Child Protection Act "unfortunately Playing Out" in Brooklyn mass shooting

Written By: Reid
Aug 14, 2023

BALTIMORE (WBFF) — It’s been more than one month since 30 people were shot at the Brooklyn Day block party in South Baltimore.

Among the victims were 15 children younger than 18-years-old.

On WBAL’s C4 and 'Bryan Nehman Show' Thursday, Mayor Brandon Scott was questioned about the investigation and whether or not the Child Interrogation Protection Act passed last year is hampering the investigation.

"It’s extremely difficult when you have 30 people shot, when you can’t talk to a lot of the folks that were there," said Scott. "We have to figure out a way to protect people’s rights, especially young people, but we also have to find a way to make sure we can bring justice for families and do that in the right way."

The law places limits on child interrogations requiring an attorney be consulted when a child is taken into custody and their parents or guardians notified.

“The interrogation act, I think we’re seeing that unfortunately play out in the Brooklyn Shooting,” said Ivan Bates, Baltimore City State's Attorney.

While advocates argue it’s a necessary safeguard for young people, Bates says the law has given more rights to public defenders than parents.

“This is what I don’t get, even if the parent says yes you can talk to their child, a lawyer, the public defender, is saying you can’t talk to my client,” Bates said. “Of course they’re not saying you can talk to anyone. They’re shutting it down. Matter of fact I received an email from a public defender in Baltimore City reminding me what the law was, almost waving it in my face, hey you can’t do this. That’s the mentality now given to the public defenders here in Baltimore City.”

Ten top prosecutors across the state tell FOX45 the General Assembly has made it more difficult for them to hold juveniles accountable.

“I think without question over the last several years the general assembly has changed a number of the laws that deal with juvenile crime and I think that’s certainly led to some problems,” said Baltimore County State’s Attorney Scott Shellenberger.

They point to the Juvenile Justice Reform Act which limits children under 13 to charges for crimes of violence, and the Child Interrogation Protection Act as two laws they’d like to see changed as juvenile crime spikes.