 2005. Ms. Ellis said that is not what she was told by several people in Public Works several weeks ago. David Pritchett said George Hyde has told him that it will be done by the end of this year. Commissioner Brooks asked if he is guaranteeing that everything will be completed in December. David Pritchett said it is a goal; he doesn't ever guarantee a project. Commissioner Brooks made a motion to reimburse 50 percent of the impact fees. Commissioner Cephas said he has something to discuss and asked Commissioner Brooks if she would rescind her motion. Commissioner Brooks rescinded her motion. Commissioner Cephas asked the total fees including impact fees. Mr. Lednum said they paid the city $6,488.05 for the building permit fee, impact fee, and sewer and water tap fee which are required to get a building permit. They are now looking at $7,005 for the hook-up fee. They are looking at paying the difference and the city reimbursing them $6,488.05. David Pritchett said he hopes Mr. Lednum will recall how very tense he was about them starting this home so early. Regardless of what plans were, there was no sewer. He agreed to not hold up the permit if that is what benefited them the most. There is no way to say within a year they would have gone to bid. That changed with the time frame of the cancellation of the next motel unit going out there. That was what was expediting running the size line they needed. Now it has been re-engineered. There were a lot of changes that happened as a result of that. Commissioner Knox said there are citizens in the city using the sanitary district lines. He asked if they should look at the possibility of not issuing any building permits within the extended boundaries of the city unless proper city services are available. David Pritchett said as a result of this issue, he will not issue any more permits in cases like this. Mayor Rippons asked if there was a used grinder pump so Ms. Ellis would not have to buy a new one. They will not need one when the city sewer line is run. Mr. Lednum said the house will be ready in two weeks. Ms. Ellis said at the first meeting she attended, someone told her it would be ready in a year. The said the same thing at the next meeting. She was not rushing anybody. David Pritchett said Ms. Ellis spoke to George Hyde. Rob Collison said it may be a savings if they are already hooked up through the Sanitary District, that the city may not extend its line on their side of Southside Avenue since that is the only property at this time. The cost was going to be about $3,500 per individual home for the sewer extension. They paid $7,500. Council may wish to reimburse $3,500 and then not extend the city sewer that far and let them continue with the system they are about to install rather than disconnect. Commissioner Travers said his daughter and her husband spent $15,000 to hook-up to the sewer. Nothing was spent by the sanitary district. Ms. Ellis said the difference is that she had a building permit in the city limits. Council voted to only charge $250 per year. His daughter received a bill for $750. Mayor Rippons asked Rob Collison to schedule an expedited meeting with the sanitary district. Mayor Rippons asked for two weeks to remedy this situation. Rob Collison said it appears Council has no problem with allowing them to connect. The only issue is the reimbursement. Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the request to allow Ms. Ellis to connect to the Sanitary District No. 4. Commissioner Knox seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0. Commissioner Brooks said she is in favor of reimbursing them 50 percent of the impact fees, if not all of the impact fees. However, the majority of the Council wants to wait two weeks.

NEW BUSINESS

Request from Dorchester Arts Center, Inc. for Permission to Hold Dorchester Showcase on Sunday, September 25, 2005. Request to Close High Street from Court Lane to Long Wharf Between 11:00 am and 6:00 pm; a Noise Variance for Those Hours; Request to Hang Banner Across Race Street- Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the request. Commissioner Cephas seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0.

Request from Carolyn Pinder for a Noise Variance for July 23, 2005 from 3:00 pm Until 9:00 pm at Great Marsh Park for a Wedding-Commissioner Cephas made a motion to approve the request. Commissioner Brooks seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0.

Approve Budget Amendment for Cambridge Police Department-Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the request. Commissioner Cephas seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0.

ADDITIONAL ITEMS

Mayor Rippons said Council received a request from Cambridge Main Street to approve a noise variance for six community events that will happen over the next eight months. Commissioner Knox made a motion to approve the noise variances. Commissioner Cephas seconded the motion. Rob Collison clarified that the events will be on the second Saturday of each month. The noise variances will be granted for a period extending no later than 10:00 pm on any given evening. The motion was approved 4:0.

Mayor Rippons said David Pritchett provided information about security problems at the Yacht Basin. Commissioner Knox made a motion to allow David Pritchett to obtain estimates for a security system. Commissioner Cephas seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0. David Pritchett said at this point he will just be evaluating the systems.

Mayor Rippons said the Associated Black Charities requested a letter of support. He spoke to Jasmine Taylor today and she will be forwarding information outlining the grant consideration. Commissioner Cephas made a motion to allow Mayor Rippons to forward a letter of support for their grant application. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0.

Mayor Rippons said Chief Jeff Hurley of Rescue Fire Company has asked for an implementation schedule for a 30-day test to enhance response on all boxes except fire boxes.  They would not activate the sirens unless it is requested by the Chief. At the end of the period they will evaluate the response. Commissioner Cephas made a motion to allow Mayor Rippons to contact Steve Williams to move forward with this test period. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0.

David Pritchett said he has reviewed the files to transfer a piece of property to a homeowner on Truman Street. The maps are totally conflicting. They are fine with moving forward; however, it will take some work. He will work with Rob Collison on this.

Commissioner Brooks made a motion to have a closed executive session immediately following this meeting so they can set dates for the special election for Ward 2. Commissioner Cephas seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0.

Commissioner Brooks said as everyone is aware, the past 15 days have brought sadness to our entire community in reference to the violence and the police involved shootings on Henry Street and High Street. Her sympathy and empathy goes out to the families, the police department, and the entire City of Cambridge. This is a time for prayer, unity, and for the city to pull together for the betterment of the city. She extended her help and assistance to all, if needed. She told them to please feel free to call her at 410-221-2929. There are other avenues for the grieving families to take if they feel that justice is not being done. She offered to give them names and telephone numbers.

Commissioner Cephas said he thinks the time has come and gone for someone to express their concerns about the recent rash of incidents within the city. He talked to residents in the city, particularly minorities. He asked them what seemed to be the problem. The majority of the people he spoke to seems to think there is no hope anymore. We look at our city as a city that is moving forward. There is a rush to Cambridge. The people in Wards 2 and 3 feel they have been pushed out or squared in. Developers are purchasing rental property, doing some repairs, and the rent is skyrocketing which pushes the minorities out.  They asked for an African-American Department Head in the city. The city is 51 percent African-American and yet the city doesn't look like what we represent when it comes to certain positions. There are no minority or African-American detectives. He has a report on the crime in the past 10 years and 75 percent is African-Americans. There are unsolved crimes. There may be a reason for some of them in the county, the natural resources, and in the city. When minorities see someone coming to their house that doesn't look like them, they are reluctant to support that individual officer or detective or give needed information out. We need minority detectives in the city-at least two. When he took office, one of his priorities is good paying jobs with good benefits. It has been nine months since he has been in office and he has not been able to get a good paying job to come to this city with decent wages and benefits. A gentleman wanted to build a hotel. He and Commissioner Brooks wanted him to pay his employees wages that were higher than hotels are paying here now. They wanted to pay what other people were paying. Somebody has to take the lead. The teenagers are giving up. Some people are forced to commit crimes. When our kids wake up and look around and take tours and go into certain departments and read in the paper and there is nobody that looks like them in any high-paid meaningful position, there is a problem that needs to be corrected. We have a chance to make some corrections. He told Mayor Rippons he needs to stop and ask people what they want and what seems to be the problem. He is not saying to give anybody any priority. If someone is qualified, then give them the job. African-Americans are qualified and he doesn't like what he sees. We have to make a change and we have to do it the right way.

The Council moved into executive session.

Mayor Rippons announced that the filing deadline for the election for the Second Ward Commissioner will be Friday, May 27, 2005. If there are more than two candidates, there will be a primary election in 45 days (July 12). The general election will be 30 days later (August 9). Commissioner Travers made a motion to order a special election to fill the vacancy of the Ward 2 Commissioner and accept the dates for the election outlined by Mayor Rippons. Commissioner Cephas seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0.  Rob Collison said candidates wishing to file for that position have until 4:00 pm on Friday, May 27th to file their statement of candidacy.

Patricia Johnson said she is the aunt of the victim who was shot this past Friday. She said they have a lot of questions and concerns. She asked for a copy of the investigative report once it has been completed. They don't want any more violence. Their family's hearts are broken. They are here to turn this negative thing into something positive. Rob Collison said he will meet with Chief Malik. There are reports that are publicly available and he will provide a copy of them. Chief Malik said the report is being conducted by the Maryland State Police. The finalized report would come from them. He will talk to them and then tell Ms. Johnson exactly what the procedure is. Cambridge is not involved in the investigation. It is completely done by the Maryland State Police Criminal Homicide Unit.

Antone D. Ennels said he is a long-time friend of the Cornish family. Everyone sitting in the room are friends also. They wanted to make it clear that this isn't an issue of white on black or that a white officer shot a black male in his home. Most of them are here because they are scared and don't understand. A lot more of them are here because of what they perceive to be the tarnishing of a good man's name. He understands you have to have all the information about a person once a tragedy like this happens. With all the press and media we have, nobody wants to say anything that was good about this man. He has a room full of men who will attest to this man's honor. Nobody wants anything bad to happen. They request that this man's full story be told-not just the one-sided article. They received his arrest record for the past 10 years. It isn't common knowledge how he gave up his chance for college and to move away to take care of his blind mother. He just started his own business. They will, in faith, watch, wait, and be active while due process is taking place. They have faith in the system. He asked that Council show them that they have faith in our system and allow this man's full story to be told so they can have faith and once again try to begin to find a way to trust the police officers who are supposed to serve and protect us.

Mayor Rippons said the city does not have any jurisdiction about what has been portrayed in the media. Chief Malik said that information was not released by the Cambridge Police Department. It was not part of their news release. He assumed they got their information through court records-not through anything that they released. By law, the police cannot release criminal information on any subject and they did not release it on Mr. Cornish. Court records are public records. Mayor Rippons said there are three local media sources in attendance tonight. He offered to call the same TV crews that called him if Mr. Ennels would come to his office. Mr. Ennels said as soon as they are ready, he is ready.

Derek Lewis said he is for all minorities just as Andrew Cornish was. What bothers him is the training of the police force and their tactics. The safety of the individuals should be one of their first priorities. Being we are protected by the police and our salaries pay their salaries, we should be human beings and think about another life as well. There are all different sources we can use. If the police force has only one solution, then we need better sources and better training.

Chief Malik said all the officers are well trained. In any police department the results would have been the same. There is no such thing as wounding a subject in the arm or leg. That is not reality. The State Police, the FBI or any other organization will tell him that our training is proper. The officers train thousands of hours a year. Mayor Rippons suggested Mr. Lewis leave his number with Chief Malik and he will have a training officer contact him.

Mr. Lewis said if they go into a house, they are already equipped with a bulletproof vest and riot gear. If a bullet cannot go through the vest, how would they expect for a knife to go through it from 15 feet away. There are other techniques to take someone down.

Prophet John Cornish said he feels like the black community is seeking an answer. They are looking for the Mayor to come on the media to extend his condolence to the family and to let some other stuff out. He said they haven't heard from the Mayor. With the position he holds, he should extend his condolence to the Cornish family ensuring them that this case will not be brushed underneath the table. As leader of the town, he said he doesn't want any trouble. Prophet Cornish asked what would happen if next week 400 to 1000 people began to riot the town and only have one person step forward and speak. People want to hear the Mayor. He asked if the policeman was fired or suspended. He hasn't been reading the paper. We have a reputation in the area of instead of shining the good on a person we try to pick all the bad. When this man hit the newspaper to the community, he became a very bad person. He spoke with a lot of people concerning honesty. He was pretty much forced in a position to come to Council-not only because of this particular family but he believed he mentioned before our black children. The black children are being kicked out of school. There are no job openings. When something happens, it looks like they are bad people. He suggested taking a stand tonight and addressing the media and let them know he is going to give his condolences to this family. He believes there are a lot of different ways the officer could have restrained that particular person. He might not want any trouble but everybody doesn't have the same mind. You don't want people to take upon themselves-kill, kill. Then we will go all the way back to the 60s. Cambridge is being set back over and over again. It only takes one voice. They just want to hear from the leader of their city that he is going to handle this and he won't let the people down. What he is hearing is that if something isn't done, he knows he has 300 people backing him and it wouldn't be much to get the 300 people to pack this place. All they want from the Mayor is to stand up and say he is going to handle this. He believes if it is the city police who did this, some action should be taken and this particular family needs to know that actions have been taken. He said if it was a family member of someone on the Council, they would feel the exact same way as this family is feeling here tonight. Something is going to take place and he believes the Mayor needs to speak and ensure the family that this thing is not going to be brushed under the carpet. We need black detectives. He is not prejudiced and he doesn't feel anyone on the force or the panel should be prejudice. We are picking up prejudiced people. When these people leave here and they aren't hearing the Mayor, something is going to take place in this town. These young black guys are not just walking down the road just saying they are going to forget about it. They need to hear from the Mayor.

Mayor Rippons said he has no jurisdiction over what goes on in the media-especially what is on TV. If you go to either TV station (WBOC or WMDT) and look at the entire interview that they did with him, you will see - not once - not twice - but several times - he stipulated the priority of the Mayor's office is, and will continue to be, the best efforts to resolve what has happened. He offered his condolences on the air to the family. He had a 7-year-old son who died. He knows what it is to lose a child.  He does not know exactly what this family is going through but if you look inside him, you will see a heart that was torn up when he lost his 7-year-old son. He knows something about what they are going through. That was stipulated on the air. He asked them to please allow the community and the Cornish family to know that we feel for them. Nobody can lose a life without knowing that it will adversely impact the family and the community.

In response to Prophet Cornish's question on the officer, Mayor Rippons said he is on administrative leave until they receive the outcome of the investigation. When he spoke on Channel 47, the cameraman said that he kept going back to the fact that he wanted to have a thorough investigation and that he didn't want to deal with innuendos and that he wanted to get the report to take back to the community. He offered his condolences to the family and to the entire community because the community has lost a son. The number of people at the meeting tonight shows the positive influence he made on his community.  Prophet Cornish asked if Mayor Rippons has been in the community. Mayor Rippons said he has. Prophet Cornish said the Mayor needs to go out into the community and meet some of the people. He said the people are telling him that they haven't heard from the Mayor out there. Before something breaks loose, the Mayor needs to go out into the city and try to calm some of the storm. 

Rev. Dr. William Thompson Wallace Sr., Waugh Chapel United Methodist Church, said the leadership of the NAACP met this evening. One of the things they have asked him to do is to invite Mayor Rippons, Chief Malik and some other city officials to meet with them on Wednesday at 6:00 pm. They are moving toward a pro-active arena. They don't want this to escalate. They don't want to listen to the Mayor's rhetoric or defensiveness but they want to have a plan of action that will consider the well-being of everybody in this city-not just one side-but everyone. The concerns they are hearing tonight are legitimate. The concerns have the potential of creating total chaos in the city. They don't want that to happen. They don't want to revisit the 60s. They want to move forward and get rid of that kind of mindset that was operative in the late 19th century and 20th century. We are now in the 21st century.  Rev. Wallace said he though he heard Mayor Rippons say, or at least he read somewhere, that if it had not been for the black people, he would not have been elected to his second term. As a Mayor who not only represents white folk but black people in this city, he needs to step up to the plate and be seen. It is not time for him to sit behind his desk and talk rhetoric. It is not time to come to a meeting and be defensive. It is time for him to listen and hear and enter into dialog with this community so things of this nature will not continue to happen in the future.

Rev. Wallace asked if Mayor Rippons would be available for the meeting. Mayor Rippons said he has a meeting at 5:00 pm but he will be back. Chief Malik said he will be at the meeting. Rev. Wallace said they feel with the explosive potential that is here, they don't want it to go into another week. Mayor Rippons offered to be at any other meetings at churches. He will go anywhere.

Larry Cornish asked if the detectives ever acknowledged themselves when they hit the door. Chief Malik said that they did. Larry Cornish said the family never heard one single comment that Mayor Rippons said to them. If he wanted to do anything, he should have come to 408 High Street in front of their cousins where he was laid upstairs and said something so the media could see him standing there giving his condolence to the family. Then they wouldn't have to sit here tonight. He said Mayor Rippons never apologized or said anything and they are really mad right now.  They are mad because one cop took his cousin and a close friend and he doesn't think it is right. They want an apology.

Brad Cornish asked why they came to an innocent man's house and kicked the door in when they were there seven months ago and they know the background of his household. The detective told him the reason they came upstairs this time is because of a lot of traffic. He cuts hair. They knew who they were coming for, so why did they come in that fashion at that time of night. If the man had a knife or didn't have a knife, he lived there. He asked why they killed his nephew. He wants it to be known that it is not right and nobody can tell him it is right because they changed their lives. He asked why they ran up the stairs and messed with his family. They came for something else and something else wasn't upstairs. There was no reason to put a bullet in his nephew. There has to be an answer. Something has to be done about this. They never did any harm. He asked why the officer is on administrative leave. It is like a smack on the wrist. He is sitting home getting paid. He is having a vacation and being paid. It's not right. If he doesn't get off the force...take his money too...let him suffer. He doesn't need to be a police officer anywhere else. They should take his paycheck and let him suffer. He's not sorry or he would have apologized too.

Chief Malik said by Maryland law you can't fire him or deny him his pay until the investigation is complete and there is some type of criminal charge. It has to be a felony. The investigation is not complete. Brad Cornish said that will be a whole year and the officer will be getting paid. Chief Malik said he must refer all questions about the investigation to the Maryland State Police. He can give Mr. Cornish their phone number and he can call the investigator who is handling the case.  Mr. Cornish said he wants the media to see that you don't come in people's houses and kill them for nothing. The apartment upstairs has a lot of traffic. There are no drugs being sold there. There were no transactions what-so-ever. He asked why they came up there, tore the doors down, and killed somebody who got in the way. He wants justice to be done.

Commissioner Cephas said he wanted to take this opportunity for the second time to give his condolence to the family. He knows them well. On the day of the incident he heard about it and went there with the family. He commended them for restraining because they were very upset. Commissioner Brooks also spent time with the family. Rev. Wallace stopped on the way to a funeral and offered prayer to the families and friends. He hopes and prays that the right thing will happen. He heard a lot of comments at the scene. He felt their pain. He thanked Rev. Wallace. Without him sharing those moments with everyone, it could have been out of hand. He offered his condolence to the family. He also offered condolence to the officer's family. They are hurting too. This is a time for healing. Mr. Cornish's comments were well taken. If there is anything he can do for the family, within reason, he will do it.

Commissioner Brooks said she was there and offered her condolence then and offered her assistance then. Unfortunately, she knows how they feel. Justice was served in the case of her nephew. Three years later the pain is still there. She has some numbers and some suggestions for the family. They do not have to sit and wait for the State police report. There is a Justice Department. There is the FBI. The family can contact someone else and let them start their own separate investigation if they can get them to do that.  She does not know if the victims of violent crimes rights will apply here. It is worth talking to Patty Dickerson and finding out whether or not there is any monetary assistance that can be offered. She offered all of the assistance she can. She told them to feel free to call her.

Tabitha Lewis said she read in the newspaper that this is only affecting the black community. It is not. She lives next door to him and it is affecting her also. It is also affecting her two-year-old child who is now scared of the police because she sees all the media on TV. She was taught that the police were supposed to protect the public. They can't have guns and knives, but they can have someone bust into their house with one to their face. This affected everyone who knew him.

Andrew Kane said he is the father of Andrew Cornish. He received a call saying that his son was fatally shot. His son never tried to harm anyone. He taught his children to respect officers. There is no way he will believe that Andrew was waiving a knife. It is tragic. He shook the officer's hand out of respect. That is the way he taught his son and daughter. Now he only has a daughter. It hurts.

Montro Cornish said what this says is regardless of how you look at it, this town and system is lopsided. It is one-sided. He was asked by Channel 47 what could have been done differently. He heard the Chief of Police was talking about the different training. It would appear to him that when you go to serve a warrant, they should know when they go toward a building who is in the building and where the exits are. Even if they had the house under surveillance, they should know what is going on it the home. The black community is tired of the sting operations. They see the raids all the time. They kick the door in and throw people on the floor. They don't know who they are going for. They are just going to an address. They put guns to the back of people's heads. It doesn't appear to him that they took the time to find out if there was a person in the house who is an epileptic, a sleepwalker, a child, or a disabled person. He asked how much investigation went on. They got the wrong address and killed and innocent man. It appears that the officer who did this elected himself as judge, jury, and executioner. An innocent man is dead. It happens time and time again. A statement was made Friday morning from somebody out of the crowd that said "You can go out in the white section and do anything you want because all the police officers are in the black section." That was a true statement. It took a man's death to get all this brought about. This has been going on for a while. He heard Commissioner Cephas say the city of Cambridge is trying to go forward when something like this holds us back. We are trying to go forward but there are no blacks in any high authority positions job-wise. There is nothing. Because the blacks don't really have anything to do, it is almost like they are trapped in this little town. The officers already have depicted in their minds what they are seeing. Even a man who never comes out could be standing on the street on a holiday but in their minds it appears that this is a drug dealer because drugs are being sold out there. He can't hold all white officers accountable for what he did. There is a lack of training. You have no business serving the public if you are afraid of the public. This is a tragedy.

A gentleman said being that we had these two shooting in the last couple of weeks, what is the difference between Paul Trigger's shooting and Andrew Cornish's shooting. He said one officer was suspended; the other was put on administrative leave. Chief Malik said both are on administrative leave. It is a mandate from the State law. They have no choice. The gentleman said both are still getting paid and both families are still without loved ones. It is o.k. for them to make a living when these family members have to pick the pieces up and still have to dig through their pockets to pay for anything that has to be paid for like funeral arrangements which were unnecessary. It should never have happened. Andrew Cornish didn't have to know you to help you. The law says you have the right to bear arms to protect your own home. That is what he did. He jumped up not knowing it was the police. If he knew it was the police, he would have put his knife down. He doesn't believe they kept warning him. They are trying to sugar-coat the fact that they made a mistake. On TV, Chief Malik said he went by his officer's word that Mr. Cornish came toward them with a knife. He was not there. He should not have put that statement out there. The man had no means of knowing what was going on. He already told the police seven months ago when they came to the house that it was not the house they were going to. He asked why they came back to the same house if you are trained. He asked Chief Malik how he would react if someone came into his house at 4 a.m. 

A gentleman said according to what was released in the newspaper, and knowing that the investigation isn't finished, the hardest pill for everyone to swallow is for four officers to go inside a man's home and find it necessary to kill him. If that man was such a threat, why did only one officer shoot. He asked if the other three officers perceived the same threat. Obviously, they didn't. He should have been full of holes. The other three officers could have subdued him. When only one man fired a shot, he asked how this is justifiable homicide.

Wayne Todd said he knew Andrew and his father for many years. He asked Chief Malik from the time of the shooting at 4 a.m., why did it take so long for them to remove his body from the house. How did they know whether he was still alive? Was he unconscious? Did they try to revive him? Did anyone do anything? He asked how long it took for the ambulance to get there to see what they could do. Chief Malik said all this is part of the investigation. Yes, they tried to render aid. He believes the EMTs responded. Someone from the audience said there was no ambulance there for hours. Mr. Todd said when the officers see that someone is wounded, the first thing they do is call for back-up. They ask for an ambulance to be brought to the scene immediately. When an officer kills someone, they give themselves time to plant whatever, and cover up what mistakes they could have made.  If he was shot in the shoulder, he would have dropped the knife. If he was shot in the leg, he would have fallen to the floor. Why did they aim at his head to kill him? Why didn't an officer have pepper spray? Why didn't another officer have a blackjack? Why didn't an officer have a Taser gun? Why didn't the last officer have his revolver ready to be used when all other officers' wasn't at use? He read in the papers that they purchased Taser guns. Chief Malik said they have some Taser guns. Mr. Todd said if someone is sprayed with pepper spray and then a Taser gun is used, they could no longer use the knife. He asked why a gun was used.  Chief Malik said the case is under investigation by the Maryland State Police. They can explain all that to Mr. Todd. Mr. Todd asked why any they didn't use any other means.

Montro Cornish said every time a question has been put to Chief Malik, he said it is up to the investigation and that is coming from the State police. As the Chief of Police, he is in authority over his men. He asked if Chief Malik did any investigation on his own or asked any questions. Chief Malik said they did not want a biased look on this. They want a neutral agency on any police shooting. That is why they go to the Maryland State Police Criminal Homicide Unit. They investigate police shootings all over the State. They call in their own crime scene technicians. They did this to have an unbiased investigation so they would not be accused of doing anything out of the ordinary, planting evidence, and that kind of thing. The unit called in has experience in this. They have no connection to the officers of the Cambridge Police Department. If you are not satisfied with their investigation, you can go to the Department of Justice. The Cambridge Police Department has nothing to hide. They are open to any investigation by any unit or any government agency that wants to investigate them. The Maryland Police Training Commission has their training records. It is open to public review. They will hide nothing. It is tragic incident. It is a traumatic incident for everyone involved. His heart goes out to the family and his prayers go out to the family and to the community.  Black and white, everybody has been affected by it. The officers have been tremendously affected by it. They couldn't come back to work if he would let them. After the completion of the investigation, you go forward and see what takes place after that. They have been affected by this tremendously. He has been a police officer for 30 years and this is the first time a police shooting has occurred and two have occurred in one week. That is devastating to him personally. Mr. Todd said it doesn't seem like it is devastating to him, because he said they are doing an investigation. It would seem like as Chief of Police he would want to know what kind of men are working under him. He would want to know what kind on attitudes and the way they perform when they are in the line of duty. He is telling them that they gave it all to the State police and are just going to go by their investigation. He doesn't seem like he is concerned about his officer. Chief Malik said he is very concerned but they have to let the investigation be done by an unbiased criminal homicide unit. Mr. Todd said that would be the official report but wouldn't he want to know what kind of men are working under him. He asked if they only go by test scores or does he get to know the highest man on the force, who is quick to draw, etc. It doesn't seem like it. Chief Malik said he knows his men very well.

Deanté Dorsey said he likes to think he is a man of solutions and he is sure everyone here wants solutions so this will never happen again. He asked if there is any way they can get together and try to have some community police force or community task force. From what he understands, it seems like the police need to be policed now. It is terrifying to think that just like Mr. Cornish was a friend of his, he is a non-violent person. If someone came into his house, he is going to get up and see what is going on. To assure this never happens again, he thinks people need to know exactly what the tactics of the police are. They need to know their routine. He asked if they could have ride-alongs and be trained briefly in police tactics. They could have volunteers ride along with the police to see exactly what they do. They are scared because they don't know what is going to happen next. They don't know if the police are doing everything by the book. To make sure everyone is on the same page, we will have to go out with the police officers. He asked for a community police force or task force so they can see what actually goes down.  The death of Mr. Cornish brings a lot of things to light. He asked why there is such a huge presence in the black community with the police. He knows they need police. He asked if they need police every night at 1:00 am or 2:00 am when a club lets out, in the middle of the street blocking off the street, herding people along like they are cattle. He asked if they do this at Great Slates or at Southside. If that is the case, he suggested blocking off the end of Race Street to Route 16 and Race Street and Washington Street and have the police herd those people out. He is not trying to make an issue of race and he is not prejudiced. Over and over again, this is the picture that they get. The stuff that happens in their community doesn't happen anywhere else. It just happens to them. He is not making an excuse. If they are going to do it for one set of individuals, they should do it for everyone. He grew up with Andrew Cornish and he feels it is a terrible travesty. We lost a good person. We need to get normalcy back into our community. A lot of people have had a lot of things to say for a long time. There have been a lot of things going on. Unfortunately it takes the death of a good person for people to put things into perspective. It's time for us to do something different.

Toby Garner said it is time for the Mayor, Council, and Chief Malik to wake up. This community is starting to become divided even more than it has been. When she moved here in 1996 from DC she thought she was moving to an idyllic situation. She thought it was safe for her children. Her eyes have been opened to the ways things truly are here. Racism is rampant in this town especially with the officials, officers, business owners, and things like that. She has had a lot of experience with a lot of these people higher up in town and you would be surprised what a racist will say to another white person. It disgusts her. She has been in an establishment with someone on this panel that she heard talk racist nonsense. This community is about to go out of control because they are angry, confused, scared, and outraged and they have every right to be. They have been disrespected, lied to, and repressed for years. It is time for everybody to stand up and say they have had enough. Our taxes pay the employees' salaries. They are not going to stand for it any longer. They want answers. They want the truth. It is not fair for them to be afraid in their own homes to open the door to a police officer. It is not fair for our children to be afraid if something happens to them that when they call the police, nothing happens because that happens quite frequently. Her friends have called the police and have been told by certain officers that they can't do anything. She asked why they are paid. They voted the Council in and they can vote them out just as quickly.

Laura Hanback said she lived at 404 High Street for a year. In that year Andrew, Brad and everybody else in that block have become part of her family. She wants justice done because not only did they loose somebody, she lost somebody too and she would like to see something done about this.

Charles Stanton said the Chief said they can't do anything about crime. It just might do something to him. He is scared to go to work in the morning. If somebody jumps him, he is going to jail because he is going to do something about it.

Monique Rich is a resident of Easton. She operates a business in Cambridge. She asked if the State Police have a certain amount of time to complete the investigation. Chief Malik said they should have it done within 30 days. Then they give it to the State's Attorney and she will make some determination whether there was a criminal offence or not. Ms. Rich thinks once this investigation is solved, she thinks somebody should be accountable for this action. She let them know that justice will be served and he will not have a job if he is found guilty or negligent in his job. There are a lot of unanswered questions. Chief Malik said if he is found guilty or if there are criminal charges, certainly criminal action will be taken. If it is negligence from a police standpoint, action will be taken. They have to determine from the investigation if there were wrong actions by the police officer. That is what they are waiting for. Ms. Rich asked Council how accountable Council is holding their police department for these actions. She asked if they are receiving the proper training; if the officers are competent.  She asked if they receiving these evaluations thoroughly every week. She asked who is policing the police. Although he received his training, he might not mentally be stable. Somebody needs to be accountable for that too. Mayor Rippons said ultimately the officials are responsible for that.  The sworn officers also have another consideration that goes beyond the Council. Rob Collison said there is a police advisory board that is an independent body appointed by the Council that works very closely with community concerns and the police department to try to address concerns or areas to look for improvement. Ms. Rich said everybody is passing along numbers. She asked when someone is going to step up and say they will help and assist you and they are contacting you today. Nobody knows what steps to follow in this situation. She said maybe the State Police need to have a question and answer session. There are a lot of questions that need to be answered.

Commissioner Brooks asked Mayor Rippons, as head of personnel, if this is something he could do. Mayor Rippons said after the investigation is done and it comes through the proper channels, then we can endeavor to have them here to discuss those issues. Ms. Rich asked if they could get some statement of facts. She asked if that is legal. Mayor Rippons said everything is being analyzed now. Rob Collison said there will be a summary completed by the investigative team that will be available for dissemination and the Council and/or police advisory board calling a special meeting to go through what the channel is, what the investigation consists of, and maybe what the training is. It could be a question and answer period. He thinks the better route is, rather than having statements to the press, that the investigators get their information first and have them make their report.

Vincent Johnson said he is concerned about the problems we are having in the city. He is concerned about how things are being done. He came down one time about the boy who got shot by another officer and they said he had a gun. He only had a hat. He thinks it is time for things to change. The city is moving up and people are coming to town. If this town doesn't change, it will die or kill the young people. His two boys are having problems at the high school because some of the teachers are not right. They are prejudiced. It is time to put the prejudice aside and try to do something to help the kids and help the community. The city is not growing in the black section. He asked why the money is not being allocated to help out for the housing in the Second Ward. He heard what the Commissioners said. That is their point of view. He grew up on Schoolhouse Lane. He raised his children on Schoolhouse Lane. We need housing and a lot of things. They are angry about a lot because they aren't getting anything. They don't want somebody to give it to them; they want to work for it and pay for it. He moved out of the Second Ward because the houses were in such bad condition, you could no longer live there. The trouble is just as bad on Locust Street as it was on Chesapeake Court. The children standing on the corners aren't looking for a good time. They are looking for a fight to break out because they are mad. There are no jobs and nothing to help the kids to better themselves. The police lie too and they mess with the children. We need to clean up our city.

Iris Johnson said she grew up in a mixed neighborhood. When she came to Cambridge everybody looked at her like she was crazy. She didn't know a thing about prejudice when she moved to Dorchester County. It shocked her. It is sad when you look around. Tonight was a waste of time as far as she is concerned. It is not a waste of time for the family and friends to voice their opinion. It was a waste of time because she knew in her heart there was nothing that was going to be told here tonight. The Police Chief is going to protect his men. That is his job. She asked if it is his job to protect men who are wrong and use their guns and badges in the wrong way instead of in a helping way. She doesn't think the people are asking Mayor Rippons to turn the officers down or turn against them. They are asking him as the leader of this town, as a representative of the people, to be heard. If he is not going to do that, what good is he? She doesn't have any hard feeling against him. They don't need any rhetoric, running around the corner, cover up, or lip service. She hasn't seen any improvement in 30 years. She called the police several times. They don't know what is going on. They are going to jump up there with the wrong attitude and the wrong opinion because they have guns on their hips. She can give dates and incidents where she called the police and how the police act and respond. We need people on the police board who are going to investigate and look into these situations. Nobody is automatically right and nobody has all the answers. We need leaders. She said she doesn't know Chief Malik but if she had her choice, she would vote him out tomorrow. Not because she thinks he is so bad; but because she thinks he needs to know the officers that answer to him. He needs to know the inner officer. He needs to know who is scared. She has been scared of people. It didn't give her the right to harm anybody. In defensive training she learned how to restrain people different ways. She learned to do different things. That is what the officers need. They need updates. If he doesn't know who the officers are who are quick on the trigger, then he doesn't know his officers. She commends him for sticking up for his men. After the investigation, even if the man if found innocent, you still know what kind of man he is. He will still have the authority with the government to make a decision about the officer being on the force. What Chief Malik is saying is just cover-up to her. It doesn't mean anything to her or these people.  She said people are going to vote the Mayor out next time if he doesn't do what he is supposed to do. People want action and results. They want to see the Mayor in the community caring about his constituents. They want a change.

Pete Macinta, the Daily Banner, said he wants to address the people who made comments about the newspaper reports. He doesn't know what is going to be printed today or tomorrow. If they feel they need to address an issue that they see that was incorrect or if they want to add something to it, they have the right to reply. They can call Dave Ryan, the Managing Editor.

With no further business, Mayor Rippons adjourned this portion of the meeting at 9:55 p.m. I hereby certify that the foregoing is a true and accurate account of the Council meeting Monday, May 9, 2005, insofar as I personally am aware.

Edwin C. Kinnamon, Clerk & Treasurer