Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake announced on 8 July that she had fired Police Commissioner Anthony Batts after the city experienced a rise in homicide rates weeks after the controversial death of Freddie Gray.

According to The Associated Press, Rawlings-Blake thanks Batts for his service and named Deputy Police Commissioner Kevin Davis as interim commissioner.

"We need a change," the mayor said during a press conference. "This was not an easy decision but it is one that is in the best interest of Baltimore. The people of Baltimore deserve better and we're going to get better."

The announcement arrives 10 weeks after the city erupted in violent riots following Gray's death. Gray, a black man, died in April of injuries he received while in police custody. Six officers have been indicted for his death.

The AP reported that following the riots, the city experienced a rise in homicide rates. According to the NY Post, Baltimore has seen 155 homicides this year, a 48% increase on the same period in 2014.

On 7 July, Baltimore police department announced that an independent organisation would review the department's response to the rioting after Grey's death. The AP noted that most of the unrest occurred on 27 April, a little over a week after his 19 April death. The department is also being investigated by the US Justice Department for a civil rights review.

Batts, who had been police commissioner of Baltimore since September 2012, had been criticised by the Baltimore police union, the AP reported. The city's police union released a report claiming the riots were preventable and were fuelled by Batts's "passive stance," CNN reported.

The Baltimore City Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 3 claimed police brass "put the image of themselves and City Hall ahead of the safety of its citizens and public servants". The report was released the same day that law enforcement advocacy group Police Executive Research Forum began its own investigation.

Batts previously served as chief of police in Long Beach, California and Oakland, California. He began his career in 1982 in Long Beach, the AP reported.