World Mayor of riot-hit Baltimore to quit in 2016

Mayor of riot-hit Baltimore to quit in 2016

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings Blake
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings Blake

The mayor of Baltimore has announced that she will not seek re-election when polls are held in 2016.

Stephanie Rawlings-Blake made the announcement five months after wide scale rioting erupted following the death of a black man who was injured in police custody.

She recently announced that the city had settled with the family of victim Freddie Gray for $6.4m (£4.15m) to avoid civil litigation.

Ms Rawlings-Blake became mayor in 2010.

“It was a very difficult decision,” she said during a press conference on Friday. “But I knew I needed to spend time focused on the city’s future, not my own”.

The city erupted into massive – and at times violent – protests after Gray’s death in April, which was the result of a spinal injury he had received while in police custody.

When she announced her retirement on Friday, the mayor said the city needed to get through the trials for the six police officers facing various charges over Gray’s death.

In July, she sacked the city’s police chief, Anthony Batts, and appointed a deputy to replace him until a permanent replacement could be put into place.

She assumed office in 2010 after her scandal-hit predecessor, Sheila Dixon, stepped down. Ms Dixon has said she will run for the mayorship in the upcoming election.

Ms Rawlings-Blake then went on to win the 2011 Democratic primary election with 52% of the vote – essentially clinching the mayor’s office for the next term in the heavily Democratic city.

Ms Rawlings-Blake is the daughter of a popular state delegate, and worked as a lawyer previously.

She was elected to the city’s council in 1995 when she was just 25 – making her the youngest person to hold a place on the council.

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