The city's new police commissioner brought his top brass on Wednesday night to meet with the family of Anthony Anderson, the 46-year-old man whose death in police custody last week has raised tensions in East Baltimore, the family's attorney confirmed.
J. Wyndal Gordon, an attorney who is representing Anderson's family, said that Anthony W. Batts and members of his command staff visited the Andersons "to extend his condolences."
"We repeated our desire for justice in this case, and got a commitment from him that he will do what he can to ensure justice is served," Gordon said. "We were appreciative of that."
Anderson died Friday night while being arrested for drug possession at East Biddle Street and North Montford Avenue. Police initially said that Anderson was believed to have choked on drugs, but say they are awaiting an autopsy and have been interviewing witnesses. People who say they saw the incident, including Anderson's children and mother, described Anderson being aggressively taken down by officers before going limp.
Batts, who started this week and will face a City Council confirmation hearing on Oct. 17, comes to Baltimore from the Long Beach and Oakland, where he won praise for being communicative and upfront with the public.
Anthony Guglielmi, the Police Department's chief spokesman, said that Batts also met privately with the officers who were involved in the arrest. They have not been publicly identified, but are suspended as homicide detectives investigate the case. The city police union president said he was confident that the officers will be cleared of wrongdoing.
Guglielmi said an autopsy could be completed as soon as next week, and should "shed tremendous light" on how Anderson died. Meanwhile, supporters are organizing a march through East Baltimore after Anderson's funeral this Saturday, saying the case highlights ongoing issues of police brutality in Baltimore.