Still no details on banned reporter’s alleged behavior as city misses PIA deadline

Still no details on banned reporter’s alleged behavior as city misses PIA deadline (WBFF)

BALTIMORE (WBFF) -- The Baltimore City's Mayor's Office missed its deadline on a Public Information Act request for the Mayor's correspondence regarding the banning of a WYPR radio reporter.

"We are at the five-week mark and, you know, I do not like us missing that 30-day deadline, but we will have an answer for you very soon on that matter," Anthony McCarthy, spokesperson for Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, said.

FOX45 filed the request Oct. 16 after the Mayor banned WYPR's Kenneth Burns from her weekly media briefing.

"Mr. Burns has consistently exhibited verbally and physically threatening behavior, particularly to our staff, and we can't tolerate that," Mayor Rawlings-Blake said Oct. 12. "We have to do things to protect ourselves."

The city had 30 days to respond to FOX45's request for public information. It has been more than five weeks with no response or request for an extension.

"The fact that you guys didn't even get so much as a denial, I am surprised by that," Burns said last Wednesday. "I'm more offended by (the accusations) than her not answering my question. If I'm such a threat to her and her staff, why not just ban me altogether?"

The Mayor lashed out at the media on Twitter following the ban, saying they were "suggesting that (because) the press won't admit to seeing it that it didn't happen is awfully ironic (for) truth seekers." She has repeatedly ignored questions asking for details surrounding Burns' alleged threats or behavior.

WYPR news director Joel McCord last month went to the media briefing in Burns' place, but WYPR has not had a representative there since.

"He's not the most cuddly reporter you've ever met; nonetheless, it's rather aggravating to know that an elected official thinks she can pick and choose the reporters that cover her," McCord said.

Mayor Rawlings-Blake's last day in office is Dec. 6, when Mayor-elect Catherine Pugh is sworn in.

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