Reagan’s ‘morning in America’ has acquired a different resonance


We have another of those really long-running threads, focused on the problem of race in America, and particularly the issues highlighted by events in Ferguson, Missouri. There’s no shortage of material, and it keeps going and going, hampered only by the limitation of the blog medium: in particular, that I automatically shut down all discussion threads after 3 months, to block spam. That’s not enough time!

So here’s another semi-open thread — talk about America’s race problem. Forever, or until it’s fixed.

Comments

  1. rq says

  2. rq says

    Robbery suspect fatally shot by police in East Village

    Police shot and killed a man Saturday after he turned violent as they tried to arrest him at an East Village halfway house, authorities said.

    Felix David, 22, was wanted for beating and robbing a female acquaintance in a classroom building at City College in Harlem on Thursday evening, police said.

    A pair of detectives from the 26th Precinct in Harlem tried to arrest David at around 1:45 p.m. Saturday at a facility for people released from psychiatric institutions near East 6th Street and Avenue A.

    When they approached David on the building’s sixth floor, he fled out a window and down a fire escape.

    But to get away, he had to re-enter the building’s first floor lobby — where the two officers were waiting for him.

    David fought the officers for five minutes, and some of the fight was caught on video, cops said.

    During the struggle, David — who police sources said had a record of arrests for violent offenses — grabbed one of the detectives’ radios, and used it to strike both officers in the head.

    David hit the officers so hard, the radio broke, cops said.

    Then, one of the officers fired one shot at David, striking him in the torso, police said.

    David was rushed to Beth Israel Hospital in critical condition.

    He was in a half-way house for the mentally ill. I’m thinking the police had a wrong approach somewhere.

    I’m in Baltimore. I’m not sure what they’re showing on the news but this is serious business. Thousands protesting.

    Baltimore Cops Admit Failing to Provide Freddie Gray With Medical Treatment

    In an admission that came after a week of protests demanding information about what happened during the arrest of Freddie Gray by police officers in Baltimore, Md., the police chief on Friday said mistakes were made, including a failure to provide Gray with timely medical treatment, CNN reports.

    Police Commissioner Anthony Batts made the observation Friday amid rising protests, saying Gray was not belted into his seat in the rear of a police van as he was driven to a police station. Further, Deputy Police Commissioner Kevin Davis said Gray should have received medical treatment at the scene of his arrest before being placed inside of the vehicle, CNN reports.

    The police van carrying Gray made three stops on the way to the police station, the report says, and investigators are trying to learn more about Gray’s condition at each stop.

    At the first stop, Gray was placed in leg irons. The driver stopped a second time “to deal with Mr. Gray, and the facts of that interaction are under investigation,” Davis said, according to CNN. The van reportedly stopped once more to pick up a second prisoner.

    Medical treatment was requested when the van arrived at the Western District station, the report says.

    Still unclear is how Gray’s spine was broken and how much time elapsed during his transport to the station and his receiving medical treatment. The identity of the second prisoner has not been revealed, and it is unclear what that person may have witnessed.

    a poem by @ClintSmithIII – same author who had the one about the cicada and the brown boy, and the short video last night. This one’s called Playground Elegy:

    The first time I slid down a slide my mother
    told me to hold my hands in towards the sky

    something about gravity, weight distribution,
    & feeling the air ripple through your fingers.

    I remember reaching the bottom, smile consuming
    half of my face, hands still in the air because

    I didn’t want it to stop. Ever since, this defiance
    of gravity has always been synonymous with feeling alive.

    When I read of the new child, his body strewn across
    the street, a casket of bones and concrete I wonder how

    many times he slid down the slide. How many times
    he defied gravity to answer a question in class. Did he

    raise his hands for all of them? Does my mother regret
    this? That she raised a black boy growing up to think

    that raised hands made me feel more alive. That raised hands
    meant I was alive. That raised hands meant I would live.

    His words are so fucking pointed. There’s a video of him reading it online, plus the hashtag #BlackPoetsSpeakOut has more from others, too.

    HEre’s two more links to his ‘How to raise a black boy in America’ video:
    How to raise a Black son in America

    “I wrote this after Tamir Rice was killed, and after reflecting on how hard it must have been for my parents, for black parents everywhere, to have to teach their children to navigate a world that is so often taught to fear them. I can never thank them enough for doing everything in their power to protect me and my siblings, to keep us safe in an unsafe world. I hope we’re on our way to something better. Thank you TED for posting. #BlackLivesMatter” – Clint Smith

    And the TED link: How to raise a black son in America.

    As kids, we all get advice from parents and teachers that seems strange, even confusing. This was crystallized one night for a young Clint Smith, who was playing with water guns in a dark parking lot with his white friends. In a heartfelt piece, the poet paints the scene of his father’s furious and fearful response.

  3. rq says

  4. rq says

    CNN MIA, local TV tries to step up as Freddie Gray protests turn ugly

    After a week of cable and network news providing most of the best TV coverage of protests in Baltimore following the death of Freddie Gray, the national outlets were mainly missing in action tonight when things got ugly.

    For all the praise I heaped on CNN earlier in the week for its journalistically sound coverage of the protests here, the channel has my utter contempt for its commitment to the White House Correspondents’ Dinner tonight. It focused its cameras on this self-aggrandizing exercise in black-tie narcissism while just 55 miles down the road civil unrest led to smashed car and store windows, convenience store looting and vandalism, and more than three hours of face-to-face confrontations between police and protesters that led to gridlock on the streets of downtown Baltimore.

    Fans were kept from leaving Camden Yards during the Orioles game because police did not yet have adequate control of the streets around the park. That sounds like news to me, how about you?

    Or, is it only news if it’s Nationals Park? I wonder if Washington journalists and editors know how disconnected they are from the real America?

    I guess the so-called 24/7 “news” channels don’t go all out to do real news on weekend nights any more. Did I miss that memo?

    I expected nothing of MSNBC with its commitment to exploitative prison reality programming on the weekends. But for CNN to set up shop here the way it did all week and then provide next to nothing when the real trouble starts is unforgivable.

    Oh, the people on CNN’s empty-headed, Hollywood-style, studio show dedicated to the talking about the White House Correspondents’ Dinner made note of what wasn’t being covered in Baltimore, but they then excused it. In the best style of Hollywood spin, they reminded us of the scholarships the dinner provides. As if that justified their self-absorption and the channel’s lack of attention to a serious moment of civil unrest right down the street.

    The good news is that local TV generally made an effort to fill the void. There was live streaming during the afternoon, with program managers at WBAL (Channel 11) and WJZ (Channel 13) getting their helicopters and reporters on air by 6 p.m. when things started getting serious in the downtown streets. And they kept them on the street and hovering over the confrontations and violence into and through the 11 p.m. news — blowing out all network programming and commercials through prime time as far as I could tell.

    I understand that not all stations are equal when it comes to resources, but helicopters were essential on this story with disturbances and confrontations breaking out simultaneously in different part of the city and the downtown streets gridlocked. Don’t expect me to judge a station by different standards just because its parent company doesn’t think Baltimore warrants copter coverage. You don’t get a pass for your parent company being cheap or greedy.

    WBFF (Channel 45) and WMAR (Channel 2) got on air last, and WMAR was the first to leave live on-air coverage to show a “Toy Story” movie during the 9 o’clock hour. I am not going to rag on WMAR, except to say if you are watching WMAR when as big a story like this breaks, good luck.

    And don’t tell me about digital – everyone was live streaming and working social media with their coverage. If you can’t give over your TV airwaves to cover this kind of civil unrest, what will you break out of movies and infomercials for?

    WBFF won back some major ground and respect in my book with its late-night, essentially cinema-verite coverage of police battling rock, brick and bottle-throwing gangs to regain control of the Western District after even WJZ and WBAL returned to normal entertainment programming.

    Nothing I saw anywhere all night matched the intensity of the up-close-and-personal, on-the-street camera work as Police Commissioner Anthony W. Batts gave the command for waves of police in riot gear to advance on the rock throwers and sweep the streets of the Western District block by block. The choreography of deployment was stunning with phalanxes of officers advancing shield to shield in the night surrounded by similar teams advancing up the side streets to outflank the rock throwers.

    The police were far more aggressive than I had seen them in the five hours before. I saw one officer injured and five persons arrested in the space of 10 minutes just before midnight.

    As committed as WBAL was to covering this important story, I have to voice a complaint about its helicopter pilot, Roy Taylor, referring to the vans that police used to transport those who were arrested as “paddy wagons.”

    It’s an ethnically offensive term originating in 19th Century prejudice against the Irish. It is meant to define and denigrate the Irish as drunks and troublemakers who are disruptive to a civil society. And if Taylor doesn’t know it, one of his bosses at WBAL should have – and should have told him to stop using it Saturday night. It’s time for all of us to get past using language that stereotypes and demeans any ethnic group.

    And even as I complain about WJZ for not going live to the mayor’s press conference, I have to say one of the most impressive performances of the night was that of Denise Koch anchoring solo from 6 p.m. on. That’s a long time to do live TV on a story breaking on multiple fronts, but Koch was more than up to it.

    There was a lot of good camera work done on the streets of Baltimore on Saturday night. Here’s to the folks behind the cameras who brought us the images of Baltimore on the brink Saturday night.

    And: After peaceful start, violence mars Freddie Gray protest in Baltimore

    A day of mostly peaceful rallies to protest the death of Freddie Gray turned confrontational as dark fell over Baltimore on Saturday with demonstrators smashing the windows on police cars, blocking traffic near the Inner Harbor and shouting, “Killers!” at officers dressed in riot gear.

    More than 100 officers — wearing helmets, gloves and vests and carrying batons — formed a wall along several blocks of Pratt Street, and began to make arrests. State police in full tactical gear were deployed to the city to respond to a crowd that was becoming unruly.

    Protesters shouted: “Killers!” and “You can’t get away with this!” and “Hands up don’t shoot!” Some threw rocks, water bottles, even hot dog buns and condiments at police mounted on horses, smashed windows at local businesses and looted at least one convenience store.

    The crowd — estimated at 1,200 — had remained mostly peaceful from about noon until about 6:30 p.m., near the time the Orioles game was set to begin.

    Near the intersection of Howard and Pratt streets, police chanted at the crowds, “Move back. Move back.”

    The protest was the largest of daily gatherings in the week since Gray died. The 25-year-old had sustained spinal cord injuries while in police custody following his arrest April 12 near Gilmor Homes in West Baltimore.

    At the Gallery at Harborplace around 7 p.m., a window at the Michael Kors store was smashed and shoppers were evacuated. Those running from the mall held coats and scarves over their faces and reported hearing a loud bang as the window was smashed with a trash can.

    Leila Rghioui, 20, of Randallstown had stopped by the mall after protesting earlier in the day with her friends.

    “All I remember is the security guards started barricading doors and everyone started losing their minds coughing,” said Rghioui, who said she threw up from pepper spray in the air.

    Outside Oriole Park at Camden Yards, demonstrators clashed with police.

    A few protesters jumped on police cars and smashed their windows with trash cans and traffic cones as the group moved north on Howard. They grabbed police caps from the cars and posed atop them to cheering and howls of laughter. The group quickly dispersed, sprinting away as a line of police officers came running down the street.

    The crowds began to assemble about noon at the site of Gray’s arrest. Some participants came from as far as Ferguson, Mo. Most of the marchers, estimated by the Fire Department to number 1,200, were men, women and children from Baltimore.

    From Gilmor, they marched to the Western District Police Station, where about 50 officers formed lines around the perimeter of the building.

    Twelve-year-old Charles Sheppard leaned against the barricade, holding a sign with a quote attributed to James Baldwin: “Ignorance allied with power is the most ferocious enemy of justice.”

    His mother, Tina Commodore, yelled toward the line of officers: “He’s a murder! He’s a murder!”

    “You know how a volcano erupts?” Charles asked. “That’s how I feel inside about this.”

    Police Commissioner Anthony W. Batts, who a day earlier defied calls to step down, walked briefly into a crowd of a hundred or so outside the station. He told reporters he had been working to change the culture of the Police Department.

    Some demonstrators shouted: “There’s blood on your hands!” and “sellout!”

    Before he walked back behind the police line, Batts paused to give 52-year-old Resa Burton a hug.

    Burton, a lifelong West Baltimore resident, said she had a message for Batts: “We need justice.”

    “They killed a man,” Burton said. “It could’ve been me! It could’ve been me! It could been my brother, my nephew! It could’ve been you!”

    Moer at the link.
    And there’s a distinct… dissonance between what the media is saying and what people on the ground have been tweeting. Maybe I’m getting the wrong tweets…?

    What we know about the Freddie Gray case – a text timeline:

    What we know:

    * Gray was apprehended April 12 after a foot chase, transported in a van that stopped at least once, and was transported to Shock Trauma from the Western District station. [Full timeline]

    * A family attorney says Gray’s spine was “80 percent severed.”

    * Gray died April 19, a week after his arrest.

    * Gray repeatedly asked for medical care while in transit. Police said he was carrying a knife and was “arrested without force or incident.”

    * Gray’s injury suggests there was “forceful trauma,” according to a medical expert.

    * Gray was known to police, and was recognized in his neighborhood as a well-liked jokester.

    * Police have identified the officers involved.

    * The U.S. Department of Justice is opening an investigation into Gray’s death.

    * Five of six of the officers involved in the arrest have provided statements to Baltimore police.

    * Gray’s funeral and burial is set for Monday morning.

    * In an April 24 news conference, Baltimore Police acknowledged that officers made mistakes during Gray’s arrest.

    * Police say the investigation into Gray’s death will continue even after their findings are delivered to state prosecutors by May 1.

    What we don’t know:

    * Were police justified in chasing and arresting Gray?

    * Was force used by police in the arrest?

    * What happened on the ride in the van?

    * How was Gray’s spine injured?

    * How will the investigations unfold?

    I think we all have some pretty educated guesses about those last few questions.

    If you see video of protest in Baltimore that doesn’t end with bystanders putting themselves btwn cops and protestors you missed the story.

    But the Protesters are Thugs…oh ok… As response to tweet about police tackling a photographer.

    A DoC bus rolled up, people threw more rocks, then cops poured out, came around from all sides. People scattered.
    Ugly, indeed.

  5. rq says

    Where is the headline about officers beating up a photographer and bystanders stepping in? Forthcoming? Don’t hold your breath??

    There’s a DEEP irony in the press laughing with the President in the White House while Baltimore burns from police brutality.

    Over 1200 police officers in #Baltimore streets tonight, but NOT ONE ambulance called for #FreddieGray. It was hard to hear him crying out.

    Different city: Cop who shot teen 16 times faulted in 2007 traffic stop

    It’s been seven years since Ed Nance was roughed up by a Chicago police officer who handcuffed him so violently during a 2007 traffic stop he seriously injured both shoulders, costing him tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills and lost wages.

    Nance, a cable company employee with no convictions, says he will never forget the nonchalant look on the officer’s face when, two years later, a federal jury ruled he and his partner had used excessive force and awarded Nance $350,000 in damages.

    “They looked like, OK, so what, go (back) to work,” Nance told the Tribune in an interview. “They was back on the street like nothing ever happened.”

    When Nance was recently told that Officer Jason Van Dyke, who aggressively handcuffed him that night, is being investigated by the FBI for shooting a teen 16 times, he broke into tears.
    Laquan McDonald’s wounds
    Laquan McDonald’s wounds

    “It just makes me so sad because it shouldn’t have happened,” Nance said. “He shouldn’t have been on the street in the first place after my incident.”

    The Tribune has learned that it was Van Dyke who was on patrol in the Chicago Lawn District on Oct. 20 when he was called to the 4100 block of South Pulaski Road, where 17-year-old Laquan McDonald was acting erratically and refusing police commands to drop a 4-inch folding knife.

    Within moments of arriving, Van Dyke jumped out of his squad car with his gun drawn and opened fire on McDonald, killing him, authorities have said. Lawyers for the McDonald family said the officer emptied his semi-automatic. None of the five other officers there fired a shot, according to authorities.
    lRelated
    Why did a Chicago cop shoot Laquan McDonald?

    Editorials
    Why did a Chicago cop shoot Laquan McDonald?

    See all related
    8

    Earlier this month the U.S. attorney’s office announced a criminal probe into the shooting, which was captured on a dashboard camera from another police vehicle. The news of the investigation broke as the Chicago City Council voted unanimously to approve a $5 million settlement with McDonald’s family even before a lawsuit was filed.

    The investigation comes amid the public outcry nationwide in recent months over police use of lethal force against minorities, including in Chicago where last week a white Chicago police detective was acquitted on a legal technicality for a fatal off-duty shooting of a 22-year-old black woman in 2012. Van Dyke is white, while McDonald was African-American. Nance also is black.

    Van Dyke has been stripped of his police powers and assigned to paid desk duty. Police have maintained the officer, whose name has not been released by the city, fired in fear of his life because the teen lunged at him and his partner with the knife.

    The officer did not return calls seeking comment, and no one answered the door at his Chicago home Friday. […]

    According to police and court records, Van Dyke, 37, joined the department in 2001 and spent more than four years with a specialized unit since disbanded by police Superintendent Garry McCarthy — that aggressively went into neighborhoods experiencing spikes in violent crimes.

    After serving as a patrol officer in the Englewood police district, one of the most violent neighborhoods in the city, he transferred in 2013 to the Chicago Lawn District, where the McDonald shooting occurred, records show.

    According to Independent Police Review Authority records, Van Dyke has received 17 citizen complaints since 2006. At least three complaints in the last four years were for excessive force-related allegations, and another accused him of making racial or ethnically biased remarks, according to the records.

    In one incident from April 2008, Van Dyke and his partner came upon what they thought was a robbery in progress of a convenience store at 71st Street and Ashland Avenue, according to the IPRA reports. They chased a male black suspect into an alley who allegedly made suspicious movements toward his waistband, prompting Van Dyke’s partner to take him down to the ground.

    The man claimed in his complaint that the partner kicked him in the face and that Van Dyke drew his gun and pointed it at him without justification. The man was not charged with a crime and was treated at Holy Cross Hospital for injuries and swelling to his left eye. Van Dyke said in an interview with investigators he could not recall if he’d removed his gun from its holster that night. His partner denied kicking the suspect.

    A year later, IPRA exonerated Van Dyke of the allegations, concluding his actions were justified and fell within department policy. The allegations against his partner, however, were not sustained because they couldn’t be proven or refuted.

    More recently, in December 2013, Van Dyke was part of a team of 11 officers executing a search warrant at a home in the Englewood District, records show. An African-American woman who was at the scene later filed a report claiming the officers were physically and verbally abusive and used the “n” word toward those in the home.

    In finding the complaint unfounded, an IPRA investigator noted the officers had claimed in reports that the complainant had been loud and disruptive at the scene and had to be arrested. “The officers at the scene acted with apparent restraint,” the report said.

    ‘It could have been me’

    In July 2007, Ed Nance was driving on East 87th Street with his cousin one night when Van Dyke and his then-partner pulled him over, purportedly because the front license plate was missing on his mother’s Chevrolet — a claim disputed by Nance.

    Nance alleged in his lawsuit as well as in his complaint to internal affairs that the partner ordered him out of the car and then slammed him over the hood of the squad car, causing injuries to Nance’s neck and face. Van Dyke then forcibly handcuffed him, pulling his arms back violently and causing injuries to the tendons in his shoulders as well as one rotator cuff, according to the suit.

    In a deposition taken before the case went to trial, Nance said when he asked the officers why they were roughing him up, they swore at him repeatedly and threatened him with arrest. Van Dyke then threw Nance into the back of the squad car while they questioned his cousin, who was arrested for possessing a small amount of marijuana.

    Asked if he was concerned for his safety, Nance was quoted in a transcript as testifying, “Basically yes, because every story I hear about the police getting pulled over in my neighborhood, they beating them up, they pulling them out of the car. Some people die.”

    After about 20 minutes, Van Dyke returned to the squad car and yanked Nance out painfully by the arms, according to the suit. He was issued a ticket for the missing license plate and told his mother’s car would be towed because of his cousin’s pot possession charge. Records show the misdemeanor was dismissed at the first court date.

    In his sworn deposition, Van Dyke testified he was concerned Nance could be dangerous because he hadn’t pulled over immediately when his partner activated the emergency lights.

    “Just didn’t feel right,” Van Dyke said, according to a transcript.

    Van Dyke testified that once Nance was out of the car, he was loud and belligerent, causing Van Dyke to further fear for his safety because he might be violent or armed with a weapon.

    When Nance’s attorney, Michael McCready, asked specifically why he was concerned about Nance, Van Dyke said, “His actions … his voice escalating, for one.”

    Van Dyke denied using excessive force in handcuffing Nance and said he couldn’t recall seeing his partner slam him over the hood of the car.

    In the months after the incident, Nance went through two shoulder surgeries and was taking medication for pain and anxiety that was making it difficult to sleep, according to his testimony. In October 2009, a federal jury found the officers had used excessive force, awarding Nance $350,000 in damages. The judge later ordered the city to also pay $180,000 in legal fees of Nance’s attorneys, records show.

    By March 2011 IPRA cleared both Van Dyke and his partner of all the allegations due to a lack of evidence, records show.

    “Although (Nance) sustained injuries to his shoulders, there is no way to determine the exact cause of his injuries,” IPRA concluded. “There were no independent witnesses present during the incident.”

  6. rq says

    Some slaves were diagnosed with a “mental illness” in which the slave possessed an “irrational desire for freedom.”

    Unarmed #FelixDavid was killed by the NYPD yesterday, 4/25. They say he “fought the officers” and reached for an officer’s radio.
    Reports: Man Shot and Killed by NYPD at East Village Halfway House

    NYPD officers shot and killed a man as they tried to arrest him Saturday afternoon at a halfway house in the East Village, the New York Post reports. Police said the man was wanted on a robbery charge.

    According to the Post, detectives from the 26th Precinct, in Harlem, tried to arrest Felix David, 24, at a facility for pyschiatric patients on East 6th Street between Avenues A and B.

    Witnesses reported hearing a single gunshot come from inside 538 East 6th Street. “I think there was a scuffle and then the single shot. I heard that. Other people who happened to be right there said they heard a scuffle,” one told EV Grieve.

    David grabbed one of the detectives radios and hit another detective over the head, the New York Daily News reports. One of the detectives shot David in the chest, and he was taken to Beth Israel Hospital in critical condition, where he died.

    The detectives were taken to Bellevue Hospital. Their injuries, the Post reports, are not considered serious.

    The breathless wall-to-wall coverage by our local news of a couple smashed windows has already exceeded coverage of murder of #FreddieGray.

    I just watched the video of #ErvinEdwards tased to death by 7 officers in a jail cell in Louisiana. I didn’t think I could still be shocked.
    Ervin Edwards: Arrested for sagging pants, Ervin Edwards tasered to death in custody; police lie in report

    On November 26, 2013, 38-year-old Ervin Edwards, partially deaf and mentally ill, was arrested by police for sagging his pants and taken to the West Baton Rouge Parish jail in Louisiana. He only lived for a few more minutes inside of the cell.

    For 18 months, police have lied over and over again about what happened the night Ervin Edwards died in their custody. Now that a video of their despicable actions has been released, it’s clear they murdered this man and left him to die all alone in his jail cell. The Advocate has provided an annotated video. See the video and my breakdown of their lies below the fold.

    Read that breakdown. Discrepancy after discrepancy. Are we surprised?

    Action in STL: 3-5pm.
    March for Women Lost to Police Violence.

    5:30pm.
    Protest for #ThaddeusMcCarroll.

    Keiner Plaza. STL. 4/26.

  7. rq says

    Godsdammit, moderation.
    But I go on.
    It’s funny how much folks watched The Wire and felt all the emotions but are confused the people who live it feel anything at all.

    #TheWire showed grit-but showed little emotion in black characters. Which is why ppl are surprised at ACTUAL black folk in BMore this AM.
    So try loving #Baltimore as much as you loved #TheWire. Love #FreddieGray like you loved Dukie.
    To be clear, I know dope ppl doing impt work in #Baltimore before and during these protests. we gotta care beyond Season 5.

    Someone just told me the story of Christopher Dorner. Who?
    Christopher Dorner (wiki): Christopher Dorner shootings and manhunt

    On February 3, 2013, a series of shootings began in Orange, Los Angeles and Riverside counties in California, United States, in which the victims were law enforcement officers, their families, or civilians misidentified as the suspect. Christopher Dorner, 33, an involuntarily terminated Los Angeles police officer, was named as a suspect wanted in connection with the series of shootings that killed four people and wounded three others. The rampage ended on February 12, 2013, when Dorner committed suicide during a stand-off with police at a cabin in the San Bernardino Mountains.

    A manifesto posted[2][3][4] on Facebook,[5] which police say was written by Dorner,[6] declared “unconventional and asymmetric warfare” upon the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), their families, and their associates, unless the LAPD admitted publicly he was fired in retaliation for reporting excessive force.

    In two separate incidents during the manhunt, police shot at three civilians unrelated to Dorner, mistaking their pickup trucks for the vehicle being driven by Dorner. One of the civilians was hit by the police gunfire, another was wounded by shattered glass, and a third individual was injured when police rammed his vehicle and opened fire.[7][8] […]

    Allegations against training officer

    Two weeks after the arrest of Gettler, Evans gave Dorner a performance review that stated he needed to improve in three areas.[22] The next day Dorner filed a report alleging that Evans had used excessive force in her treatment of Gettler,[22] accusing Evans of twice kicking Gettler in the face while he was handcuffed and lying on the ground.[23][24][25]

    The LAPD investigated the complaint, examining the allegation against Evans and the truthfulness of Dorner’s report, through an internal review board of three members—two LAPD captains and a criminal defense attorney. During the seven-month investigation of Dorner’s complaint, Teresa Evans was assigned to desk duty and wasn’t allowed to earn money outside of her LAPD job. Dorner’s attorney at the board hearing was former LAPD captain Randal Quan.[23]

    The review board heard testimony from a number of witnesses. Three hotel employees who witnessed “most” of the incident claimed that they did not see the training officer kick the man. Gettler was brought to the police station and given medical treatment for injuries to his face, but he did not mention being kicked at that time.[13] Later that day when he was returned to his father, Gettler told his father that he had been kicked by an officer, and his father testified to that at Dorner’s disciplinary hearing.[13][26] In a videotaped interview with Dorner’s attorney, shown at the hearing, Gettler stated that he was kicked in the face by a female police officer on the day in the place in question; however, when Gettler testified at the hearing, his responses to questioning were described as “generally . . . incoherent and nonresponsive.”[27][28]

    The investigation concluded that there was no kicking and investigators later decided that Dorner had lied.[29]
    Termination and failed appeal

    Dorner was fired by the LAPD in 2008 for making false statements in his report and in his testimony against training officer Evans.[26] Dorner’s attorney at the board hearing, Randal Quan, said that Dorner was treated unfairly and was being made a scapegoat.[23][30][31]

    Dorner appealed his termination by the LAPD Board of Rights by filing a writ of mandamus with the Los Angeles County Superior Court.[27] Judge David Yaffe wrote that he was “uncertain whether the training officer kicked the suspect or not” but nevertheless upheld the department’s decision to fire Dorner, according to the Los Angeles Times.[32] Yaffe ruled that he would presume that the LAPD’s accusations that Dorner’s report was false would stand even though he did not know if Dorner’s report of Officer Evans kicking the suspect was false.[33] This enraged Dorner as he screamed in disbelief at the end of the hearing “I told the truth! How could this (ruling) happen?” [34] This anger was repeated in The Dorner Manifesto.

    Dorner appealed to the California Court of Appeal for the Second Appellate District, which affirmed on October 3, 2011, the lower court’s ruling. Under California law, administrative findings (in this case by the LAPD) are entitled to a presumption of correctness and the petitioner (in this case Dorner) bears the burden of proving that they were incorrect. The appeals court concluded that the LAPD Board of Rights had substantial evidence for its finding that Dorner was not credible in his allegations against Sergeant Evans.[27] […]

    Final mountain cabin standoff

    On February 12, San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department deputies responded to a report of a carjacking of a white Dodge truck at 12:22 pm (PST) and began looking for the vehicle on the ground and from the air. The car driver was not harmed. Fish and Game officers were first to spot the car and recognized Dorner as the driver. Officers from numerous agenices chased Dorner to a cabin near Big Bear Lake, California.

    Dorner opened fire on two officers from the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, hitting both. The officers were airlifted to Loma Linda University Medical Center, where Detective Jeremiah MacKay was pronounced dead.[75]

    The San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department confirmed to the media that Dorner was barricaded in a cabin, near the command center set up for the man hunt, in a mountainous rural area northeast of Angelus Oaks, California and the building was surrounded by law enforcement.[76] The Los Angeles Times reported that there might be hostages in the cabin with Dorner.[77] A three-mile perimeter was set up around the cabin and residents were told to remain inside with their doors locked.[78]

    Police initially attempted to get Dorner out of the cabin by using tear gas and demanding over loudspeakers that he surrender. When Dorner did not respond, police used a demolition vehicle to knock down most walls of the building. They then shot pyrotechnic tear gas canisters into the cabin, starting the cabin on fire. Such devices are nicknamed “burners”, as the heat generated by detonation often causes a fire. Shortly thereafter, a single gunshot from the cabin was heard.[79] As the fire continued, ammunition was exploding from within the cabin, making it dangerous for officials to try to put out the fire.[80] Law enforcement experts differ on whether using pyrotechnic devices to end the standoff, instead of waiting Dorner out, was justified.[79]

    In the evening of February 12, Los Angeles police and the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Office denied reports that a body believed to be that of Dorner had been recovered from the burnt cabin. In a press conference, LAPD Commander Andrew Smith stated that no body had been removed from the site, adding that reports of a body being identified were untrue as the cabin area was “too hot to make entry”.[81][82] […]

    There were online protests against the LAPD as well as a protest at police HQ on February 16, 2013.[108] Protestors stated they object to the manner in which Dorner’s dismissal was handled, the reckless shooting of civilians by the LAPD during the manhunt, and allegations that the police had intentionally set fire to the cabin in which Dorner was hiding.[109]

    So, did he deserve to die?
    When white people shoot at law enforcement officers, they tend to survive the incidents. Even after long standoffs. In my admittedly limited experience in reading about such matters.

  8. rq says

  9. rq says

    “You’re lucky the cops are here. … I’ll tear your fucking guts out!” – #AryanNation to #AntiRacist (STL)

    S/O To The Mighty FOI from Mosques #6 & #4 For Holding It Down! #FreddieGray @deray @RMFinalCall @BrotherJesse

    #BrandonTateBrown’s mom and her lawyer will be filing a civil suit against the Philadelphia Police Department for wrongful death.

    @deray Black Womens Lives Matter Vigil. Mount Vernon Square, DC. Tonight. 6:30 pm. We remember *all* black lives. Please retweet.

    And the @BaltimorePolice is present at #FreddieGray’s viewing.

    And this has been a theme recurring more and more often, re: the legalization of marijuana. All of a sudden it’s white faces and future entrepreneurs – when all the black faces have been criminalized and put away. When the face of weed turns white, it gets reality shows and photoshoots. A couple clicks in there’s an article on new reality shows about white people trying to make a business out of weed. With annoying sidebar titles, like ones about understanding the lingo.

  10. rq says

    “The news wont show this the Sun paper turned me down multiple times I CAPTURE the real The Good & Bad” @byDVNLLN The photo within is strangely captviating – not sure what it is, the look, the context… but it works for me.

    Atta girl. @ayse @zeynep @krgpryal @andreactually @aelizabethclark @tarheeltreske @jmolich @MargaretAtwood Cartoon, panel 1: mother asks daughter, “Are your dolls having a party?”; panel 2: daughter replies, “No, they’re revolting against an oppressive government that is trying to remove their civil rights.”

    The @BaltimorePolice arrested 34 people yesterday during the protests. #FreddieGray

    Folks have come to support #FreddieGray, standing across the street from the viewing. Baltimore.

  11. rq says

    The numbers could be off, but still, worth a thought (At the very least): The Police Homicide Rate increased 35% in March. Among black people, it increased 71%. #FreddieGray

    Albuquerque cop arrested for allegedly beating suspect after turning off body cam

    An Albuquerque police officer was taken into custody and booked Friday evening after an investigation showed he turned his body cam off before allegedly beating a suspect, reports KOB4.

    Officer Cedric Greer, 24, is facing misdemeanor aggravated battery charges after witnesses say he repeatedly punched a suspect who was offering no resistance during a stop.

    An investigation was launched into Greer’s actions after a police cadet reported him to his superiors.

    According to the State Police report, Greer, “… battered an individual during a call for service that he was conducting at a local Albuquerque hotel. He struck the individual’s head several times with a closed fist and then delivered several strikes to the individual’s chest causing bruising. Witnesses claimed the individual was cooperative with Mr. Greer before and after the battery.”

    Further investigation revealed that Greer had turned his body cam off before the alleged beating, turning it back on afterward. Video from the camera captured his finger shutting down the camera attached to his lapel.

    According to a spokesperson for the APD, Greer is currently on administrative leave following his release from jail on a $5,000 bond.

    Greer is one of two officers being investigated for the alleged assault.

    Albuquerque which used to be (still is?) the murderingest PD in USAmerica.

    You want to talk about ‘riots.’ I want to talk about what makes someone *that* angry, and how we fix what’s at the root.

    i need a video of this – Cecily Strong at the Whitehouse, where the punchline is that the Secret Service is the only law enforcement agency in the world that will get in trouble if a black man gets shot.

    Y’all didn’t tell me about this racist Orioles logo with its Jim Crow lookin self. Quick tumblr on the origin of the Jim Crow image and the Baltimore Orioles logo resurrected for an anniversary.

  12. rq says

    #Ferguson protesters are holding a march in Downtown #STL for our own #ThaddeusMcCarroll AND IN SOLIDARITY W/ #Baltimore Activists!

    Batts email praises police for being ‘scary good’ at protests

    In an internal email to police officers, Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony W. Batts praised his department’s response to protests in the city on Saturday as “scary good.”

    “In more than 30 years of law enforcement experience, I’ve been involved in many protests. Today, the restraint, professionalism, and attention to duty you demonstrated were nothing short of remarkable,” Batts wrote in an email obtained by The Baltimore Sun. “I am proud and truly humbled to lead this organization. You stood tall in the face of challenge after challenge and you were a credit to the city and your families today.”

    People from across the city, and some from places much farther away, gathered in Baltimore on Saturday to protest the April 12 arrest and subsequent death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray from injuries sustained while in police custody. The protests were mostly peaceful, but shifted later in the evening toward vandalism and violent clashes between police and protesters.

    Police arrested 34 people related to the protests. Six officers sustained injuries. Many other clashes between police and protesters occurred with no arrests taking place.

    Batts, in his email, said these “have been challenging days and there may be more ahead,” but encouraged his officers to keep doing what they have been doing.

    “We will be tested, and as today showed, many will try to provoke you just to record a response. Don’t give it to them,” he wrote. “Once again today, we represented Baltimore on a world-wide stage, and you did so in a very impressive manner.”

    Batts said media “across the country commented on your calm and restraint in the face of extraordinary circumstances,” and asked his team to remain calm and work together.

    “I’m proud, your Command Staff is proud, you should be proud of the honor your actions brought to the badge today,” Batts wrote. “You all were scary good.”

    I sure wish we would stop policing Black rage, and instead, begin policing law enforcement officials who cause said rage. #FreddieGray

    A Litany for Those Slain By Violence and Traumatized By Those Called to “Protect & Serve.” Baltimore. #BlackChurch Worth a read.

    Banner drop: Activists “redesign” the Union Square Forever 21 for all those lost too young. Never21[dot]com

    Activists have “redesigned” the Union Square Forever 21 for all those lost too young. Never21[dot]com

  13. rq says

    Robbinsdale woman shot by police is charged with assault. That’s the story about Tania Harris, shot in the pelvis, sitll recovering – it had somehow slipped my mind that they’d actually charged her for something.

    West #Baltimore: last night vs. tonight

    Defenders exclusive: New video shows Inkster cops laughing while Floyd Dent bleeds. That’s more from Detroit.

    There’s no audio with the video, which may be a good thing for the officers because it looks like the police are reliving the arrest and alleged assault of Dent while he was just off camera and in earshot.

    “He is bleeding like a sieve, there is blood everywhere,” said Rohl. “The officers don’t seem at all disturbed by what happened at the scene. They appear happy, pleased, even celebratory over the arrest of Floyd Dent—a man who was just beaten kicked and tased.

    As the officers continue wiping Dents blood off them, an officer decides to do a little acting. He lies down on a bench and imitates Dent being on the ground at the scene choked by Officer William Melendez. His acting seems to thrill rather than disgust his audience.

    At the same time, Dent is suffering from a closed head injury, broken ribs, and a fractured orbital but had not been allowed to see a doctor for his injuries.

    Dent could not even respond to this video. He told Local 4 he was just too disgusted to respond.

    When a judge looked at the video of the vicious beating following a traffic stop, she was appalled. She threw out multiple charges against him.

    When Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy saw the video she dropped the rest of Dent’s charges and issued criminal charges against Melendez, the now-fired officer caught on tape choking and punching Dent in the head.

    “Mr. Dent’s drug charge will be dismissed to the best interest of justice and accordingly Mr. William Melendez is being charged by our office,” Worthy said last week.

    Niggas walk around with “assata taught me” hoodies all day but won’t show up for black women;
    Assata didn’t teach your misogynistic asses shit.
    We should be embarrassed and angry at how consistently and unapologetically we have failed our women.
    Those last three area very, very small sample of the many, many tweets defending women’s rights to have a march representing them. Because yesterday in STL, they held a Black Women’s Lives Matter rally, and just the fact of the event had huge, huge backlash. But feminism, it doesn’t matter in this post-feminist world. Right?

  14. Pteryxx says

    For navigation, here are page 2 and page 1 of this current thread.

    Citation for the statistic that police killings of black people in March increased 71%: interactive database for March 2015 at Mapping Police Violence dot org

    36 black people were killed by police in March. One black person every 21 hours.

    71% increase in police killings of black people compared to the previous month.

    4x higher chance of being killed by police for a black person compared to a white person.

    47% of black people killed by police were unarmed. [Compared to 16% of white victims.]

    Graph of black people killed by police for the past eight months: 36 in March, 21 in Feb, 24 in Jan, 19 in December 2014, 19 in November, 30 in October, 19 in September, and 43 in August 2014.

    The raw count is taken from a spreadsheet of victims for the month of March, organized by race, also linked on that page.

    After looking at the MappingPoliceViolence graphs for 2014, I would suggest a summer effect where more police killings happen just because more people are out and about in the spring and summer, not necessarily because of media coverage or backlash. That still means the 71% increase in March just foreshadows the months to come.

  15. rq says

    Reading Racist Literature, for the literary types. And everyone else.

    To feel personally insulted when reading old books struck me as provincial, against the spirit of literature. For the purposes of reading an English novel from 1830, I thought, you had to be an upper-class white guy from 1830. You had to be a privileged person, because books always were written by and for privileged people. Today, I was a privileged person, as I was frequently told at the private school my parents scrimped to send me to; someday, I would write a book. In the meantime, Rabelais was dead, so why hold a grudge?

    Earlier this year, I assigned Thomas De Quincey’s “Confessions of an English Opium Eater” in my nonfiction-writing class at Baruch College, part of the City University of New York. Many of my students are first-generation college students, and/or immigrants or first-generation Americans; several of them work forty hours a week in addition to carrying a full course load. They didn’t take a huge liking to De Quincey. “He’s always trying to prove how he’s smarter than everyone else,” one student said, citing the line “From my very earliest youth it has been my pride to converse familiarly, more Socratico, with all human beings, man, woman, and child.”

    I explained that De Quincey would reasonably have expected his readers to know that “more Socratico” was Latin for “after the fashion of Socrates”—that, in 1821, Latin was taught to nearly everyone in a certain class, that people who weren’t in that class generally didn’t read books like this one, and that De Quincey had no way of knowing those things were going to change.

    “O.K., he sounds kind of like an asshole now,” I conceded. “But you have to try to forget that while you’re reading. Believe me, we’re going to look just as bad to future generations.”

    “We are? Why?” a student asked, more Socratico.

    “That’s the whole point—we don’t know!” I said. “Maybe the way we treat animals.”

    That got a few nods—the class felt sorry about the way we treat animals—and we moved on.

    That night, I found myself seriously questioning this assumption I’d held since childhood: “You have to try to forget that while you’re reading.” You do? Why? And, more to the point, how? Obviously, I hadn’t forgotten that line from “Lady Chatterley”: “I’ve asked my man if he will find me a Turk.” Maybe it was because of some inkling that this might still be what life had in store—that Lawrence hadn’t lived all that long ago, and it might still take a “queer, melancholy specimen” to want to marry a Turkish woman.

    Part of the difficulty about such grievances is that they’re so isolating: they single out some people, and glide over the heads of others. Reading De Quincey, I had registered, with a shade of annoyance, the description of “Turkish opium eaters”—“absurd enough to sit, like so many equestrian statues, on logs of wood as stupid as themselves”—but hadn’t been particularly bothered by his claims of being the best Greek scholar in Oxford. For some of my students, those Greek and Latin lines were like an electric fence, keeping them out of the text. How could I not have anything better to tell them than “Try not to think about it”? […]

    The audience “hears” the play in two registers simultaneously: the register of 1859 and the register of 2014. The two are united only in the part of Zoe, which is taken almost intact from Boucicault’s script and played straight by Amber Gray; the harrowing effect is a testament to both of the playwrights, and to the actress. Zoe’s soliloquy on discovering that she is to be sold at an auction—“A slave! A slave! Is this a dream—for my brain reels with the blow?”—affords one of many glimpses at the basic horror that Boucicault, for all his sentimentality, never lost sight of: people, who viewed themselves as the protagonists of their own lives, were sold as property. A similar realization underlies the comic banter, written by Jacobs-Jenkins, of the house slaves Minnie and Dido; their gossip about their lives periodically discloses a horror of which they seem half-oblivious. “Damn,” Minnie says, after a debate over whether it was Rebecca or Lucretia who got sold to the Duponts. “There are too many niggas coming and going on this plantation. I can barely keep track.” In a later scene, when Dido is fretting over whether Zoe will poison herself, Minnie tells her, “You can’t be bringing your work home with you.… I know we slaves and everything, but you are not your job.” It’s funny because it isn’t true.

    How do you rehabilitate your love for art works based on expired and inhuman social values—and why bother? It’s easier to just discard the works that look as ungainly to us now as “The Octoroon.” But if you don’t throw out the past, or gloss it over, you can get something like “An Octoroon”: a work of joy and exasperation and anger that transmutes historical insult into artistic strength.

    Report confirms that police killed Natasha McKenna with her hands cuffed and legs shackled

    This woman was Natasha McKenna, a petite mother of a young child. Any explanation as to why it was acceptable to use a Taser four times on a woman whose hands are handcuffed behind her back, legs restrained, with a mask on is completely bogus.

    Numerous experts said the use of a stun gun on a fully restrained prisoner was an unreasonable use of force, particularly in a jail setting where a person is unlikely to flee. They also said Tasers are not recommended for use on the mentally ill, that even the Taser manufacturer warns against using them on people in a state of “excited delirium,” and that using a stun gun more than three times is thought to be above the threshold for use on a single person.

    “She wasn’t a threat; she wasn’t going anywhere; she was restrained,” said Richard Lichten, a use-of-force expert and former jail official in Los Angeles. “It feels excessive, unnecessary and out of policy, based on what you’re telling me.”

    The truth is, though, that police have been covering up the real details on Natasha’s death for months. Furthermore, multiple sources told NBC that police detectives were denied access to the Fairfax County jail for their investigation into her death. Only after two months of pressure was it revealed that Natasha McKenna was as physically restrained as a human being could possibly be when she was tasered over and over and over and over again.

    Even after all of this, police are not quite clear on why Natasha McKenna was even jailed in the first place. On the day she was arrested, she had actually called the police herself to report being assaulted and appeared to be struggling mightily with mental illness before she bounced around between hospitals and jails for days.

    Calls the police for assistance. Ends up dead.

    State of The Movement. Quick inforgraphic of events since the death of Michael Brown.

    Every #WestWednesday the #TyroneWest family has mobilized. We’ve documented nearly every one, link to youtube channel: Baltimore BLOC – also video links to the Freddie Gray protests.

    Wisconsin police billboard features officer who shot two people in 10 days . Great PR.

    Amidst national tension over perceived police brutality, Kenosha, Wisconsin, a city of roughly 100,000 on the shores of Lake Michigan, just north of Chicago, has come into focus.

    The Kenosha Professional Police Association (KPPA) posted a billboard thanking the community for its support. Some residents question the message behind the ad. It features Pablo Torres, a young officer who shot two people within a 10-day period in March. In the second shooting, Torres killed 26-year-old Aaron Siler.

    Police have said the shooting occurred after a chase, when Torres was confronted with a weapon. A spokesperson for the Siler family, Kathy Willie, told the Guardian the billboard was “hurtful”.

    “To me that doesn’t make the department look good,” she said. “What are they trying to say? Are they trying to say he’s not guilty and they know that for a fact? Why are they thanking him?”

    The investigation is ongoing. Torres is on administrative leave.

    The Kenosha News called for the billboard to come down, and said: “The billboard, and events such as the Back the Badge rally in Pennoyer Park on Saturday, may be intended as support for law enforcement and appreciation for that support, but they could also be seen as attempts to intimidate people who might criticize the police.”

    Another local outlet reported that Torres’s record shows nine citizen complaints for excessive use of force and seven departmental reprimands, including improper chase and failing to appear in court.

    Seems an appropriate face for the local PD.

  16. Pteryxx says

    NY Times opinion by Charles M. Blow on the misuse of the term “lynch mob”: (warning for graphic lynching descriptions at the link) NY Times

    Maybe Mr. Ryan does not appreciate the irony that it was not the officers’ bodies that video showed being dragged limp and screaming through the street, but that of Mr. Gray. Maybe Mr. Ryan does not register coincidence that actual lynching often damages or cuts the spinal cord, and according to a statement by the Gray family’s attorney, Gray’s spine was “80 percent severed at his neck.”

    And this is not the first protest of the killing of people of color where “lynch mobs” have been invoked.

    Fox News’s Howard Kurtz accused “some liberal outlets” of “creating almost a lynch mob mentality” in Ferguson.”

    Possible presidential candidate Mike Huckabee also compared Ferguson protesters to lynch mobs, as did Laura Ingraham, FrontPage magazine and an opinion piece on The Daily Caller.

    In 2013, after almost completely peaceful protests the weekend after George Zimmerman was found not guilty in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, Newt Gingrich said that protesters were “prepared, basically, to be a lynch mob.”

    These “lynch mob” invocations are an incredible misuse of language, in which the lexicon of slaughter, subjugation and suffering are reduced to mere colloquialism, and therefore bleached of the blood in which it was originally written and used against the people who were historically victims of the atrocities.

  17. rq says

    The Family of #FreddieGrey has asked for no protests today or tomorrow – during the wake & funeral. We, @BmoreBloc will respect their wishes.

    Just another word to teacher allies: When your students show up tomorrow in black do not harass them, and do not let them be harassed.

    Staff of @spectator, the mag denouncing a campus meeting for BME women & non-binary ppl. Ta @orbific 4 the tip-off. I believe they were the magazine complaining earlier about not being allowed into a space specifically meant for minority groups – though I can’t be sure, as I understand something similar happened recently at Ryerson (Toronto). Annnyway, there’s a picture of the all-white staff at that link. The irony. Is lost.

    And here is Sharpton’s statement re: #FreddieGray. (h/t @cbsbaltimore) – it’ll probably be in print soon, but here’s a quick preview: he will be going to Baltimore because the police deadline to have a report by May 1 will not be met. He will meet with local activists and bring their and other cases to the new Attorney General.

    This will be a theme next few posts, more comments and thoughts on this from a couple of women in the movement (from Ferguson specifically). No One Showed Up to March for Rekia Boyd Last Night

    Last night in New York City’s Union Square, a modest crowd of about 100 people (depending on who you ask) showed up to rally for Rekia Boyd and Black women and girls who’ve been killed by police. The rally, organized by #BlackLivesMatterNYC, reflects much of what we already know about the value placed on Black women’s lives.

    The narrative on deadly police violence continues to exclude women, and precious few are willing to fight for justice both within the community and outside of it. A judge, this week, acquitted Rekia’s killer, Dante Servin, of all charges. But Rekia’s name will not spark a mass movement.
    In the same city where thousands flooded the frigid streets months ago in the name of Eric Garner, few could be seen. We sent a photographer to capture the crowd. The images are a somber, moving reminder that the work is ongoing. Thanks to Marino Mauricette.

    This particular article is a repost here, a sample of a deeper issue.

  18. rq says

  19. rq says

  20. rq says

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  22. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Chicago, you’re facing financial woes why exactly?

    With 49 elementary schools closing this summer, with pensions being slashed, and with public services being cut all over Chicago, the city now admits it has paid out over $521 million in settlements and legal fees due to police violence, misconduct ,and abuse over the past 10 years alone—with a whopping 500 cases still pending.

    But of course, it will never end without wholesale cultural change. Currently officers like this spend years on the force getting away with who-knows-what before finally being convicted.

    He asked her what she was doing, … then shocked her with his Taser…. Walters ordered her to put her hands behind her back, then shocked her four more times before she could respond, prosecutors said.

    By the time Brown responded, Walters had determined Davis did nothing wrong and was removing the Taser probes from her back. Brown [then] noticed one of Davis’ hands had slipped from her improperly applied handcuffs and ordered everyone to move away and shocked Davis again, even though she was not trying to fight or escape, according to court papers.

    Brown shocked Davis twice more, then offered to let her go if he could shoot her in the forehead one more time with his Taser, prosecutors said.

    So… you shock her because you noticed while you were releasing her from custody that her handcuffs weren’t secure? Because when you’re releasing her from custody, the most important thing is that she remain shackled? WTF?

    Apparently there were many jokes about that offer to let her go if he could shoot her in the forehead/between the eyes (I wonder why they don’t use that latter formulation in the press reports?)

  23. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Just when you think that police culture couldn’t be worse?

    Yeah. It’s worse.

    As the officers continue wiping Dents blood off them, an officer decides to do a little acting. He lies down on a bench and imitates Dent being on the ground at the scene choked by Officer William Melendez. His acting seems to thrill rather than disgust his audience.

    You know that this shit happens sometimes, but this really large part of you doesn’t want to believe it. I used to work with police officers. It was in a part of the country not particularly known for abusive policing or for lethal cops (though I was more than aware of these things on occasion, “not particularly known” is not the same as “it doesn’t happen”). That area hasn’t had a video like this come out. And even though I know better, even though I know that just because the odds are high this one officer isn’t someone who gets off on the idea of excessive force that doesn’t mean that the odds are high that none of the officers with whom I worked got off on the idea of excessive force, …and still I have a hard time visualizing this happening in my town.

    Don’t believe it for a minute. Even if it’s not happening in your town, the only way to keep it from happening in your home town is to act like it just might at any minute.

  24. rq says

    Right now, in Baltimore, pepper spray, riot police and possible use of tear gas (or something smoke-like that the police are using towards crowds). Tweets on that tomorrow, but they basically shut down all public services that might allow crowds (esp. high school kids, some of this stuff is happening in a standoff with fucking high school kids) to disperse because of possible ‘gang violence’. Setting the stage for themselves, I suppose…

  25. leerudolph says

    It’s only March.

    Oh, thank goodness; the project I’m avoiding finishing (by reading Pharyngula) is not, in fact, 27 days over deadline!

  26. says

    Update; according to CNN and Reuters, the governor of Maryland has declared a state of emergency in Baltimore and has activated the National Gard.

    Lots of photos of burned out and smashed cop vehicles.

    Heard earlier from a friend that the Baltimore Metro has been shut down, hindering many residents ability to leave the areas where rioting is occurring, including students; I’ve been told there is no school bus system inside the city and that most students rely on the metro to get to and from school.

  27. says

    Reuters and wbtv.com are reporting that a 10pm to 5am curfew will be instituted starting tomorrow, to last for at least a week.

    National Guard to be deployed as soon as possible –Reuters

    —-
    Seeing in a couple of places that peaceful protesters are still allowed/still occurring in spite of violence.

  28. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Damn, I didn’t want any rioting. Fucking hell.

    Fucking fascists are just going to lovvvvvve them this rioting.

  29. says

    Senior Center (or senior housing, conflicting reports), apparently newly built, on fire.


    Baltimore City schools closed tomorrow.
    —-
    Just saw a vine of a young man with a messenger bag and his hands up get body-slammed by a cop, knocked to the ground and arrested. Video is a Vine so no context. Video on Twitter #BaltimoreRiots

  30. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Saw that photo too.

    National guard is going to be deployed AGAIN with orders that frame the outraged citizens of the USA as enemy combatants AGAIN.

    AGAIN when the citizens are furious at unjustified use of force, the response is MOAR FORCE!

    I saw a picture of a looter…with one package of toilet paper and some other paper products, looked like maybe napkins, maybe diapers. The looter **also** had the capacity to carry much more, but didn’t. It may well be that the person is a complete jerk and grabbed everything in reach, but damn. That person thought snatching a 12 pack of TP was worth running through broken glass in the middle of a mob? Is that person just grabbing some needed necessities that would have been purchased if the store was intact and open?

    Fuck if I know, but looters carrying toilet paper, it’s gotta make you question where the fuck in all this any justice lies. One fuckhead breaks some glass windows on stores, some person who has robbed in the past takes the opportunity, and suddenly all these folk who wouldn’t have done anything like that are looting. I’m not saying that they’re blameless, but there’s a great deal of psych studies that show decision making is really different in those contexts.

    And now **not only** are cops are going to use it to justify treating the entire population as if they’re just waiting for their moment to commit violent crime, but the governor is validating that view.

    And treating absolutely anyone who happens to more quickly as ZOMG a safety threat to the Universe! is exactly the attitude that led to police killing Freddie Gray int eh first place.

    If I were governor, I’d invite every county commissioner, every one I’d appointed to anything, every state-wide elected official, all of ’em to come down to Baltimore UNARMED and simply meet the situation the way it deserves – with gravity but with peace. Talk with the majority of protestors that want their protest actually remembered for its message and not for ancillary violence and between the elected officials and protestors, there will be enough folk to hold back the violent and to record their faces for civil and criminal liability if absolutely necessary.

    Yes, after-the-fact enforcement is less than ideal…the damage is already done. But

    1) before the fact force to prevent law-breaking is unconstitutional
    and
    2) you’re obviously still getting damage. Having the cops fire gas at the protestors and throw rocks at the protesters is only making things worse.

  31. Saad says

    The language they’re using is making my stomach turn

    Baltimore PD

    Groups of violent criminals are continuing to throw rocks, bricks, and other items at police officers.

    “Groups of violent criminals”

    Fucking look in the mirror!

  32. says

    Reports now saying that the senior center/housing fire may not be related to the riots. Hard to find solid sources.


    Also, if you value your stomach staying in place do not, I repeat, Do Not, read #BaltimoreRiots. For every single tweet that is useful information, there are 200 that are racist bile.

  33. rq says

    So going to have a few pictures of the beginning, when it was just a funeral and people protesting peacefully.
    Well first about the funeral, it was a media feeding frenzy: The family & community are yelling to the media “MOVE BACK” so they can bring the family out. The media isn’t budging, so there was some heightened emotion there.

    Following a request by police, a request by citizens was made: Dear @BaltimorePolice: Please remain peaceful. Several of our citizens have been killed.

    Here is what excused the BD riot gear, a ‘credible threat’ of gang violence: Excuse for open season on POC RT @ABC Info received of “credible threat” from gangs seeking to “take-out” LEO’s. See statement attached. Bloods and Crips have entered into a partnership to take out police, apparently – I heard they had just declared a truce in order to focus on police brutality, but hey. Let’s not argue words here, right?
    Speaking of the Bloods and the Crips, Bloods and Crips Team Up to Protest Baltimore’s Cops. I suppose things get dangerous when the oppressed realize they have bigger issues than fighting each other.

    Editor’s Note: Hours after this story published, the Baltimore Police Department issued a warning about a “credible threat” against law enforcement from gangs who they say have formed a partnership to “take out” officers. A police spokesman declined to say whether the threat is related to Freddie Gray’s death.

    Before protests over Freddie Gray’s death turned chaotic, an unlikely alliance was born in Baltimore on Saturday: Rivals from the Bloods and the Crips agreed to march side by side against police brutality.

    The alleged gang members are pictured on social media crowding together with Nation of Islam activists, who told The Daily Beast they brokered the truce in honor of Gray, who died last week after sustaining spinal injuries while in police custody.

    In one photo, a gang activist in a red sweatshirt crouches to fit into a group photo with rivals decked out in blue bandanas.

    “I can say with honesty those brothers demonstrated they can be united for a common good,” said Carlos Muhammad, a minister at Nation of Islam’s Mosque No. 6. “At the rally, they made the call that they must be united on that day. It should be commended.”

    The detente was only a small part of the demonstration drawing 1,200 people to Baltimore’s City Hall, but it raised eyebrows among activists. Are things so bad that even Baltimore’s gang adversaries are joining forces to combat law enforcement?

    “We can unite and stop killing one another,” Muhammad told The Daily Beast, “and the Bloods and the Crips can help rebuild their community.”

    DeRay McKesson, an organizer known for his work in Ferguson, also confirmed the street-crime ceasefire. He live-tweeted Saturday’s mostly peaceful demonstration, which later descended into clashes with police and smashed storefronts and cop cars, and alerted followers of a possible respite in gangland.

    “The fight against police brutality has united people in many ways that we have not seen regularly, and that’s really powerful,” McKesson told The Daily Beast. “The reality is, police have been terrorizing black people as far back as we can remember. It will take all of us coming together to change a corrupt system.”

    Still, it’s not the first time gangsters called a truce to focus on another foe. In August, the MadameNoire web publication reported on two former Bloods and Crips rivals in St. Louis—now protesting against police in Ferguson, Missouri—who held a sign in red and blue letters: “NO MORE CRIPS. NO MORE BLOODS. ONE PEOPLE. NO GANG ZONE.”

    Some photos from a couple of days ago, too.

    Oh, and then the BPD started closing shit down: The Baltimore City Police Dept. is now telling some universities to close as they are saying there are “credible threats” of gang violence.
    More of this next comment.

  34. rq says

    Love this headline. Police targeted, stores looted in Baltimore riots. The cops were fucking everywhere, so it’s not like they were hard to hit.

    Rioters looted stores and pelted police with rocks in Baltimore on Monday after the funeral of an African American man whose death in custody has reignited outrage over US police conduct towards blacks.

    Maryland Governor Larry Hogan declared a state of emergency in the port city of 620,000 and activated the National Guard as rioters prowled in small groups, ransacking shops and trashing police vehicles. Other cars were set on fire.

    At least seven officers were injured in the violence, and police said one was “unresponsive.”

    Local and state police in riot gear struggled to restore order as the rioters veered off in different directions, refusing to heed dispersal orders.

    “We have seven officers injured during the course of this. They have broken bones; one is unresponsive,” Baltimore police spokesman Captain Eric Kowalczyk told reporters.

    “You’re going to see tear gas… We’re going to use appropriate methods to ensure that we’re able to preserve the safety of that community.”

    NBC affiliate WBAL reported there had been at least one arrest, and the Baltimore Orioles baseball team postponed its evening game against the Chicago White Sox.

    That covers the night in short.
    Here’s another: Hogan declares emergency and activates Guard; mayor imposes curfew, with pictures a lot more ominous (gas masks!). This one is a text update, actually, with the last update:

    Maryland’s governor says activating the National Guard to help police with riots in Baltimore was a last resort.

    Gov. Larry Hogan said Monday night that he did not make the decision lightly. He earlier declared a state of emergency, activating the Guard. Hogan took office in January.

    The call for the Guard comes after people set cars on fire, looted businesses and threw bricks at police officers, hours after the funeral for Freddie Gray.

    Gray died after suffering injuries in police custody.

    Univ. of Maryland Baltimore says it has closed early at recommendation of police dept. due to threat of “potentially violent” activities.
    They’ve closed Mondawmin Mall and Target, too, at the request of the Baltimore Police because of the “threat of gang violence.”
    And the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office is allowing people to leave early because of the threat of “gang violence.”
    I had one about banks, too.

    The Baltimore PD announcement re: the “credible threat” of gang violence is meant to preemptively make all groups of black people guilty.

  35. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @Saad, #38:

    Groups of violent criminals are continuing to throw rocks, bricks, and other items at police officers.

    “Groups of violent criminals”

    Fucking look in the mirror!

    Did you see the photo and video of a cop in riot gear picking up chunks of concrete and hurling them at protestors?

    Perhaps the Baltimore PD meant to say something more like:

    Groups of violent criminals are continuing to throw rocks, bricks, and other items at groups of violent criminals.

    ….

    Also? Yeah, they finally admitted it: They didn’t put a seatbelt on Freddie Grey when he had no control over his body.

    At least one ex-Baltimore cop has written or stated that it was common in Baltimore to leave off the seatbelt and give the arrestee a “rough ride” by telling the driver to make some hard turns & hit extra pot holes and speed bumps on the way to the station. Now that they’ve admitted they left the seatbelt off a man who couldn’t use AT LEAST his legs (the fact that they’re dragging him by the arms in the video doesn’t mean his arms were under Grey’s conscious control, it means we can’t see either way whether they were under his conscious control), is absolutely **anyone** willing to bet on that being anything other than part of a deliberate strategy to fuck with him that included leaving off the seatbelt and **at least** “rough ride” instructions – if not even more abusive tactics?

  36. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    I’ve been thinking about Kent State since they called out the ND in Missouri to “deal with” Fergusson’s folks.

  37. rq says

  38. rq says

    Quick break from Baltimore, another man shot in STL last night – during the Freddie Gray funeral, as it were. Fleeing man fired at officers before being shot by them, St. Louis police say

    A suspect who ran from an officer investigating a stolen vehicle fired at pursuing officers and was shot when they returned fire, according to the St. Louis Police Department.

    The man is expected to survive, and no officers were injured in the shooting just before noon Monday, according to St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson.

    Police said one suspect, a man in his early 40s, had been taken to a hospital after the shooting, in the 5000 block of Ridge Avenue. The scene is southwest of Kingshighway and Martin Luther King Drive, near Sherman Park.

    The injured suspect is black. Officers involved in the shooting included two black officers and one white officer, Dotson said during a press conference at the scene.

    Another black man shot by 12 in North St. Louis.

    Officers still searching the field with metal detectors. Annnyway.
    Back to Baltimore.

    What in the actual eff? The #Baltimore mayoral office’s official Twitter account is using the hashtag BaltmoreRiots. And that’s before there was anything close to a riot.

    #Baltimore

    Speaking of officers throwing rocks, here’s a link to the video: Baltimore Police Officers throwing rocks at student protesters.

  39. rq says

    This was a high school WALKOUT. And the police showed up with riot gear after learning of it via Twitter. #FreddieGray

    The response right now in #Baltimore to protesting, which has incited basically a riot, is for high schoolers. Children 13-18. #FreddieGray
    That just seems like a really ,really key point to highlight: this all started because some high school kids walked out. And the police saw a credible threat.

    Kinda hard to identify ur kids w/pepperspray in your eyes RT @BaltimorePolice we are asking for PARENTS to please bring your children home. I could laugh.

    The rock-throwing cop: Baltimore Cop Caught on Camera Throwing Rock Back at Protesters

    Clashes between Baltimore police and protesters today reportedly left seven cops injured, including one that was left unconscious and others with broken bones, according to media reports.

    But so far, the mainstream media has not made any mention of police throwing rocks at protesters, even though one of their overhead helicopters captured it on camera.

    The footage was downloaded by a viewer and uploaded to Youtube, which you can see below.

    It’s short. Fifteen seconds. But it shows a cop hurling a rock at protesters before the protesters swarmed them, forcing them to run back.

    The second video appears to be the same incident but captured on the ground from behind.

    The clashes took place this afternoon after the funeral of Freddie Gray, the 25-year-old man who died in police custody with police refusing to explain how he died.

    A Baltimore police captain said one cop was left “unresponsive” which is the exact way they described Gray when they transported him to a hospital after dragging him into the back of a police van two weeks ago.

    But the captain still did not elaborate on the “credible threat” they spoke about earlier that the Bloods and Crips gang joining forces to “take out” police officers.

    When pressed by a reporter at a press conference today, Captain J. Eric Kowalczyk said they gathered that information through “intelligence,” which means they probably based it on earlier news reports that the gangs had called a truce to protest against police for the death of Gray.

    The youths throwing rocks in the videos below do not appear to be wearing any gang colors.

    It’s a group of more than one black person. Must be a gang.

    One Tweet Shows the Hypocrisy of the Media’s Reaction to Riots in Baltimore – and here it is!

    A false narrative: The vast majority of people who turned out to protest Freddie Gray’s death on Saturday didn’t engage in violence, smash windows or hurl beer bottles at people. Out of the more than 2,000 people who marched to City Hall that afternoon, Al-Jazeera America reports that about 100 were responsible for the chaos. CNN noted that there was an “overwhelming peaceful majority” and that members of protests put themselves between the “small group” of angry demonstrators and police lines, leading Police Commissioner Anthony Batts to thank the peacemakers in the crowd.

    Despite the fact that there have been peaceful protests in Baltimore every day since Gray died on April 19, some folks seem determined to frame the narrative around the actions of a disgruntled minority.

    As Mic’s Zak Cheney-Rice previously pointed out while covering the protests in Ferguson, Missouri over the death of 18-year-old unarmed black man Mike Brown at the hands of police, somehow the media doesn’t react with the same kind of breathless denunciations when white college students turn unruly […]

    Somehow, photos of peaceful protesters intervening — the same peacemakers the police commissioner credited with helping to neutralize the angry minority — aren’t getting the same coverage. […]

    Why you should care: Disproportionate focus on the violent actions of a few hurt, pained and disenfranchised people unfairly ignores the much larger peaceful movement protesting Gray’s death. It paints an entire minority community as intrinsically violent and unreasonable when, in fact, they are the ones under siege by a police department that has paid out millions of dollars to the plaintiffs of excessive force lawsuits. Officers in Baltimore have been accused of vicious misconduct on a regular basis.

    “Please don’t allow a few angry protesters shift the focus of what created this movement in the city,” local activist Albert Phillips wrote on Facebook. “Rioting and looting is only a reaction to compounded injustice. The larger issue here is police brutality. Stay focused.”

    When the police have so clearly lost the trust of the public, there’s a bigger problem than one night of rioting at hand. Baltimore’s residents deserve better than for the nation to ignore that problem.

    US human rights crisis exposed to world: Activist

    Press TV has conducted an interview with Ajamu Baraka, a human rights activist in Cali, Colombia, to discuss police brutality against African Americans in the United States.

    The following is a rough transcription of the interview.

    Press TV: When it comes to the situation as far as racial profiling in the United States goes, it was hopes that after images coming out of Ferguson particularly and the Department of Justice report, things would be better. Why have they not changed though?

    Baraka: Because the issues in the US are systemic. They are not connected to any issue of so-called bad apples, but they are in fact endemic to the US system.

    Part of the problem with what happened with Ferguson was not just the report that was done that condemned the Ferguson police forces, but the failure on the part of the federal government to hold accountable the killer cop that was involved in the shooting. In this situation in Ferguson and the failure of the federal government to be proactive in terms of real accountability, is something that has been in place across the country. It is part of the history of the US.

    The US has an ongoing human rights crisis that it can no longer shield from the international community, and that is really the main concern of the authorities that the human rights hypocrisy of the US has been finally and formally exposed to the international community.

    Press TV: The US still continues to claim that it is a post-racial society, specifically when you see that the country has elected an African American to the office of the presidency?

    Baraka: That is mythology. Basically, it really does not matter the pigmentation, the race of the individual who occupies an office. It is connected to what objective interests does that individual uphold, and we know that that particular structure, that position, upholds the interest of concentrated white power in the US and globally.

    So Barack Obama, his Attorney General Eric Holder, they have been very effective in upholding the oppressive power of the European dominant class in the US.

    So post-racialism is a mythology, especially when you look at the fact that he was elected three years after Katrina, a situation where basically it was absolutely clear that the value of black life was not the same as the value of white life.

    Press TV: There are some who do claim that the reason that we are seeing such high numbers of African Americans incarcerated or even killed and becoming victims of police brutality is because of the high crime rates within the black community. How would you respond to that?

    Baraka: The basic objective is that the crime rates are going down in the black community, but we have had an intensification of police in those communities. Why? Because the objective here again is to create a situation where the anticipated uprising from these communities have been marginalized politically and economically to be able to intensify the control and containment measures of these communities.

    So this is part of the internal contradictions we have in the US, that basically you have crime rates going down but yet you have an intensification of police in those same communities.

    It is a contradiction that again has been finally exposed to the international community.

  40. rq says

    Respect to the people of this neighborhood, cleaning up the debris left behind by the police #FreddieGray

    They’ve incited a riot. Flat out. They = police.

    Yo…police pepper sprayed a 6y/o boy in the face and there are white folks commenting “that’s what you get for bringing a child”. Bruh…

    #Ferguson currently in solidarity with #BALTIMORE #FreddieGray

    The Baltimore police chief said they were outnumbered and outflanked. Cops prevented a lot of kids from going home, so, yeah, I imagine.

    Hey, Step Back with the Riot Shaming

    On August 11, 1965, the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles exploded after a confrontation with police grew to a critical mass. The neighborhood smoldered for six days. Almost a thousand buildings were looted and burned to the ground. The unrest marked an important turn in the struggle against an overtly racist America. That was forty-nine years ago today.

    Listen: police in this country attack poor people of color. It’s happening. Like, it’s still happening. Every day. All across the country. It’s been happening. The story of America is an uninterrupted chapter book of brutality and horrific violence. Racist violence in America is a story with no interludes.

    The narrative of “progress” steadily advances divorced from the reality on the streets. For all the online discourse about oppression, identity, and ‘shaming’, there is a disturbing lack of insight and nuance when it comes to riots, vandalism, and looting in the wake of these unsettling acts of violence against people of color. So I thought I’d put together my responses to the phenomenon of “riot shaming” – the policing of young black and brown bodies in the aftermath of police murder. […]

    In closing, I’d like to offer a message to the youth: with murderous cops on the loose, the safest place to be a young black or brown person in America is in the streets with all of your friends. Stay tight.

    Police apologists: if you still think a few looted shops ‘distract from the message’, wait until you see the guillotines.

    In between are five rebuttals for the riot shamers, those who like to talk about distraction from the message or black community leaders opposing violence.

  41. rq says

    Two things that stand out:
    1) The press and everyone seem to be waiting for Freddie Gray’s family to make some kind of statement – they just had the fucking funeral yesterday, what statements are they expected to make? Leave them the fuck alone.
    2) Baltimore schools are closed tomorrow. For… safety reasons? Anyway, that’s about 80 000 (by twitter estimate) kids who will have nowhere to go tomorrow. Makes sense, doesn’t it?

    Mish-mash of last night’s events and commentary upcoming, I want breakfast.

  42. rq says

    SO of course there were a couple of press conferences where the authoritehs of various stripes spoke.
    Here’s police commissioner Batts:
    “These are Baltimore youthful residents… Wish I had more parents who took charge of the students,” Commissioner Batts #FreddieGray
    And Commissioner Bratts is calling 14-17 year old teens, young adults #FreddieGray
    You have to remember, Batts is also black. And here he is.

    For some background, The Brutality of Police Culture in Baltimore. An examination of more than 100 cases over 3, 4 years. Think about that – and those are only the ones where they paid compensation to someone.

    In Baltimore, where 25-year-old Freddie Gray died shortly after being taken into police custody, an investigation may uncover homicidal misconduct by law enforcement, as happened in the North Charleston, South Carolina, killing of Walter Scott. Or the facts may confound the darkest suspicions of protestors, as when the Department of Justice released its report on the killing of Michael Brown.

    What’s crucial to understand, as Baltimore residents take to the streets in long-simmering frustration, is that their general grievances are valid regardless of how this case plays out. For as in Ferguson, where residents suffered through years of misconduct so egregious that most Americans could scarcely conceive of what was going on, the people of Baltimore are policed by an entity that perpetrates stunning abuses. The difference is that this time we needn’t wait for a DOJ report to tell us so. Harrowing evidence has been presented. Yet America hasn’t looked.

    I include myself.

    Despite actively reading and commenting on police misconduct for many years, I was unaware until yesterday that the Baltimore Sun published a searing 2014 article documenting recent abuses that are national scandals in their own rights.
    […]

    So I join all who say that protests in Baltimore should remain peaceful, and I will continue to withhold judgment about Gray’s death until more facts are known.

    But I also insist that Baltimore protests are appropriate regardless of what happened to Freddie Gray, as is more federal scrutiny and intervention. Although much was rightly made of Ferguson’s racially unrepresentative local leadership, the presence of a black mayor and a diverse city council has not solved Baltimore’s police problem, partly because the DOJ responded to revelations of epidemic brutality with less than the full-scale civil rights probe that some residents requested and because Maryland pols have thwarted reform bills urged by city leaders.

    There are so many good reasons for locals to be outraged. […]

    $5.7 million is the amount the city paid to victims of brutality between 2011 and 2014. And as huge as that figure is, the more staggering number in the article is this one: “Over the past four years, more than 100 people have won court judgments or settlements related to allegations of brutality and civil-rights violations.” What tiny percentage of the unjustly beaten win formal legal judgments?

    If you’re imagining that they were all men in their twenties, think again:

    Victims include a 15-year-old boy riding a dirt bike, a 26-year-old pregnant accountant who had witnessed a beating, a 50-year-old woman selling church raffle tickets, a 65-year-old church deacon rolling a cigarette and an 87-year-old grandmother aiding her wounded grandson. Those cases detail a frightful human toll. Officers have battered dozens of residents who suffered broken bones — jaws, noses, arms, legs, ankles — head trauma, organ failure, and even death, coming during questionable arrests. Some residents were beaten while handcuffed; others were thrown to the pavement.

    The 87-year-old grandmother was named Venus Green. A former teacher with two college degrees, she spent her retirement years as a foster parent for needy children. She was on her porch one day when her grandson ran up crying for an ambulance.

    He’d been shot.

    The article goes on to tell her story from a legal document in her successful lawsuit:

    Paramedics and police responded to the emergency call, but the white officer became hostile. “What happened? Who shot you?” Green recalled the officer saying to her grandson, according to an 11-page letter in which she detailed the incident for her lawyer. Excerpts from the letter were included in her lawsuit. “You’re lying. You know you were shot inside that house. We ain’t going to help you because you are lying.”

    “Mister, he isn’t lying,” replied Green, who had no criminal record. “He came from down that way running, calling me to call the ambulance.”

    The officer, who is not identified in the lawsuit, wanted to go into the basement, but Green demanded a warrant. Her grandson kept two dogs downstairs and she feared they would attack. The officer unhooked the lock, but Green latched it. He shoved Green against the wall.

    She hit the wooden floor. “Bitch, you ain’t no better than any of the other old black bitches I have locked up,” Green recalled the officer saying as he stood over her. “He pulled me up, pushed me in the dining room over the couch, put his knees in my back, twisted my arms and wrist and put handcuffs on my hands and threw me face down on the couch.”

    After pulling Green to her feet, the officer told her she was under arrest. Green complained of pain. “My neck and shoulder are hurting,” Green told him. “Please take these handcuffs off.” An African-American officer then walked in the house, saw her sobbing and asked that the handcuffs be removed since Green wasn’t violent. The cuffs came off, and Green didn’t face any charges. But a broken shoulder tormented her for months.

    When pondering the fact that Baltimore paid out $5.7 million in brutality settlements over four years, consider that the payout in this case was just $95,000. (For the story of the pregnant woman and many others, the full article is here.) […]

    There was a murder-suicide, with a policeman killing a firefighter, his girlfriend, and himself. There was a different officer who killed himself in jail after being charged with killing his fiancée. In yet another case, “Abdul Salaam, 36, says he was beaten in July 2013 after a traffic stop by officers Nicholas Chapman and Jorge Bernardez-Ruiz and that he never got a response to his complaint filed with internal affairs,” The Sun reported. “Those officers would be implicated less than three weeks later in the death of 44-year-old Tyrone West while he was in police custody.” Also in 2013, a jury acquitted an off-duty police officer on manslaughter charges after he chased down and killed a 17-year-old boy who may or may not have thrown a rock that thumped harmlessly into his front door. And that’s not even getting into serious corruption that wasn’t brutality.

    I could go on, but I’ve long since started to skim past stories like “Baltimore police officer pimps out his own wife” and thinking, meh, I’ve seen worse from cops there. The cop who shot himself and lied about it to get worker’s comp benefits? Meh, at least he didn’t shoot someone else and then lie about what happened. There is just a staggering level of dysfunction in the department, and residents of Baltimore, a city that could use a professional crime-fighting force if ever there was one, have suffered under it year after year after year. Pick one. (Take 2008! A Baltimore cop shot a man twice in the back. He was acquitted, too.)

    There is so much I haven’t included (example), and I’ve just trawled through the archives of The Baltimore Sun for a two-year period. They cover most police-involved deaths, but no newspaper covers more than a minuscule subset of use-of-force incidents.

    So no wonder protestors are out in Baltimore after this latest death.

    No wonder that a meeting on police brutality this week had to be moved to a bigger venue because so many Baltimore residents are concerned enough to come out in person. “Dozens of residents—most of them black—inundated federal officials with their assertions that city police have been brutalizing residents with impunity,” a just-published Baltimore Sun article reports. It includes a quote from a 35-year-old who asked the feds, “When are you all going to help us?”

    The article spoken about is this one, UNDUE FORCE, linked also somewhere on page 2 of this thread. It’s rather long. With good reason.

    City of Baltimore says they will review video & hold protestors accountable. Can they review video & hold #FreddieGray killers accountable?! That’s from Chris Rock. Good to see a prominent celebrity voice chiming in.

    Yes, Black America Fears The Police. Here’s Why. It’s also a repost, which, via a specific incident, details why black people tend not to call the cops when something happens – and this is a mild case, that ended relatively well.

  43. rq says

    SO of course there were a couple of press conferences where the authoritehs of various stripes spoke.
    Here’s police commissioner Batts:
    “These are Baltimore youthful residents… Wish I had more parents who took charge of the students,” Commissioner Batts #FreddieGray
    And Commissioner Bratts is calling 14-17 year old teens, young adults #FreddieGray
    You have to remember, Batts is also black. And here he is.

    For some background, The Brutality of Police Culture in Baltimore. An examination of more than 100 cases over 3, 4 years. Think about that – and those are only the ones where they paid compensation to someone.

    In Baltimore, where 25-year-old Freddie Gray died shortly after being taken into police custody, an investigation may uncover homicidal misconduct by law enforcement, as happened in the North Charleston, South Carolina, killing of Walter Scott. Or the facts may confound the darkest suspicions of protestors, as when the Department of Justice released its report on the killing of Michael Brown.

    What’s crucial to understand, as Baltimore residents take to the streets in long-simmering frustration, is that their general grievances are valid regardless of how this case plays out. For as in Ferguson, where residents suffered through years of misconduct so egregious that most Americans could scarcely conceive of what was going on, the people of Baltimore are policed by an entity that perpetrates stunning abuses. The difference is that this time we needn’t wait for a DOJ report to tell us so. Harrowing evidence has been presented. Yet America hasn’t looked.

    I include myself.

    Despite actively reading and commenting on police misconduct for many years, I was unaware until yesterday that the Baltimore Sun published a searing 2014 article documenting recent abuses that are national scandals in their own rights.
    […]

    So I join all who say that protests in Baltimore should remain peaceful, and I will continue to withhold judgment about Gray’s death until more facts are known.

    But I also insist that Baltimore protests are appropriate regardless of what happened to Freddie Gray, as is more federal scrutiny and intervention. Although much was rightly made of Ferguson’s racially unrepresentative local leadership, the presence of a black mayor and a diverse city council has not solved Baltimore’s police problem, partly because the DOJ responded to revelations of epidemic brutality with less than the full-scale civil rights probe that some residents requested and because Maryland pols have thwarted reform bills urged by city leaders.

    There are so many good reasons for locals to be outraged. […]

    $5.7 million is the amount the city paid to victims of brutality between 2011 and 2014. And as huge as that figure is, the more staggering number in the article is this one: “Over the past four years, more than 100 people have won court judgments or settlements related to allegations of brutality and civil-rights violations.” What tiny percentage of the unjustly beaten win formal legal judgments?

    If you’re imagining that they were all men in their twenties, think again:

    Victims include a 15-year-old boy riding a dirt bike, a 26-year-old pregnant accountant who had witnessed a beating, a 50-year-old woman selling church raffle tickets, a 65-year-old church deacon rolling a cigarette and an 87-year-old grandmother aiding her wounded grandson. Those cases detail a frightful human toll. Officers have battered dozens of residents who suffered broken bones — jaws, noses, arms, legs, ankles — head trauma, organ failure, and even death, coming during questionable arrests. Some residents were beaten while handcuffed; others were thrown to the pavement.

    The 87-year-old grandmother was named Venus Green. A former teacher with two college degrees, she spent her retirement years as a foster parent for needy children. She was on her porch one day when her grandson ran up crying for an ambulance.

    He’d been shot.

    The article goes on to tell her story from a legal document in her successful lawsuit:

    Paramedics and police responded to the emergency call, but the white officer became hostile. “What happened? Who shot you?” Green recalled the officer saying to her grandson, according to an 11-page letter in which she detailed the incident for her lawyer. Excerpts from the letter were included in her lawsuit. “You’re lying. You know you were shot inside that house. We ain’t going to help you because you are lying.”

    “Mister, he isn’t lying,” replied Green, who had no criminal record. “He came from down that way running, calling me to call the ambulance.”

    The officer, who is not identified in the lawsuit, wanted to go into the basement, but Green demanded a warrant. Her grandson kept two dogs downstairs and she feared they would attack. The officer unhooked the lock, but Green latched it. He shoved Green against the wall.

    She hit the wooden floor. “B*tch, you ain’t no better than any of the other old black b*tches I have locked up,” Green recalled the officer saying as he stood over her. “He pulled me up, pushed me in the dining room over the couch, put his knees in my back, twisted my arms and wrist and put handcuffs on my hands and threw me face down on the couch.”

    After pulling Green to her feet, the officer told her she was under arrest. Green complained of pain. “My neck and shoulder are hurting,” Green told him. “Please take these handcuffs off.” An African-American officer then walked in the house, saw her sobbing and asked that the handcuffs be removed since Green wasn’t violent. The cuffs came off, and Green didn’t face any charges. But a broken shoulder tormented her for months.

    When pondering the fact that Baltimore paid out $5.7 million in brutality settlements over four years, consider that the payout in this case was just $95,000. (For the story of the pregnant woman and many others, the full article is here.) […]

    There was a murder-suicide, with a policeman killing a firefighter, his girlfriend, and himself. There was a different officer who killed himself in jail after being charged with killing his fiancée. In yet another case, “Abdul Salaam, 36, says he was beaten in July 2013 after a traffic stop by officers Nicholas Chapman and Jorge Bernardez-Ruiz and that he never got a response to his complaint filed with internal affairs,” The Sun reported. “Those officers would be implicated less than three weeks later in the death of 44-year-old Tyrone West while he was in police custody.” Also in 2013, a jury acquitted an off-duty police officer on manslaughter charges after he chased down and killed a 17-year-old boy who may or may not have thrown a rock that thumped harmlessly into his front door. And that’s not even getting into serious corruption that wasn’t brutality.

    I could go on, but I’ve long since started to skim past stories like “Baltimore police officer pimps out his own wife” and thinking, meh, I’ve seen worse from cops there. The cop who shot himself and lied about it to get worker’s comp benefits? Meh, at least he didn’t shoot someone else and then lie about what happened. There is just a staggering level of dysfunction in the department, and residents of Baltimore, a city that could use a professional crime-fighting force if ever there was one, have suffered under it year after year after year. Pick one. (Take 2008! A Baltimore cop shot a man twice in the back. He was acquitted, too.)

    There is so much I haven’t included (example), and I’ve just trawled through the archives of The Baltimore Sun for a two-year period. They cover most police-involved deaths, but no newspaper covers more than a minuscule subset of use-of-force incidents.

    So no wonder protestors are out in Baltimore after this latest death.

    No wonder that a meeting on police brutality this week had to be moved to a bigger venue because so many Baltimore residents are concerned enough to come out in person. “Dozens of residents—most of them black—inundated federal officials with their assertions that city police have been brutalizing residents with impunity,” a just-published Baltimore Sun article reports. It includes a quote from a 35-year-old who asked the feds, “When are you all going to help us?”

    The article spoken about is this one, UNDUE FORCE, linked also somewhere on page 2 of this thread. It’s rather long. With good reason.

    City of Baltimore says they will review video & hold protestors accountable. Can they review video & hold #FreddieGray killers accountable?! That’s from Chris Rock. Good to see a prominent celebrity voice chiming in.

    Yes, Black America Fears The Police. Here’s Why. It’s also a repost, which, via a specific incident, details why black people tend not to call the cops when something happens – and this is a mild case, that ended relatively well.

  44. rq says

    @BaltoSpectator
    Here is what happened this afternoon according to a #Baltimore public teacher
    – see attached text. In short, school children were forced off buses because the buses were cancelled, and were left milling about away from home – with riot police advancing on any small group of school children that looked like they were milling about aimlessly.
    Which is like all of them at that point.

    #LosAngeles
    Call to action
    Solidarity with #Baltimore
    8 PM thru ALL NIGHT!!!
    65th and Broadway

    #FergusonToBaltimore

    20-year-old suspect fatally shot by fugitive task force officer – in Detroit.

    A 20-year-old man was fatally shot by a fugitive task force officer trying to serve a warrant in Detroit Monday.

    Police say the Terrence Kelom charged the officer with a hammer leading to the west side shooting.

    “They are saying it was an old warrant that he had was the reason he came,” said Lakeisha Watkins, the victim’s cousin. “But that boy was changing his life around. He has a baby, a little girl due any day now.

    Family members say he was a good kid who made some bad decisions. They said police had no reason to shoot the man also known as “TT” in front of his parents and sister.

    “He was reaching for his father when they killed him,” said Larry Watkins, his uncle. “That boy had nothing in his hands. And they did that. They executed him. Ten shots, that’s execution.

    Detroit Police Chief James Craig spent much of Monday trying to restore the calm in the 9500 block of Evergreen. It is where a Detroit fugitive apprehension team went to serve an arrest warrant and the ICE agent shot and killed a man.

    “I am told there was no forced entry into the residence,” Craig said. “That they were allowed inside and let in. I am also told the agent may have been faced with a threat. It was at that point he decided to use deadly force.”

    None of this is going to end well.

    Live updates: Riots in Baltimore. I really hate when they call it a riot. But anyway that’s the Washiington Post live updates from last night.

    I’m hearing folks planning to show solidarity with #Baltimore tonight at 8p in #SouthLA on 65th and Broadway. #EzellFord

  45. rq says

    This is Baltimore. You can’t destroy your community if it’s already destroyed. Most of them already have nothing.

    Here’s an article on the London rioting, with relevance to Baltimore re: ‘mindless rioting’, etc. Panic on the streets of London.

    Violence is rarely mindless. The politics of a burning building, a smashed-in shop or a young man shot by police may be obscured even to those who lit the rags or fired the gun, but the politics are there. Unquestionably there is far, far more to these riots than the death of Mark Duggan, whose shooting sparked off the unrest on Saturday, when two police cars were set alight after a five-hour vigil at Tottenham police station. A peaceful protest over the death of a man at police hands, in a community where locals have been given every reason to mistrust the forces of law and order, is one sort of political statement. Raiding shops for technology and trainers that cost ten times as much as the benefits you’re no longer entitled to is another. A co-ordinated, viral wave of civil unrest across the poorest boroughs of Britain, with young people coming from across the capital and the country to battle the police, is another.

    Months of conjecture will follow these riots. Already, the internet is teeming with racist vitriol and wild speculation. The truth is that very few people know why this is happening. They don’t know, because they were not watching these communities. Nobody has been watching Tottenham since the television cameras drifted away after the Broadwater Farm riots of 1985. Most of the people who will be writing, speaking and pontificating about the disorder this weekend have absolutely no idea what it is like to grow up in a community where there are no jobs, no space to live or move, and the police are on the streets stopping-and-searching you as you come home from school. The people who do will be waking up this week in the sure and certain knowledge that after decades of being ignored and marginalised and harassed by the police, after months of seeing any conceivable hope of a better future confiscated, they are finally on the news. In one NBC report, a young man in Tottenham was asked if rioting really achieved anything:

    “Yes,” said the young man. “You wouldn’t be talking to me now if we didn’t riot, would you?”

    “Two months ago we marched to Scotland Yard, more than 2,000 of us, all blacks, and it was peaceful and calm and you know what? Not a word in the press. Last night a bit of rioting and looting and look around you.”

    Eavesdropping from among the onlookers, I looked around. A dozen TV crews and newspaper reporters interviewing the young men everywhere ‘’’

    There are communities all over the country that nobody paid attention to unless there had recently been a riot or a murdered child. Well, they’re paying attention now.

    Baltimore riots: Looting, fires engulf city after Freddie Gray’s funeral . There’s CNN. Nothing was ‘engulfed’, neither by flames or by looting, but ah, it sounds good! Look within for a recap of the night, incl. the fire – supposedly a construction fire not related to protests at all.

    Baltimore has learned nearly nothing from the past 8 months of unrest. Announcing the schools closing tonight was a mistake. 80,000 kids. Keep in mind that 80 000 number later.

    They not showing this on the news #BaltimoreRiots – short video of a person standing between police and the protestors.

    Maryland state police requesting 5,000 police officers from across the mid-Atlantic to help out with the protests. Apparently they’re getting that many National Guard – I just don’t know if that is in addition to or instead of.

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    Baltimore photo editor reportedly beaten by police at Freddie Gray protests

    City Paper Photo Editor J.M. Giordano was tackled and beaten by Baltimore City police outside of Western District headquarters last night while covering protests over the death of Freddie Gray in police custody.

    In a video shot by City Paper Managing Editor Baynard Woods you can see Giordano, wearing a green jacket, and a protester, both of whom had just been knocked to the ground by police, being beaten as Woods yells, “He’s a photographer! He’s press!”

    Giordano says he was standing next to the protester in the video, facing the police line, at about 12:30 when someone threw a rock which hit a police officer’s shield.

    “They mobilized,” he says. The police line moved forward and Giordano did not move fast enough for them. “I always move at the last second,” he says. Five or six police officers in riot gear hit Giordano and the other protester with their shields, knocking them to the ground.

    “They just swarmed over me,” he says. “I got hit. My head hit the ground. They were hitting me, then someone pulled me out.”

    “I kept shooting it,” he says. “As soon as I got up I started taking pictures.” He says the guy who was next to him (who did not throw anything, he is sure) got arrested and was loaded into a van. Joe was not. He thinks it is because police recognized him as a local reporter and figured arresting him would cause a backlash.

    “They [police] tried to block me from shooting.”

    He says a Reuters photographer who was standing nearby did get arrested and taken away in the police van, and was later released and cited for disorderly conduct.

    That’s from the night before, not last night.

    This one’s kind of a stand-out, on foreclosures and the housing market with ref. to the black community: Them That’s Got Shall Get

    Driving through Prince George’s County, Maryland, it’s not obvious that its towns and cities are at the epicenter of the foreclosure crisis in the Washington, D.C., region. In the town of Bowie, for instance, large colonial-style homes with attached two-car garages, spacious apartment buildings designed for families, and modern shopping centers line the streets. As in any other middle-class community, school-aged children chase each other in front yards while their parents monitor from the porch, and twentysomethings in workout gear jog the tree-lined streets. There’s no shortage of schools, community centers and places of worship, and if any homes are abandoned, it’s not glaringly obvious.

    What sets Prince George’s County apart from other upscale regions is that most of its citizens are black. No other majority-black counties in the United States are even comparable in terms of numbers of educated citizens and middle-class incomes, but when the economy crumbled, so did the dreams of many homeowners living in Prince George’s. And despite promises of help by President Barack Obama and lawmakers, seven years after the housing bubble burst, the county’s foreclosure crisis has only slowed, not abated.

    As the wealthiest black-majority county in the United States, Prince George’s has long represented the pinnacle of black success. The county’s median household income is $73,568—a full $20,000 more than the median household income of the United States as a whole. Only 7.1 percent of U.S. firms are black-owned, but in Prince George’s that number stands at a whopping 54.5 percent.

    A full 29.5 percent of people over the age of 25 hold bachelor’s degrees—slightly higher than the 28.5 percent rate for all persons in the United States. Known colloquially as just P.G., the county is filled with lawyers, entrepreneurs, teachers, and federal employees. In popular lore, Prince George’s was proof that, while blacks still lagged behind in education, wealth and employment, the black community was finally catching up.

    But in 2007, the bursting of the housing bubble triggered an economic recession that rippled throughout the global economy. For years, the housing market had been booming; in 2007 the U.S. median price for a house hit a record high of $247,900. By 2009, though, that number had fallen to $216,700. For Prince George’s County, however, the decline was much more stark. In 2009 the median price for a house dropped by nearly $100,000, from $343,000 to just $245,000.

    Although the foreclosure crisis left no part of the country untouched, in the Washington, D.C., area—which, overall, weathered the crisis well—Prince George’s County bore the brunt. The reason? Subprime lending. […]

    Across the nation, black homeowners were disproportionately affected by the foreclosure crisis, with more than 240,000 blacks losing homes they had owned. Black homeowners in the D.C. region were 20 percent more likely to lose their homes compared to whites with similar incomes and lifestyles. (See the December 2012 issue of The American Prospect, “The Collapse of Black Wealth,” by Monica Potts.) The foreclosure crisis also affected blacks of all income brackets; high-earning blacks were 80 percent more likely to lose their homes than their white counterparts, making the homeowners of Prince George’s County prime targets.

    Even the most stable of P.G. County homeowners wound up with subprime mortgages, presumably made to believe that subprime was their only option. Not even a good credit score would have spared blacks from these discriminatory lending practices. The Center for Responsible Lending found that during the housing boom, 6.2 percent of whites with a credit score of 660 and higher received high-interest mortgages but 21.4 percent of blacks with a score of 660 or higher received these same loans.

    It turned out that several of the major banks had been purposely giving people of color subprime mortgages, including borrowers who would have qualified for a prime loan. The City of Baltimore took Wells Fargo to court, bringing some of the banking giant’s abhorrent lending practices to light. One former employee testified that in 2001, Wells Fargo created a unit that would be responsible for pushing expensive refinance loans on black customers, especially those living in Baltimore, southeast Washington, D.C., and Prince George’s County—all locations with large black populations. […]

    Specifically targeted for subprime loans among the minority demographic were black women. Women of color are the most likely to receive subprime loans while white men are the least likely; the disparity grows with income levels. Compared to white men earning the same level of income, black women earning less than the area median income are two and a half times more likely to receive subprime. Upper-income black women were nearly five times more likely to receive subprime purchase mortgages than upper-income white men.

    The services of data collection agencies made it easy for lenders who were able to buy information about a potential borrower’s age, race and income. Armed with that information, it was easy for lenders to target moderate-to-high income women of color.

    Without admitting to any wrongdoing, Wells Fargo finally settled with the City of Baltimore in 2012. Still, Wells Fargo agreed to pay to the tune of $175 million dollars; $50 million of the settlement went towards helping community members in the Washington, D.C., region, as well as those in seven other metropolitan areas, make down payments on new homes. The settlement, however, was hardly a fix for the loss of family wealth suffered by those who lost their homes.

    More at the link, and all of it steeped in racism. And that’s in Maryland, where there is also a city called Baltimore.

    Amor trucks & big ass guns I haven’t seen since ferguson Baltimore. #FreddieGray

    Military style. Picture of a canister for green smoke, military style.

    We understand people are angry and that the community is upset, but violence only distracts us from the justice we seek. #Baltimore Just shut up and don’t bother us anymore!

    Nation of Islam just walked up on North Ave: “If your children are out here, send them home!”

  48. rq says

    With link to actual executive order, Governor Larry Hogan Signs Executive Order Declaring State Of Emergency, Activating National Guard

    Governor Larry Hogan today, at the request of Baltimore City, has signed an Executive Order declaring a state of emergency and activating the National Guard to address the growing violence and unrest in Baltimore City.

    The governor, along with Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford and National Guard Adjutant General Linda Singh, will hold a press conference at the Maryland Emergency Management Agency this evening at 8:30 PM.

    Church & State. Baltimore. #FreddieGray

    Gang members are playing a surprisingly important role keeping a semblance of order right now;
    I saw a line of Nation of Islam guys get between looters and police, linked arms. The crowd through some rocks but eventually left.
    You know who wasn’t keeping order? Yeah. Those guys in uniforms.

    Baltimore. #FreddieGray

    Baltimore in 1968 vs. 2015 #FreddieGray #BlackLivesMatter

  49. rq says

    Another comparison picture set: Baltimore 1968….Baltimore 2015…nothing has changed….@deray @Nettaaaaaaaa

    The idea that West Baltimore hasn’t been rebuilt since the 1968 riots seems like a pretty powerful condemnation of generations of leaders.

    RT @nixonron: Gang members in Baltimore say they protected black owned stores during rioting.

    This. (ABC headline: Thousands attend Freddie Gray rally)
    This. (CNN headline: Rioters set fire to looted drug store)

    There was a series of tweets from different people commenting on how, if these protests (and riots, okay) were occurring elsewhere – like, say, the Middle East? – that USAmerica would be applauding their revolutionary spirit and willingness to stand up to an oppressive government. But on home soil? Nah.

    Someone Gets It

    While many will not understand why the protests sometimes turn violent, the COO of the Baltimore Orioles, John Angelos, does:

    Brett, speaking only for myself, I agree with your point that the principle of peaceful, non-violent protest and the observance of the rule of law is of utmost importance in any society. MLK, Gandhi, Mandela and all great opposition leaders throughout history have always preached this precept. Further, it is critical that in any democracy, investigation must be completed and due process must be honored before any government or police members are judged responsible.

    That said, my greater source of personal concern, outrage and sympathy beyond this particular case is focused neither upon one night’s property damage nor upon the acts, but is focused rather upon the past four-decade period during which an American political elite have shipped middle class and working class jobs away from Baltimore and cities and towns around the U.S. to third-world dictatorships like China and others, plunged tens of millions of good, hard-working Americans into economic devastation, and then followed that action around the nation by diminishing every American’s civil rights protections in order to control an unfairly impoverished population living under an ever-declining standard of living and suffering at the butt end of an ever-more militarized and aggressive surveillance state.

    The innocent working families of all backgrounds whose lives and dreams have been cut short by excessive violence, surveillance, and other abuses of the Bill of Rights by government pay the true price, and ultimate price, and one that far exceeds the importances of any kids’ game played tonight, or ever, at Camden Yards. We need to keep in mind people are suffering and dying around the U.S., and while we are thankful no one was injured at Camden Yards, there is a far bigger picture for poor Americans in Baltimore and everywhere who don’t have jobs and are losing economic civil and legal rights, and this makes inconvenience at a ballgame irrelevant in light of the needless suffering government is inflicting upon ordinary Americans.

    I’m not excusing rioting, but I understand it.

  50. rq says

    Yes, City Schools is making grief counselors available to students tomorrow. And yes, schools are closed tomorrow. I’m confused too.

    I just learned that in December @BaltimorePolice arrested #FreddieGray for drugs, but he DIDN’T HAVE ANY DRUGS. This is fact.
    Just like Eric Garner had huge interaction history with the NYPD.

    If you’ve got places serving #Baltimore kids tomorrow that need volunteers, organizational support and supplies, pls respond. May have help.

    This was mentioned earlier: Immigration and Customs Enforcement officer shoots, kills suspect on Detroit’s west side

    We’re told the ICE officer was serving the warrant to 19-year-old Terrence Kellum as part of task force investigation. Police say he was allegedly wanted for armed robbery.

    The task force was known as “D-FAT” which stands for Detroit Fugitive Apprehension Team. It includes members of Detroit Police and U.S. Marshals.

    Craig also said the officers were allowed inside, and one agent may have been threatened, and that’s when he opened fire.

    “I am committed that the Detroit Police Department will do a very thorough and very timely investigation,” Craig said. He also said he is committed to having a conversation with the Wayne County Prosecutor who will make the final decision on what will happen next.

    #TerrenceKellum was killed by ICE federal task force Not DPD. Shot 10x and handcuffed on a fed warrant 4 armed robbery. He was unarmed

    Dear white people: your discomfort is progress. Keep talking about Ferguson – and beyond

    Rebecca Carroll: Whatever your actions as a white person in the current racial climate – a climate that is quickly escalating to a place of irreparable disrepair in terms of productive communication – there still exists a level of comfort, of self-satisfaction, of: I can afford to be smug because my life doesn’t depend on it. It leaves me with the same reaction I have when grown white people tell me they’re taking “baby steps” towards racial awareness.

    That’s cool, you go ahead and take your baby steps – take your time. I’ll just keep hoping I don’t get dead. Great then! If you’re a baby, take those steps. If you’re a grown, adult white human living in America right now and you’re not there yet, take bigger steps.

    JZ: I guess my question is, which direction should those baby steps go? How do we balance the responsibility to speak up with the responsibility to shut up? How do we use a platform without stealing the podium? And how do we deal with even ASKING these questions when they just put white people at the center of the conversation LIKE ALWAYS?

    RC: Use the platform to talk to other white people. If you are a racially conscious person, you are affected. You are angry. It matters.

    JZ: But talking to other white people includes, presumably, talking to white people who aren’t racially conscious, who don’t have black people in their lives – or don’t work hard to understand how their black friends’ experiences are different, or think they’re actually less racist if they pretend the differences don’t exist.

    What white people should be doing is thinking really hard about ways to make change in an immediate way.

    RC: Seriously, if you have black friends and black people in your life and it still doesn’t gut you when another black boy or man or person gets shot and killed, then you need to examine your friendship. If on some level you and your white peers, those racially conscious and not, don’t feel bad – like really bone-deep bad – then you’re not there yet.

    Our legacy as black folks is of pain and strife; your legacy as white folks is of cultural decimation, violence and human ownership. Bummer. Who wants to look at that? And when you do, if you can, that’s gotta feel bad. […]

    RC: We have to get up in folks’ faces, follow it through, listen and think. We can’t “try to convince people” forever. Protesting is important regardless of the result, I think – it’s the rare combination of visceral and intellectual movement that I will always support and respect and encourage, because what else is more potent?

    JZ: So, OK, there are two things I don’t want to do right now (or in general):

    – One is that thing where people act as though acknowledging and self-flagellating for their privilege, or their cowardice or their insufficiency, somehow magically negates it. My goal isn’t to get acknowledged for being a white person who knows that white people suck; my goal is to figure out how I can try to make things better without accidentally making things worse.
    – And the other thing I don’t want to do is ask you is: “OK, what should white people do?” Because that is extremely not your job.

    RC: I just watched a clip from Spike Lee’s Malcolm X – the scene where the well intentioned white girl approaches Malcolm and is like: “What can I do?” And he says: “Nothing” and walks away. I feel a real pull to that response, because really, if there was something you all could do, wouldn’t you have done it by now? Just mind your business and stop killing us? Take care of your business. It’s like detox.

    I have long maintained that white privilege is an immaculate high – it’s free, you feel (I imagine) magnanimous and amazing all the time, there are no side effects and there is no comedown. Unless you choose to come down. And then you’re gonna go through it – withdrawal, anxiety, agitation, all of it. And then you have to figure out how to live your life without it. We’ve been doing it for the past 400 years, so.

    JZ: Honestly, until this conversation I didn’t even realize how focused I was on trying to do my part just by talking at problems, and talking online in particular, instead of taking useful action. But I mean, I guess what springs to mind is the obvious stuff: Say something when a person acts unjustly, and make them stop. Say something when an organization is imbalanced, and refuse to participate if it isn’t fixed – and seek out organizations and businesses with black leaders, too. Vote and get involved politically to try and chip away at inequities at the national level.

    RC: Those are all good, common-sense action goals. And as I’ve said, I will always support and encourage talking with each other – it’s why we are here on the planet, as far as I’m concerned: to communicate, listen, articulate, understand, work through, pause and keep going. And for every white fool you shut down on Facebook or school or take on, I personally am grateful.

    But also, as a white people primer:

    – Do protest; do not take selfies as you protest and then post them on social media – good for you, I don’t care, not what it’s about.
    – Next time you are shopping in an upscale store and no salesperson is watching you, ask them why they aren’t watching you.
    – Check your tone, your tenor and your composure when you’re engaged in dialog with black and brown people. Literally. Don’t say “I get it” because you don’t.
    – Read Ta-Nehisi Coates Reparations piece in The Atlantic, and then read it again.
    – If you are a celebrity or public figure and have a national platform, use it, because the young folks are watching you every second. I’m not talking about Erase the Race or USA for Africa type action (fine), I mean go hard in a national campaign, publicity junket type way (see: Chris Rock). Because your celebrity is among the most extraordinary, astonishing privileges there is. As Chris Rock likes to say: “I love being famous. It’s almost like being white.”

    JZ: Maybe this isn’t so different from trying to argue with your racist Facebook friends – or it’s a difference of degree. It’s just calling bullshit at different points along the power structure. Being white means I have better access to the upper levels; I have to go up and call bullshit there, too. It’s like being the tall person who needs to get cans off the top shelf, only the shelf is ingrained power structures and the cans are basic human rights. […]

    Lesley McSpadden waited over 100 days to hear whether or not the cop who shot her son, her child, would be indicted for murder. That probably felt pretty awful. And the non-indictment decision probably feels a lot more awful, not to mention the fact that her son is dead. Forever. So check your right track – it’s likely not going to look like progress or rainbows or magic anytime soon.

  51. rq says

    A favorite shot from when the sun began to set on St. Louis during yesterday’s #ferguson2Baltimore march.

    Police Throw Rocks Back At Protesters In Baltimore, HuffPo article on that and a few details from the rest of the night. “Video appears to show a piece of concrete leaving an officer’s hand”. That’s not word-for-word, but that basic sentence is within that article. Not kidding.

    I mentioned Eric Garner. Copy of the heartbreaking civil rights lawsuit Eric Garner filed against the NYPD in 2007

    On September 1st, 2007, seven years before NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo would choke Eric Garner to death in a video watched all over the world, he filed a heartbreaking civil complaint against NYPD Officer William Owens, the City of New York, and the NYPD over an awful incident in which he was illegally strip searched near his home.

    In the complaint, Eric describes how Officer William Owens, in the middle of the street, inserted his fingers up Eric Garner’s rectum and made Eric pull his underwear completely down while he “searched” around Eric’s testicles.

    In the section where it asks Eric what injuries he sustained, he details what the humiliating encounter did to injure his “manhood”. See the entire complaint below.

    University Of Maryland Asks: Are We Still *Thugs* When You Pay To Watch Us Play Sports? #BalitmoreRiots #FreddieGray

    FROM #BALTIMORE TO THE #WORLD: WE ARE REQUESTING FOR NATIONWIDE #SOLIDARITY ACTIONS, TOMORROW, AND THE NEXT. #BALTIMOREUPRISING

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    Some random items from yesterday:
    Ava Duvernay on Selma “When I got the script there were no women” #avaatrutgers

    Respect to @ms_tjp and @geauxAWAYheaux and others fighting for black women’s rights, often without the credit or gratitude they deserve.

    Today at 6pm, meet us at 2526 Jeff Ken Dr for a candlelight vigil for #michaelwillis. His mother has requested the protestors. Michael WIllis is another shot by police in STL last year. See here: Man Shot By Police is Identified.

    The Road to Hell: The Dangers of Volunteer Police and Poverty Tourism

    The sick joke was always the same. Maybe it was the one where a white Christian missionary was dismayed to find bustling metropolises in Nairobi, rather than destitute and desolate collections of mud hut villages full of starving and sick people waiting to be saved. Or perhaps the one about exchange programs that send mostly white American students to visit African nations to build libraries and orphanages. Only, they’re so inept and inexperienced that local people must tear down and rebuild their shoddy work each night, a real life rendition of the cobbler gnome fairy-tale. Sometimes these stories have a more topical, geo-political bent, one that might furrow brows and provide cause for collective hand-wringing. The example comes to mind of American veterans, dissatisfied and disconnected from civilian life, seeking out honor, vindication, and purpose by playing mercenary in the Middle East . The nuances of internecine conflicts are ignored, the Hemingway-esque promise of finding self-fulfillment in conflict overshadowing all other considerations.

    But have you heard the one where a 73 year-old insurance executive acts as a police deputy, is allowed to carry live weapons without proper training, and then shoots a man, resulting in his death?

    Eric Harris was shot by the police and denied urgent medical attention, his death making him the 294th person to be killed by police in 2015. Robert Bates, his killer, a volunteer with the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office, donated multiple vehicles, weapons and other equipment to the Sheriff’s Office since he became a reserve deputy in 2008. Bates is not alone in leveraging his wealth into a volunteer position with the police, as “ [many] other wealthy donors are among the agency’s 130 reserve deputies.” Reporters have unearthed documents that indicate that Bate’s “supervisors at the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office were ordered to falsify [his] training records, giving him credit for field training he never took and firearms certifications he should not have received.” That Robert Bates served under the auspices and legal sanction of the state does not change the fact that he participated in an especially vile incidence of poverty tourism.

    Poverty tourism is a phenomenon predicated on the privileges of wealth and white supremacy. Americans, the majority of them white, seek out experiences to gain absolution, a false emulation of lived experiences or a new story to add to their dinner party repertoire. They come to these experiences with little in the way of knowledge, understanding, or preparedness. They believe that distant nations and U.S. inner cities alike are inferior and rife with violence or poverty. Many believe that good intentions and positive attitudes can compensate for non-existent skill and capabilities. They believe that a proper application of force is the correct response to any and all obstacles, regardless of the ramifications or circumstances. And they carry these beliefs and messages back home, to be shared with friends and family and coworkers, facilitating a normalization of poverty, oppression, and violence as unfortunate happenstance rather than deliberate choices by the societies we inhabit.

    As volunteering becomes increasingly associated with haphazard and shortsighted projects, the tenet of altruistic service is undermined by the emphasis on the moral or emotional gratification of the volunteer. America’s desire to believe that the lives of the marginalized and oppressed can be improved through increased proximity to whiteness manifests in these poverty tourism excursions into black and brown communities, who are then expected to cater or capitulate to their supposedly selfless benefactors. Americans must interrogate within themselves the ends to which they are serving by participating in paternalistic, white supremacist volunteer efforts, especially those which are only open to the educated and wealthy. As radical Austrian critic and philosopher Ivan Illich once said, any American who seeks to volunteer in aiding another community or culture must “recognize your inability, your powerlessness and your incapacity to do the “good” which you intended to do.” Now more than ever there is a need to ensure that the arbiters of what is “good” and “necessary” are the oppressed and marginalized, rather than the privileged seeking to reconcile their complicity with their good intentions.

    Bates became complicit in this trend that predicates the desires of those who volunteer over the needs of the populations they claim to serve. It is especially jarring to find that black and brown lives can be taken without recourse not just by the police, but by volunteers who pay for the privilege to play cop. Just as disheartening is the likelihood that Bates will be absolved by both the justice system and public opinion as a concerned citizen whose attempts to help went sadly awry, while his victim is portrayed as a criminal and therefore unworthy of life. Little attention will be paid to how racism and middle class noblesse oblige enabled one citizen to act as an enforcer of the law and an executioner towards another.

    White Americans, lulled into believing the problem is a lack of sufficient action on their part, double down on their incursion into black movements, black lives, and black communities. This is the especially pernicious root of poverty tourism, an idea that certain groups are inferior, without value, and incapable of saving themselves, representing themselves, or creating value for themselves without the largesse, interjection or approval of the racial or moral majority. There are numerous examples of failed attempts to save minority communities or solve social ills being advertised in the media in order to both cosset the consciences of white Americans and to remind minorities that we dare not attempt to end our exploitation without their involvement. After all, when was the last time you heard a news story about a mission trip, failed or successful, to Owsley County, Kentucky, a ninety-nine percent white community with the highest welfare rate and lowest median income in the U.S.?

    It’s worth reading to the end at the link.

  55. rq says

    6 arrested in police brutality protest in South Los Angeles

    Three women and three men were arrested following a protest on police brutality in South Los Angeles Monday night.

    Of the arrests, four were for refusal to disperse and two were for attempting to set the four in custody free, Los Angeles police said.

    The group, estimated to be around 25 to 50 people, gathered after 11 p.m. to demonstrate against police brutality, Los Angeles police said. They marched near 65th Street and Broadway, where 25-year-old Ezell Ford was shot by LAPD officers on Aug. 11.

    By midnight, protesters were still wandering the streets, but were no longer blocking traffic.

    The protest comes the same day where riots broke out in Maryland after the funeral of Freddie Gray, who died from a severe spinal injury he suffered while in police custody. The Maryland governor declared a state of emergency and National Guard was called to restore order.

    They say ‘riots broke out’ like it happened on its own.

    You See How The Media Do A Black Man? The photo attached is text, very tiny text, but basically – the picture? Got spun by media as the black man trying to snatch the white woman’s purse. When in reality it was the young woman and her friends trying to keep the white woman from lunging at the man, as they were present and trying to keep drunk angry people away from protestors.

  56. rq says

    Nonviolence as Compliance

    Rioting broke out on Monday in Baltimore—an angry response to the death of Freddie Gray, a death my native city seems powerless to explain. Gray did not die mysteriously in some back alley but in the custody of the city’s publicly appointed guardians of order. And yet the mayor of that city and the commissioner of that city’s police still have no idea what happened. I suspect this is not because the mayor and police commissioner are bad people, but because the state of Maryland prioritizes the protection of police officers charged with abuse over the citizens who fall under its purview.
    Related Story

    A State of Emergency in Baltimore

    The citizens who live in West Baltimore, where the rioting began, intuitively understand this. I grew up across the street from Mondawmin Mall, where today’s riots began. My mother was raised in the same housing project, Gilmor Homes, where Freddie Gray was killed. Everyone I knew who lived in that world regarded the police not with admiration and respect but with fear and caution. People write these feelings off as wholly irrational at their own peril, or their own leisure. The case against the Baltimore police, and the society that superintends them, is easily made […]

    The money paid out by the city to cover for the brutal acts of its police department would be enough to build “a state-of-the-art rec center or renovations at more than 30 playgrounds.” Instead, the money was used to cover for the brutal acts of the city’s police department and ensure they remained well beyond any semblance of justice.

    Now, tonight, I turn on the news and I see politicians calling for young people in Baltimore to remain peaceful and “nonviolent.” These well-intended pleas strike me as the right answer to the wrong question. To understand the question, it’s worth remembering what, specifically, happened to Freddie Gray. An officer made eye contact with Gray. Gray, for unknown reasons, ran. The officer and his colleagues then detained Gray. They found him in possession of a switchblade. They arrested him while he yelled in pain. And then, within an hour, his spine was mostly severed. A week later, he was dead. What specifically was the crime here? What particular threat did Freddie Gray pose? Why is mere eye contact and then running worthy of detention at the hands of the state? Why is Freddie Gray dead?

    The people now calling for nonviolence are not prepared to answer these questions. Many of them are charged with enforcing the very policies that led to Gray’s death, and yet they can offer no rational justification for Gray’s death and so they appeal for calm. But there was no official appeal for calm when Gray was being arrested. There was no appeal for calm when Jerriel Lyles was assaulted. (“The blow was so heavy. My eyes swelled up. Blood was dripping down my nose and out my eye.”) There was no claim for nonviolence on behalf of Venus Green. (“Bitch, you ain’t no better than any of the other old black bitches I have locked up.”) There was no plea for peace on behalf of Starr Brown. (“They slammed me down on my face,” Brown added, her voice cracking. “The skin was gone on my face.”)

    When nonviolence is preached as an attempt to evade the repercussions of political brutality, it betrays itself. When nonviolence begins halfway through the war with the aggressor calling time out, it exposes itself as a ruse. When nonviolence is preached by the representatives of the state, while the state doles out heaps of violence to its citizens, it reveals itself to be a con. And none of this can mean that rioting or violence is “correct” or “wise,” any more than a forest fire can be “correct” or “wise.” Wisdom isn’t the point tonight. Disrespect is. In this case, disrespect for the hollow law and failed order that so regularly disrespects the rioters themselves.

    10,000 Strong Peacefully Protest In Downtown Baltimore, Media Only Reports The Violence & Arrest of Dozens

    10,000 people from across the country peacefully protested in Baltimore in support of the seeking of justice of the death of Freddie Gray. Despite the fact that 100 of the 10,000 acted up and approximately 35 people were arrested after the peaceful protest, (that’s about 1%), much of the mainstream media used attention grabbing words in their headlines like ‘Protest Turns Destructive, (USA Today)’ ‘Scenes of Chaos In Baltimore… (NY Times), Dozens Arrested After Protest Turns Violent (WBAL TV). One website BreitBart.com’s headlines read: 1,000 Black Rioters In Baltimore Smash Police Cars, Attack Motorists In Frenzied Protest.

    The truth is you had 10,000 plus people come together in unity in support of the fight for justice for Freddie Gray. While the numbers vary, 100 or so were the ones you saw acting up on the news and the 35 persons who were arrested were the ones you read about. But reporting that won’t bring in the ratings that attract a heavy advertising revenue.

    CNN reported: Protesters angry over the death of Freddie Gray got into physical altercations with police Saturday night in downtown Baltimore near the city’s famed baseball stadium.

    Some of the hundreds who confronted lines of police officers got into shoving matches with helmeted cops while other demonstrators threw objects. At least five police cars were damaged by people who smashed windows and jumped on them.

    Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said she was profoundly disappointed by the violence, adding that 95% of the protesters were respectful but a “small group of agitators intervened.”

    Time.com reported: The demonstration was aimed at police, who had Gray in their custody when he suffered injuries that would prove fatal. Baltimore police said 35 people, including four juveniles, were arrested and six officers suffered minor injuries during the latest protest.

    As you read most of the nationwide coverage, the various news media and websites do admit that most of the protesters were peaceful as you read further down their stories, despite the attention grabbing headlines that speaks of only the violence, destruction and criminal mischief of a few. Unfortunately there will always be a few agitators in any crowd this size. Some of which are purposely positioned among the peaceful protesters for just that reason.

    After what has been going on with black men being killed nationwide without any justice taking place even after grand juries, video evidence, incidences being ruled homicide by medical examiners, No officers go to jail, very few cops lose their job and the Ferguson officer who killed Mike Brown was allowed to retire and protect his pension, there is a sense of frustration in these protests, yes!

    What happened in the streets of Ferguson was worst by comparison. But let’s be very clear, the scene the media is describing, the picture being painted with all headlines are something no one, I repeat NO ONE wants to see. What they’re showing you are the actions of 100 or so people, there were 10,000 people there, and despite some of the headlines, and you can see by the pictures below all the protesters were not black and out of control. And despite what a local pastor would have you believe, some of those who were acting up the most were doing so before those (he called outsiders), who came to town in support showed up.

    Words have power, they create perceptions that make other actions possible and allow the most outrageous of explanations why they kill black people believable and acceptable by other groups of people. Let’ be clear here, NO ONE wants to truly see Scenes of Chaos: 1,000’s of Frenzied Protesters Rioting In Baltimore, the city would truly still be burning. But they media will show the worst or the worst, you know if it bleeds it leads. It’s true it’s great for ratings which leads to heavy advertising revenue, but it is not good for our community or the race relations nationwide.

    Just like the media takes the liberty to show the worst of the worst like they did in Baltimore, I am taking the liberty to show the worst of the worst in their reporting and calling them out. It’s important to not allow the mass media to distort the narrative and take away from the message of this fight for justice.

    Bad comparison with Ferguson, but hey. It’s an article about the protest on Saturday.

    #MyaHall Black transwoman slain by police in #Baltimore. #RekiaBoyd killer walked away. #KyamLivingston died in handcuffs. #BlackWomenMatter So I didn’t know who Mya Hall was.
    Well, now you shall know, too, and I suppose a TW for transphobia applies to both following articles:
    They Were Our Sisters: Feminists Should Not Abandon Mya Hall or Miriam Carey

    When I heard the news about how the NSA’s headquarters was supposedly attacked by two “men dressed as women” who tried to barrel through a security cordon around Fort Meade — one of whom was fatally shot – I immediately feared the worst. A knot twisted in my stomach, even as I kept studiously silent in public about the issue, waiting for more facts to come out about the two people, each detail seeming to confirm my worst fears. And then, finally, trickles of truth began to flow from Washington D.C.-area media about the identity of the people in the ill-fated SUV. The person killed by NSA’s security forces was, in fact, a trans woman of color and a sex worker named Mya Hall.

    The lead-up to that revelation is instructive, however, and should widen the conversation about black women murdered by police, and what our press coverage can reveal about why it happens. The women in question are often posthumously fitted to fantasies about extremism, a peculiar form of the usual justifications for the murder of black Americans by police where “erratic” behavior on the part of black women is quickly construed as a mortal threat. […]

    Why did the press so forcefully assert and repeat the “men dressed as women” meme? The obvious answer seems to be transphobia, but it’s, as ever, more complicated. The misgendering speaks to the very fears that saw Mya and her companion in the SUV shot at in the first place. We are so inured to fanciful stories about terrorist activity that we’ll believe the staggeringly unlikely — that a group of terrorists dressed up in women’s clothes to crash into an NSA car as some sort of big plot — before accepting a more mundane, far less threatening truth: that someone in distress made a wrong turn, lost their bearings, and panicked when police surrounded them. According to new AP reports that interview those who knew Mya, she was struggling with her mental health and was unable to afford treatment.

    ***

    The idea that male Islamic extremists would launch attacks in the US while dressed as women has been a popular idée fixe for armchair generals and pundits throughout the West for some time now.

    One might argue that as vulgar as this impulse toward the fanciful may be, it stems from an understandable place. In the wake of 9/11 our intelligence services were derided for what many were calling a “failure of imagination”– few people imagined that extremists might hijack passenger jets and turn them into missiles, after all.

    But in response we seem to have overreacted — not a new observation, I’m aware. It’s so old I could justly say I grew up with that observation lingering in the background of news and opinion I consumed. Yet it bears repeating here, with a twist, recognizing how in the Fort Meade case our trigger-happy society not only put a woman in an early grave but also led the press to sensationalize the story to make it fit with our 24-style narratives about the nature of terrorism.

    The story echoes the tragic death of Miriam Carey, a black mother of an infant child, near the White House in 2013. Carey, with her one year old daughter in the backseat of her car, mistakenly drove into a White House checkpoint. When several Secret Service officers drew weapons on her, she panicked and drove away at speed, prompting a police chase that ended with 8 bullets in her car and Carey slain. Miraculously, the infant was unhurt.

    Like the Fort Meade tragedy, we find a situation where a woman of color was interpreted as a terroristic threat to be excised violently when she acted in a way deemed to be unusual. […]

    Similarly, in Mya Hall’s case, although some of the media, like the Washington Post, are making a shift toward gendering her correctly, we see some of the same tropes of reporting on black deaths at the hands of police: the use of a mugshot, an emphasis on past crimes and misdeeds, and so forth, as if to assert that there is some sort of karmic explanation for the tragedy. All as if to suggest that there was something seemly about her summary execution as a suspected threat to national security.

    The role of feminists in these cases, then, should be to keep the flame of attention alive for these women that our society would prefer to forget as rounding errors in the machinery of anti-terror. We should be asking how it is it that two black women, whose wrong turns and sudden (if understandable) panics were interpreted as violent attacks, and why the wages of being in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong skin color and neurotype seem to be death. […]

    It is not an accident that this keeps happening, and I fear it will happen again. The noxious mixture of paranoia over terrorism and a law enforcement institution rife with anti-black racism will lead not only to more deaths but more media carnivals that serve to re-sow the seedbeds for these types of killings. For women of color and particularly black women in this country, that is the all too urgent and very real terrorism that breeds here at home. And as feminists, we would do well to not be complicit in leaving these women in unmarked graves where the tragedies that claimed their lives are forgotten.

    I naively hoped that the killing of Miriam Carey would touch off a scandal that would shake up our security establishment, with ample and aggressive press coverage asking how something like this could happen– but she has been unclaimed even by many of those (outside of black activist communities) who would call themselves radicals. Mainstream feminism must mend that mistake, and refuse to repeat it with Mya Hall.

    Except I heard nothing about Mya Hall. Beginning of April. Nothing.

    One more for her: Baltimore’s transgender community mourns one of their own, slain by police

    Mya, on the streets since 2009, was killed and a newcomer, Brittany, was injured when officers opened fire Monday after the pair allegedly crashed into a guard post at the National Security Agency, 28 miles away.

    In the early moments, the incident had the Washington region on alert, with fears that it could be terrorism or another type of planned attack. But in the end, authorities said the pair were in an SUV stolen from a man who had picked them up the night before. They mistakenly took a restricted exit and panicked when they saw police.

    Officials identified them by their legal names: Ricky Hall, 27, who went by Mya, and Kevin Fleming, 20, or Brittany. When police initially noted that the two were dressed in women’s clothing, it seemed a strange twist. Later, authorities made a point to say that the garb had not been meant as a disguise.

    Now, their friends in Baltimore’s historic Old Goucher neighborhood, many with questions about the encounter with law enforcement, are in mourning. Death, they say, comes too often, too young and too easy to a transgender population marginalized by a society that they say forces some to resort to prostitution, or what they call becoming “survivor sex workers.”

    “They are being driven to their deaths,” Bryanna A. Jenkins, 26, who runs a transgender advocacy group, said while on a tour of the neighborhood. “Out here, you can be attacked. You can be raped. You can be arrested for being trans.” […]

    On the street early Friday, the women hustled for tricks as cars slowed for drivers to survey the scene. Shannen, one of the women working Charles Street, declined to share her last name. “None of us want to live like this,” she said. “But we learn lessons in life, and we die.”

    The women were just as interested in posing questions as answering them. Who claimed Hall’s body? What did her parents say? How many times was she shot? Why did the police have to shoot her?

    Most of all, they felt isolated from the normal ritual of grief as they mourned together on Charles Street.

    Asked Buttacup, a tear running down her cheek, “Will she have a proper funeral?”

    Well, that was a misgendering mess there, by the Washington Post. And I know black trans women’s lives are difficult, but most of that article was just how much trouble she was experiencing, in a rather victim-blamey way. So I didn’t quote much of it. The most human response is from the others on the street, those most interested in what happened to Hall, rather than her troubled past. Anyway, yeah. Never heard about this case before. :(

  57. rq says

    Nonviolence as Compliance

    Rioting broke out on Monday in Baltimore—an angry response to the death of Freddie Gray, a death my native city seems powerless to explain. Gray did not die mysteriously in some back alley but in the custody of the city’s publicly appointed guardians of order. And yet the mayor of that city and the commissioner of that city’s police still have no idea what happened. I suspect this is not because the mayor and police commissioner are bad people, but because the state of Maryland prioritizes the protection of police officers charged with abuse over the citizens who fall under its purview.

    The citizens who live in West Baltimore, where the rioting began, intuitively understand this. I grew up across the street from Mondawmin Mall, where today’s riots began. My mother was raised in the same housing project, Gilmor Homes, where Freddie Gray was killed. Everyone I knew who lived in that world regarded the police not with admiration and respect but with fear and caution. People write these feelings off as wholly irrational at their own peril, or their own leisure. The case against the Baltimore police, and the society that superintends them, is easily made […]

    The money paid out by the city to cover for the brutal acts of its police department would be enough to build “a state-of-the-art rec center or renovations at more than 30 playgrounds.” Instead, the money was used to cover for the brutal acts of the city’s police department and ensure they remained well beyond any semblance of justice.

    Now, tonight, I turn on the news and I see politicians calling for young people in Baltimore to remain peaceful and “nonviolent.” These well-intended pleas strike me as the right answer to the wrong question. To understand the question, it’s worth remembering what, specifically, happened to Freddie Gray. An officer made eye contact with Gray. Gray, for unknown reasons, ran. The officer and his colleagues then detained Gray. They found him in possession of a switchblade. They arrested him while he yelled in pain. And then, within an hour, his spine was mostly severed. A week later, he was dead. What specifically was the crime here? What particular threat did Freddie Gray pose? Why is mere eye contact and then running worthy of detention at the hands of the state? Why is Freddie Gray dead?

    The people now calling for nonviolence are not prepared to answer these questions. Many of them are charged with enforcing the very policies that led to Gray’s death, and yet they can offer no rational justification for Gray’s death and so they appeal for calm. But there was no official appeal for calm when Gray was being arrested. There was no appeal for calm when Jerriel Lyles was assaulted. (“The blow was so heavy. My eyes swelled up. Blood was dripping down my nose and out my eye.”) There was no claim for nonviolence on behalf of Venus Green. (“B*tch, you ain’t no better than any of the other old black b*tches I have locked up.”) There was no plea for peace on behalf of Starr Brown. (“They slammed me down on my face,” Brown added, her voice cracking. “The skin was gone on my face.”)

    When nonviolence is preached as an attempt to evade the repercussions of political brutality, it betrays itself. When nonviolence begins halfway through the war with the aggressor calling time out, it exposes itself as a ruse. When nonviolence is preached by the representatives of the state, while the state doles out heaps of violence to its citizens, it reveals itself to be a con. And none of this can mean that rioting or violence is “correct” or “wise,” any more than a forest fire can be “correct” or “wise.” Wisdom isn’t the point tonight. Disrespect is. In this case, disrespect for the hollow law and failed order that so regularly disrespects the rioters themselves.

    10,000 Strong Peacefully Protest In Downtown Baltimore, Media Only Reports The Violence & Arrest of Dozens

    10,000 people from across the country peacefully protested in Baltimore in support of the seeking of justice of the death of Freddie Gray. Despite the fact that 100 of the 10,000 acted up and approximately 35 people were arrested after the peaceful protest, (that’s about 1%), much of the mainstream media used attention grabbing words in their headlines like ‘Protest Turns Destructive, (USA Today)’ ‘Scenes of Chaos In Baltimore… (NY Times), Dozens Arrested After Protest Turns Violent (WBAL TV). One website BreitBart[dot]com’s headlines read: 1,000 Black Rioters In Baltimore Smash Police Cars, Attack Motorists In Frenzied Protest.

    The truth is you had 10,000 plus people come together in unity in support of the fight for justice for Freddie Gray. While the numbers vary, 100 or so were the ones you saw acting up on the news and the 35 persons who were arrested were the ones you read about. But reporting that won’t bring in the ratings that attract a heavy advertising revenue.

    CNN reported: Protesters angry over the death of Freddie Gray got into physical altercations with police Saturday night in downtown Baltimore near the city’s famed baseball stadium.

    Some of the hundreds who confronted lines of police officers got into shoving matches with helmeted cops while other demonstrators threw objects. At least five police cars were damaged by people who smashed windows and jumped on them.

    Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said she was profoundly disappointed by the violence, adding that 95% of the protesters were respectful but a “small group of agitators intervened.”

    Time[dot]com reported: The demonstration was aimed at police, who had Gray in their custody when he suffered injuries that would prove fatal. Baltimore police said 35 people, including four juveniles, were arrested and six officers suffered minor injuries during the latest protest.

    As you read most of the nationwide coverage, the various news media and websites do admit that most of the protesters were peaceful as you read further down their stories, despite the attention grabbing headlines that speaks of only the violence, destruction and criminal mischief of a few. Unfortunately there will always be a few agitators in any crowd this size. Some of which are purposely positioned among the peaceful protesters for just that reason.

    After what has been going on with black men being killed nationwide without any justice taking place even after grand juries, video evidence, incidences being ruled homicide by medical examiners, No officers go to jail, very few cops lose their job and the Ferguson officer who killed Mike Brown was allowed to retire and protect his pension, there is a sense of frustration in these protests, yes!

    What happened in the streets of Ferguson was worst by comparison. But let’s be very clear, the scene the media is describing, the picture being painted with all headlines are something no one, I repeat NO ONE wants to see. What they’re showing you are the actions of 100 or so people, there were 10,000 people there, and despite some of the headlines, and you can see by the pictures below all the protesters were not black and out of control. And despite what a local pastor would have you believe, some of those who were acting up the most were doing so before those (he called outsiders), who came to town in support showed up.

    Words have power, they create perceptions that make other actions possible and allow the most outrageous of explanations why they kill black people believable and acceptable by other groups of people. Let’ be clear here, NO ONE wants to truly see Scenes of Chaos: 1,000’s of Frenzied Protesters Rioting In Baltimore, the city would truly still be burning. But they media will show the worst or the worst, you know if it bleeds it leads. It’s true it’s great for ratings which leads to heavy advertising revenue, but it is not good for our community or the race relations nationwide.

    Just like the media takes the liberty to show the worst of the worst like they did in Baltimore, I am taking the liberty to show the worst of the worst in their reporting and calling them out. It’s important to not allow the mass media to distort the narrative and take away from the message of this fight for justice.

    Bad comparison with Ferguson, but hey. It’s an article about the protest on Saturday.

    #MyaHall Black transwoman slain by police in #Baltimore. #RekiaBoyd killer walked away. #KyamLivingston died in handcuffs. #BlackWomenMatter So I didn’t know who Mya Hall was.
    Well, now you shall know, too, and I suppose a TW for transphobia applies to both following articles:
    They Were Our Sisters: Feminists Should Not Abandon Mya Hall or Miriam Carey

    When I heard the news about how the NSA’s headquarters was supposedly attacked by two “men dressed as women” who tried to barrel through a security cordon around Fort Meade — one of whom was fatally shot – I immediately feared the worst. A knot twisted in my stomach, even as I kept studiously silent in public about the issue, waiting for more facts to come out about the two people, each detail seeming to confirm my worst fears. And then, finally, trickles of truth began to flow from Washington D.C.-area media about the identity of the people in the ill-fated SUV. The person killed by NSA’s security forces was, in fact, a trans woman of color and a sex worker named Mya Hall.

    The lead-up to that revelation is instructive, however, and should widen the conversation about black women murdered by police, and what our press coverage can reveal about why it happens. The women in question are often posthumously fitted to fantasies about extremism, a peculiar form of the usual justifications for the murder of black Americans by police where “erratic” behavior on the part of black women is quickly construed as a mortal threat. […]

    Why did the press so forcefully assert and repeat the “men dressed as women” meme? The obvious answer seems to be transphobia, but it’s, as ever, more complicated. The misgendering speaks to the very fears that saw Mya and her companion in the SUV shot at in the first place. We are so inured to fanciful stories about terrorist activity that we’ll believe the staggeringly unlikely — that a group of terrorists dressed up in women’s clothes to crash into an NSA car as some sort of big plot — before accepting a more mundane, far less threatening truth: that someone in distress made a wrong turn, lost their bearings, and panicked when police surrounded them. According to new AP reports that interview those who knew Mya, she was struggling with her mental health and was unable to afford treatment.

    ***

    The idea that male Islamic extremists would launch attacks in the US while dressed as women has been a popular idée fixe for armchair generals and pundits throughout the West for some time now.

    One might argue that as vulgar as this impulse toward the fanciful may be, it stems from an understandable place. In the wake of 9/11 our intelligence services were derided for what many were calling a “failure of imagination”– few people imagined that extremists might hijack passenger jets and turn them into missiles, after all.

    But in response we seem to have overreacted — not a new observation, I’m aware. It’s so old I could justly say I grew up with that observation lingering in the background of news and opinion I consumed. Yet it bears repeating here, with a twist, recognizing how in the Fort Meade case our trigger-happy society not only put a woman in an early grave but also led the press to sensationalize the story to make it fit with our 24-style narratives about the nature of terrorism.

    The story echoes the tragic death of Miriam Carey, a black mother of an infant child, near the White House in 2013. Carey, with her one year old daughter in the backseat of her car, mistakenly drove into a White House checkpoint. When several Secret Service officers drew weapons on her, she panicked and drove away at speed, prompting a police chase that ended with 8 bullets in her car and Carey slain. Miraculously, the infant was unhurt.

    Like the Fort Meade tragedy, we find a situation where a woman of color was interpreted as a terroristic threat to be excised violently when she acted in a way deemed to be unusual. […]

    Similarly, in Mya Hall’s case, although some of the media, like the Washington Post, are making a shift toward gendering her correctly, we see some of the same tropes of reporting on black deaths at the hands of police: the use of a mugshot, an emphasis on past crimes and misdeeds, and so forth, as if to assert that there is some sort of karmic explanation for the tragedy. All as if to suggest that there was something seemly about her summary execution as a suspected threat to national security.

    The role of feminists in these cases, then, should be to keep the flame of attention alive for these women that our society would prefer to forget as rounding errors in the machinery of anti-terror. We should be asking how it is it that two black women, whose wrong turns and sudden (if understandable) panics were interpreted as violent attacks, and why the wages of being in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong skin color and neurotype seem to be death. […]

    It is not an accident that this keeps happening, and I fear it will happen again. The noxious mixture of paranoia over terrorism and a law enforcement institution rife with anti-black racism will lead not only to more deaths but more media carnivals that serve to re-sow the seedbeds for these types of killings. For women of color and particularly black women in this country, that is the all too urgent and very real terrorism that breeds here at home. And as feminists, we would do well to not be complicit in leaving these women in unmarked graves where the tragedies that claimed their lives are forgotten.

    I naively hoped that the killing of Miriam Carey would touch off a scandal that would shake up our security establishment, with ample and aggressive press coverage asking how something like this could happen– but she has been unclaimed even by many of those (outside of black activist communities) who would call themselves radicals. Mainstream feminism must mend that mistake, and refuse to repeat it with Mya Hall.

    Except I heard nothing about Mya Hall. Beginning of April. Nothing.

    One more for her: Baltimore’s transgender community mourns one of their own, slain by police

    Mya, on the streets since 2009, was killed and a newcomer, Brittany, was injured when officers opened fire Monday after the pair allegedly crashed into a guard post at the National Security Agency, 28 miles away.

    In the early moments, the incident had the Washington region on alert, with fears that it could be terrorism or another type of planned attack. But in the end, authorities said the pair were in an SUV stolen from a man who had picked them up the night before. They mistakenly took a restricted exit and panicked when they saw police.

    Officials identified them by their legal names: Ricky Hall, 27, who went by Mya, and Kevin Fleming, 20, or Brittany. When police initially noted that the two were dressed in women’s clothing, it seemed a strange twist. Later, authorities made a point to say that the garb had not been meant as a disguise.

    Now, their friends in Baltimore’s historic Old Goucher neighborhood, many with questions about the encounter with law enforcement, are in mourning. Death, they say, comes too often, too young and too easy to a transgender population marginalized by a society that they say forces some to resort to prostitution, or what they call becoming “survivor sex workers.”

    “They are being driven to their deaths,” Bryanna A. Jenkins, 26, who runs a transgender advocacy group, said while on a tour of the neighborhood. “Out here, you can be attacked. You can be raped. You can be arrested for being trans.” […]

    On the street early Friday, the women hustled for tricks as cars slowed for drivers to survey the scene. Shannen, one of the women working Charles Street, declined to share her last name. “None of us want to live like this,” she said. “But we learn lessons in life, and we die.”

    The women were just as interested in posing questions as answering them. Who claimed Hall’s body? What did her parents say? How many times was she shot? Why did the police have to shoot her?

    Most of all, they felt isolated from the normal ritual of grief as they mourned together on Charles Street.

    Asked Buttacup, a tear running down her cheek, “Will she have a proper funeral?”

    Well, that was a misgendering mess there, by the Washington Post. And I know black trans women’s lives are difficult, but most of that article was just how much trouble she was experiencing, in a rather victim-blamey way. So I didn’t quote much of it. The most human response is from the others on the street, those most interested in what happened to Hall, rather than her troubled past. Anyway, yeah. Never heard about this case before. :(

  58. Saad says

    Giliell, #64

    Ta Nehisi Coates on the dishonest calls for nonviolence

    When nonviolence begins halfway through the war with the aggressor calling time out, it exposes itself as a ruse.

    Yes! This.

    Excellent writing from Coates as usual.

    The people now calling for nonviolence are not prepared to answer these questions. Many of them are charged with enforcing the very policies that led to Gray’s death, and yet they can offer no rational justification for Gray’s death and so they appeal for calm. But there was no official appeal for calm when Gray was being arrested. There was no appeal for calm when Jerriel Lyles was assaulted. (“The blow was so heavy. My eyes swelled up. Blood was dripping down my nose and out my eye.”) There was no claim for nonviolence on behalf of Venus Green. (“Bitch, you ain’t no better than any of the other old black bitches I have locked up.”) There was no plea for peace on behalf of Starr Brown. (“They slammed me down on my face,” Brown added, her voice cracking. “The skin was gone on my face.”)

  59. rq says

    The Baltimore mayor’s office says there were 144 vehicle fires, 15 structures fires and nearly 200 arrests in the unrest that broke out.

    Gang members: We did not make truce to harm cops

    Members of the Black Guerrilla Family, the Bloods and the Crips talk to 11 News, saying they did not make a truce to harm police officers.

    Video.

    As the city of Baltimore shakes awake, state police and National Guard troops gather, prepare.
    Surreal scene as dozens of National Guardsmen line the street at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore:

    Gangs call for calm in Baltimore

    Charles Shelley, a member of the Crips gang, along with a Bloods member named Jamal, called for protesters in the streets of Baltimore to stop rioting.

    Again, video only. The media doesn’t seem to want to ‘waste’ text space on these stories…

    A website for information: #BaltimoreUprising

    On April 19, 2015, Freddie Gray was killed by a Baltimore City Police Officer, sparking sustained unrest. We expect that the officers will be held responsible for his murder and many people have come together to demand justice.

    We will update this page daily with key information regarding the organizing underway in Baltimore as we are in contact with many folks on-the-ground. And this isn’t meant to replace twitter, but to be a central space for information that can be updated in real-time.

    We are all on the right side of justice.

    Schedule of clean-ups, where you can help or receive free meals, etc.

  60. rq says

    .@9thWonderMusic Baltimore.
    .@9thWonderMusic Baltimore.
    Those two look the same, but they’re pictures of peaceful protest. Two different sets.

    Updates on riots, aftermath in Baltimore over death of Freddie Gray

    Rioters plunged part of Baltimore into chaos Monday, torching a pharmacy, setting police cars ablaze and throwing bricks at officers hours after thousands mourned the man who died from a severe spinal injury he suffered in police custody.
    Donte Hickman, pastor of a Baptist church that has been helping to develop the Mary Harvin Senior Housing and Transformational Center shed tears over the fire that engulfed that building Monday evening. Deputy Chief Fire Marshall Shawn Belton says some 80 firefighters were called to fight the huge fire that engulfed the unoccupied building under construction in east Baltimore. Attorney General Loretta Lynch is condemning the rioting in Baltimore that followed the funeral of Freddie Gray, who died from a spinal injury he suffered while in police custody. Police say at least seven officers have been injured in a violent clash with a large group of youths.

    The governor declared a state of emergency and called in the National Guard to restore order.

    I don’t think the National Guard did a good job, there… Annnyway.

    You realize the same people YOU called thugs are the very ones cleaning up empty police shell casings, right? @MayorSRB #FreddieGray
    Citizens cleaning up Baltimore. Rec and Parks crews now helping. #Baltimore

    Why Baltimore Burned, a look at the economic imbalances of the city.

    Do you know why Baltimore burned on Monday?

    Blame pent-up anger over police brutality and the mysterious death of Freddie Gray.

    And blame the disgusting looters who robbed stores and beat up reporters — in broad daylight.

    But the real culprit isn’t a new problem.

    For decades, Baltimore has struggled to solve persistent inequality that puts people down — and keeps them down.

    Life in Baltimore is a tale of two cities.

    And I grew up in the charmed city — truly, Charm City — that stretched along tree-lined streets near Johns Hopkins University, near the art museum, near a small encampment of a half-dozen private schools. The part of Baltimore where we not only dared to dream big, but believed that those dreams would actually come true.

    Freddie Gray died in the other city.

    About a quarter of Baltimore residents live below the poverty line. The unemployment rate in zip code 21217, where the riots broke out on Monday, was 19.1% in 2011.

    Less than 60% of Baltimore’s high school students graduate, the worst mark in the state — by far.

    Taken together, these disparities illustrate what poverty’s like in big-city America. And the effects are brutally obvious in Baltimore’s health care statistics.

    Black infants in Baltimore are almost nine times more likely to die before age 1 than White infants. AIDS cases are nearly five times more common in the African-American community.

    “Only six miles separate the Baltimore neighborhoods of Roland Park and Hollins Market,” interim Hopkins provost Jonathan Bagger said last year. “[B]ut there is a 20-year difference in the average life expectancy.”

    That inequality is staggering when you consider that one of the best health systems in the world — Johns Hopkins Health System — is based in Baltimore. And many of the nation’s top government health care officials live in or commute to Baltimore, to work at the Medicare and Medicaid office.

    Yet Baltimore’s infant mortality is on par with Moldova and Belize.

    When the Baltimore riots broke out, I was flying back to D.C., sitting next to one of America’s leading public health experts.

    We talked about what went wrong in Baltimore, and what needs to change.

    The city needs better schooling, the expert said, given the inescapable link between education and opportunity. And better nutrition, in light of the city’s vast food deserts.

    More focus on social determinants of health. More culturally competent policing. Better housing. And so on.

    It was a laundry list of necessary fixes.

    It was depressingly long.

    And no, Baltimore isn’t alone, the author goes on to note. As we saw with STL. Huge disparities only a few miles apart.

  61. rq says

    Just want to add the closing of that article:

    Broken schools. Bad jobs. No opportunities. These problems need to matter to all of us. Inequality needs to matter to all of us.

    Trust me. You can watch fires burn in Ferguson, and cluck your tongue in concern and sadness. But it doesn’t seem like it can happen in your hometown.

    Then it happens in your hometown.

    Yuh.

    Baltimore students, parents protest state budget cuts proposed for city schools. Those same schools that are closed today for murky reasons.

    More than 100 of Baltimore’s students, parents, teachers and community members on Thursday protested Gov. Larry Hogan’s $35 million in proposed budget cuts to city schools.

    Baltimoreans United in Leadership Development (BUILD) co-chairman, the Rev. Andrew Foster Connors explained the cuts and referenced a Baltimore Sun report that revealed the school system faces an additional $60 million deficit in next year’s budget.

    “Our children are being threatened,” Connors said.

    He also criticized Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake for giving out tax breaks to developers, which increased the city’s property wealth by more than $1.3 billion with the construction of hotels like the Mariott in Harbor East.

    Since the state’s school funding formula is based in part on property wealth, Connors said allowing developers not to pay taxes constituted “developing Baltimore on the backs of our children.”

    Tyhera Bennett, 11, a fifth grader at Robert W. Coleman Elementary, read a letter by her sister Tykaila Taft, in front of the auditorium full of people. The letter mentioned Taft’s Gospel dance teacher, Ms. Tia, who she said is “strict” but “always makes me want to do better.”

    “I would be angry if Ms. Tia or a classroom teacher lost their job,” Bennett read. “She is a great dance teacher. If students work hard, we deserve to have other privileges and have fun in school.

    “If Gov. Hogan were here, I would not want to speak to him, because my mother always told me if you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything at all.

    “But if he were here, I would say ‘you shouldn’t cut schools,'” she read. “Please don’t cut Baltimore and don’t cut my education.”

    The governor’s office has argued that his budget includes more statewide funding for elementary, middle and high school students than any other in history and has said it is open to ideas for how the state can increase its investment in education.

    Carol Augustine, of St. Matthew Parish in Northwood, said she doesn’t have children but realizes how crucial the success of Baltimore’s schools are to the city.

    “I’m here as somebody who loves and believes in kids,” the 68-year-old former teacher said. “I believe kids deserve the best we can give them.”

    We are feeding the children of Bmore this morning and afternoon. Breakfast and lunch will be served. #BaltimoreLunch List of locations and times attached.
    And remember that 84-5% qualify for receiving lunch at school. That’s a lot of hungry kids today – almost as if someone is trying to provoke these communities into some sort of action to justify… I don’t even know.

    Here’s a project put up by @justiceconnect4 called Baltimore is Rising Solidarity: All Plans of Actions with information on what’s happening, and a section on livestreams. They’re trying to centralize some of them, though there’s only two up right now.

    This morning Baltimore youth cleaning up their neighborhoods.

    We the protestors policy cards: policy cards to identify the right questions to ask.

    cWe created these policy cards to help protest groups identify the policies that need to be put in place at the local level to protect our communities from police violence. No one policy will end police violence. It will take a range of policies from each of these cards to produce the kind of meaningful change that we need to truly be safe. We hope you will use these cards together with strategic protests and advocacy efforts to force mayors, city council members, police chiefs and other officials to change the policies and systems that have allowed police to threaten black lives with impunity.

    Under headings like ‘Establish Trust and Legitimacy’ and ‘Respect and Reflect the Community’, there are questions concerning the racial make-up of your local police, what kinds of police code of conduct is there, local police use of force policies, civilian access to police records and what kinds and in which situations, etc.

  62. rq says

    @deray things the media hardly show ! #PrayForBaltimore #RIPFreddieGray

    Contact Information for organizations helping out on the ground – providing all kinds of support, incl. food.

    To the Media, ‘Black’ Is Too Often Shorthand for ‘Poor’

    What does poverty look like in America?

    Judging by how it’s portrayed in the media, it looks black.

    That’s the conclusion of a new study by Bas W. van Doorn, a professor of political science at the College of Wooster, in Ohio, which examined 474 stories about poverty published in Time, Newsweek, and U.S. News and World Report between 1992 and 2010. In the images that ran alongside those stories in print, black people were overrepresented, appearing in a little more than half of the images, even though they made up only a quarter of people below the poverty line during that time span. Hispanic people, who account for 23 percent of America’s poor, were significantly under-represented in the images, appearing in 13.7 percent of them. […]

    But it’s not just that poor people are imagined to be black—they’re also commonly thought of as lazy. In 2008, only 37.6 percent of Americans considered black people hardworking, whereas 60.9 percent said the same of Hispanic people. For white people and Asian people, these percentages were 58.6 and 64.5, respectively. “To the extent that photo editors share these stereotypes,” van Doorn writes, “it is no surprise that African Americans are over- and Hispanics are under-represented among the pictured poor.”

    One potential hole in van Doorn’s study is that he analyzed weekly news magazines published in print, which makes sense when approaching the question for 1992, but made less sense by 2010. On top of that, Time and Newsweek’s print staffs (likely a relatively old-school bunch) might not be reflective of today’s entire media world. Still, some of the discrepancies between print publications’ “pictured poor” and reality are so large—38 percent of welfare recipients are black, yet 80 percent of the people pictured alongside Newsweek’s stories on welfare were black—that it’s hard to imagine that digital publications would have shaken the habit entirely.

    Van Doorn is interested in the relationships between the adjectives “poor,” “black,” and “lazy,” arguing in his paper that they must have something to do with why some Americans are opposed to generous welfare programs. A 1999 book that he leans on heavily, Why Americans Hate Welfare by Martin Gilens, made the case that supporting impoverished adults with cash payouts is unpopular because white voters see such efforts as primarily benefitting black people—whom they believe to be lazy and thus undeserving. If the media’s portrayal of poverty were to reflect its actual diversity, perhaps voters would view social welfare programs more favorably. But that wouldn’t change the underlying phenomenon: that many still believe skin color says something about work ethic.

  63. Pteryxx says

    Thanks again to rq for staying on top of the Baltimore situation in real time and real voices. I was out of contact, and it’s a good thing I looked here before getting exposed to Deep South news coverage. *gag*

    PZ’s latest: The right wing responds to Baltimore

    This is a theme: it’s always the rioters fault (unless they are white, like the Tea Party, and are cunningly dressed up as a minority racial group to displace the blame, like the Tea Party.) And any of the arguments that demand the root problems be addressed will be dealt with via a “blah blah blah” dismissal. Are these people not members of an oppressed community? Do they not have a cause to cry for justice? Are they not ignored, does the problem not persist? What would you have them do?

    He [National Review writer] also quotes from one of his stable of racist apologists for the elite, Steven Crowder.

    You are animals. If you are able to destroy the home or business of your neighbor, you’ve lost your humanity. If you are able to harm your fellow man, to scare their children, to do so with a clean conscience, merely because of something that some cop may or may not have done, which has nothing to do with you . . . you are a horrible human being. You disgust me, as you should anyone who wishes to be a part of civilized society.

    So you’re an “animal” if you destroy property in a protest. What does that make a policeman who murders human beings at will?

    PZ also linked to a 2001 Philly dot com investigation of “nickel rides”. I’m digging up the rest of the series and will post the links to it shortly.

  64. rq says

    HAHA, real time. :D I go to bed during all the action and gather in the voices in the morning. But you’re welcome.

    +++

    Baltimore on edge: a collection of photos and a few articles (like this one and this one) by CNN. So you have been warned – it’s CNN.

    Justus Howell: Autopsy concludes death of Zion teen was homicide. Well, he was shot by a cop. Whether that cop will see any consequences remains to be seen. Paid leave doesn’t count. :P

    @deray Let non-violence become a two-way street. Non-violence by the oppressed alone isn’t working out so hot.

    81% of unarmed people killed by police in 2014 in major U.S. cities were people of color.

  65. rq says

    The Economic Devastation Fueling The Anger In Baltimore

    Last night, peaceful protests after the funeral of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man killed in police custody, turned into more violent unrest when protesters were met with phalanxes of police.

    The protesters’ anger was fueled, at least in large part, by the Baltimore police department’s long history of ugly violence against the city’s residents and a pattern of officers facing few, if any, repercussions. But the protests also take place in the context of a city that has been ravaged economically, most recently by the foreclosure crisis and predatory lending.

    Freddie Gray grew up in a neighborhood particularly plagued by the problems that have long faced the city of Baltimore. In Sandtown-Winchester, more than half of the people between the ages of 16 and 64 are out of work and the unemployment rate is double that for the city at one in five. Median income is just $24,000, below the poverty line for a family of four, and nearly a third of families live in poverty. Meanwhile, almost a quarter of the buildings are vacant, compared to 5 percent in the city as a whole.

    Each of these conditions — high unemployment, low incomes, and widespread foreclosure — has a long history in the city of Baltimore. It was once a thriving economy built on the steel industry. Bethlehem Steel set up shop in the early 1900s with the Sparrow Point mill, and the industry boomed during World War II, employing 35,000 workers at its peak in 1959, according to a 2004 report from the 1199E-DC union. But American manufacturing began its precipitous decline in the 1970s, and Sparrows Point laid off 3,000 workers in 1971, then another 7,000 in 1975. Just 8,000 people were employed at the mill by the 1980s. Overall, the city lost more than 100,000 manufacturing jobs between 1950 and 1995.

    The city never really recovered from that loss and the effects can still be seen today. The country’s unemployment rate stood at 5.8 percent in February, down from 7 percent a year earlier, and the rate for the greater Baltimore area was the same. Yet in the city itself, the rate was 8.4 percent, just one percentage point lower than the 8.9 percent rate it had experienced a year earlier.

    Those rates also mask huge racial differences. As of 2012, just 5.6 percent of white people living in the state of Maryland were out of work and looking for a job; the unemployment rate was in the double digits for the state’s black residents. In the city of Baltimore itself, the share of employed black men between the ages of 16 and 64 dropped more than 15 percent from about three-quarters in 1970 to just 57.5 percent by 2010. Yet more than three-quarters of white men of in the city were employed by 2010. That racial gap has grown steadily since the 1970s, from a 10 percentage point difference in how many men had work to a 20 percentage point one.

    As with other cities that have experienced unrest, like Ferguson, economic decline was paired with white flight. The city’s black population nearly doubled between 1950 and 1970 but whites began moving away: Almost a third of the city’s population left the city between 1950 and 2000. The city’s population peaked at 949,708 in 1950 but began dropping quickly after 1970, falling 118,984, or 13 percent, between 1970 and 1980.

    Aiding that flight were real estate agents who would play up racial fears and worries about falling property values, getting white residents near expanding black neighborhoods to sell their houses and then turning around and selling them to black families at a much higher price. A fair housing coalition discovered in 1969 that the Morris Goldeker Company, a developer, had bought homes for an average of $7,320 and sold them for $12,387 to black families, a 69 percent markup. Today, more than half of black men between the ages of 16 and 64 in the Baltimore area live in the city; just 11.5 percent of white men do. Black people make up less than a third of the state’s population but two-thirds of Baltimore residents.

    Housing discrimination came in another form just before the financial crisis: predatory lenders. In 2012, a former loan officer with Wells Fargo testified that she and the other officers targeted majority black communities in Baltimore and nearby areas, forging relationships with churches and community groups. They pushed homeowners with perfect credit into loans that had higher interest rates than they should have been paying and also gave mortgages to people with low incomes who couldn’t afford them without any income paperwork or down payments. Bank employees called their clients “mud people” and called the subprime mortgages “ghetto loans.” The Department of Justice eventually found out that 4,500 homeowners in Baltimore and Washington, DC had been affected by these practices.

    When the housing market crashed, many of these borrowers with adjustable rates or mortgages they simply couldn’t afford ended up facing foreclosure. Maryland foreclosures surged 280 percent between the end of 2012 and 2013, likely delayed some years by the state’s requirement that foreclosed homes be processed through the judicial system. More than half of Baltimore properties subject to foreclosure on a Wells Fargo loan between 2005 and 2008 are vacant, 71 percent of them in predominantly black neighborhoods. Baltimore still had the ninth-largest number of foreclosures in the country last year at 5,200.

    The foreclosure crisis devastated black wealth across the country. Today, black families in the area have much less money than white ones. While white income fell 6.5 percent between 1999 and 2013, from $72,860 to $68,112, black income started lower — at $62,639 — and fell faster, 7.2 percent. Income is also lower in Baltimore — about $39,000 — than in the surrounding county, which makes about $62,400 on average. The city also grapples with an incredibly high poverty rate — 24 percent of households live below the official poverty line.

    That’s the entire article, a good synopsis of many of the factors underlying the current unrest. It’s not going to be a simple answer, or a short process, but godsdamn it would be nice to start it somewhere.

    Folks exiting #FreddieGray’s funeral had to face this as they walked out church yesterday…

    #MediaGaggle

    All Baltimore City Recreation & Parks recreation centers will be open from 11am to 7pm today, 4/28. #BaltimoreUprising That’s someplace for young folk to go to.

    Here’s a text article on the gang truce, finally. Fight Against Police Brutality in Baltimore Unites Rivals

    Long known for their deep animosity towards each other, the opposing Bloods and Crips gangs joined forces in Baltimore Saturday to take on what many would say is a common foe to all black people: police brutality.

    The rival gangs agreed to call a truce and march together in response to the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray in police custody. He suffered deadly injuries (including a severed spine) during his April 12 arrest and died as a result of them a week later.

    “I can say with honesty those brothers demonstrated they can be united for a common good,” Carlos Muhammad, a minister at Nation of Islam’s Mosque No. 6, told The Daily Beast. “At the rally, they made the call that they must be united on that day. It should be commended.”

    DeRay McKesson, an organizer who has been especially visible in Ferguson, Mo., where Officer Darren Wilson shot and killed 18-year-old-year Michael Brown, was also in Baltimore to see the two gangs join forces.

    “The fight against police brutality has united people in many ways that we have not seen regularly, and that’s really powerful,” McKesson told The Daily Beast. “The reality is, police have been terrorizing black people as far back as we can remember. It will take all of us coming together to change a corrupt system.”

    Baltimore, at least for the moment, is the most potent Ground Zero city in the U.S. for activists fighting police brutality. More than 1,200 people filled the streets of downtown Baltimore Saturday and protested peacefully until the things turned more contentious and the day ended with 31 arrests, according to the Baltimore Sun. Friday, officials admitted that Gray should have received medical attention after his arrest. His funeral is today.

    What makes this story so incredible is that it was the people who are closest to the issue of police brutality who empowered themselves to solve their own issues. The call for unity, even among rival gangs, was a moment in which one could really appreciate the power of community-based conflict resolution.

    The Black Lives Matter Movement is teaching America is that black Americans are forming partnerships with anyone who is ready to fight police brutality–that includes the Crips and the Bloods.

    AG Loretta Lynch on the #BaltimoreUprising. Blockquote from here:

    Statement by Attorney General Lynch on the Situation in Baltimore

    Attorney General Loretta Lynch released the following statement on the situation in Baltimore, Maryland:

    “I condemn the senseless acts of violence by some individuals in Baltimore that have resulted in harm to law enforcement officers, destruction of property and a shattering of the peace in the city of Baltimore. Those who commit violent actions, ostensibly in protest of the death of Freddie Gray, do a disservice to his family, to his loved ones, and to legitimate peaceful protestors who are working to improve their community for all its residents.

    “The Department of Justice stands ready to provide any assistance that might be helpful. The Civil Rights Division and the FBI have an ongoing, independent criminal civil rights investigation into the tragic death of Mr. Gray. We will continue our careful and deliberate examination of the facts in the coming days and weeks. The department’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services has also been fully engaged in a collaborative review of the Baltimore City Police Department. The department’s Community Relations Service has already been on the ground, and they are sending additional resources as they continue to work with all parties to reduce tensions and promote the safety of the community. And in the coming days, Vanita Gupta, head of the Civil Rights Division, and Ronald Davis, Director of Community Oriented Policing Services, will be traveling to Baltimore to meet with faith and community leaders, as well as city officials.

    “As our investigative process continues, I strongly urge every member of the Baltimore community to adhere to the principles of nonviolence. In the days ahead, I intend to work with leaders throughout Baltimore to ensure that we can protect the security and civil rights of all residents. And I will bring the full resources of the Department of Justice to bear in protecting those under threat, investigating wrongdoing, and securing an end to violence.”

    Though that seems to be from yesterday.

  66. Pteryxx says

    The 2001 Philly News series investigating police van brutality: “Battered Cargo”

    Part one: Battered cargo: The costs of the police ‘nickel ride’ In city patrol wagons, suspects slam into walls and slide across the floor. Paying the price are the injured and the taxpayers – not the police.

    Thompson had been arrested outside a North Philadelphia convenience store after a drunken argument with a girlfriend over a set of keys. Police put him in the back of a patrol wagon, his hands cuffed behind his back.

    The low, narrow benches had no seat belts. The bare, hard walls had no padding. As the wagon headed south on Broad Street, toward the 22d District police station, the driver accelerated – “like they were going to a fire or something,” Thompson said.

    Then the wagon came to a screeching stop, Thompson and one of the officers recalled.

    Thompson was launched headfirst into a partition and suffered a devastating spinal-cord injury.

    “They took me right out of the store and into the wagon, and that’s the last I walked,” said Thompson, father of 11 children. “That wagon changed my whole life.”

    Thompson was a victim of a secretive ritual in Philadelphia policing: the wild wagon ride, with sudden starts, stops and turns that send handcuffed suspects hurtling into the walls.

    Top commanders acknowledge that rough rides are an enduring tradition in the department. The practice even has a name – “nickel ride,” a term that harks back to the days when amusement-park rides cost 5 cents.

    An Inquirer investigation documented injuries to 20 people tossed around in wagons in recent years. Thompson was one of three who suffered spinal injuries, and one of two permanently paralyzed.

    Most of the victims had clean records. They were arrested on minor charges after talking back to or arguing with police. Typically, the charges were later dismissed.

    Those wagon injuries have cost taxpayers more than $2.3 million in legal settlements, but the Police Department has responded to the problem with a conspicuous lack of urgency.

    […]

    Calvin Saunders, arrested in South Philadelphia in 1997 driving a stolen car, was propelled from his seat in the back of a police van and rammed his head against a wall.

    He ended up a quadriplegic, paralyzed from the neck down. To this day, Saunders cannot feed, bathe or dress himself and depends on others for his most basic needs. The city paid him a $1.2 million settlement to help cover his lifetime medical care.

    There is no official tally of wagon injuries, no way to know exactly how many people have been hurt.

    The 20 cases documented by The Inquirer were culled from court files and records of city legal settlements. They likely represent a fraction of all wagon injuries – those in which the victims hire lawyers and win financial compensation.

    […]

    Police Commissioner John F. Timoney said he knew of the injury to Saunders but was not aware that officers intentionally subjected prisoners to jolting wagon rides.

    “Such behavior – if it does exist – certainly isn’t condoned by myself or anybody else in this department,” Timoney said.

    He added: “We are making efforts, as much as humanly possible, to reduce . . . the number of incidents where prisoners get hurt in the back of these vans.”

    Timoney’s top deputies say that wild wagon rides are mainly a thing of the past.

    “We’ve had some where the person goes flying and hits their head,” said Deputy Police Commissioner John J. Norris, head of the Internal Affairs Bureau. “They get taken for a ride.”

    Norris, a 30-year veteran of the force, said such abuses had diminished greatly and were now “minuscule” in number.

    Yet many wagon injuries go undetected by Internal Affairs – even some that resulted in legal settlements.

    Of the 20 cases documented by The Inquirer, 11 were never investigated by the Police Department. Norris said he was not aware of the injuries until reporters asked about them.

    Of the nine cases that were scrutinized by Internal Affairs, the department took disciplinary action against the wagon officers in only one – the Thompson case – and then for infractions committed after the wagon ride, not for the injury itself.

    The punishment: a three-day suspension for the driver, Officer Demetrius Beasley.

    A year later, Beasley was promoted to sergeant.

    […]

    An argument ensued. The parking-enforcement officer called police and accused DeVivo of throwing bottles at her. He denied it.

    He was arrested, handcuffed, and taken by wagon to the Southwest Detective Division.

    “We went two blocks, and they slammed on the brakes,” said DeVivo, now 36.

    He was thrown from the seat and landed on the floor, fracturing his tailbone, medical records show.

    DeVivo, who had no criminal record, sued and collected $11,000. As in all the legal settlements, the city did not admit police wrongdoing. The assault charges against DeVivo were later dismissed.

    When the ride was over, DeVivo said, he asked the wagon officers why it had been so rough. He said they told him a dog ran in front of the wagon.

    “They were laughing,” he said.

    […]

    The “nickel ride” has been around for decades, winked at by generations of police commanders and commissioners.

    Rookies learn about it as “part of your street training,” said Norman A. Carter Jr., a retired Philadelphia police corporal whose 25 years on the force included a six-month stint as a wagon officer.

    When the arresting officers wanted to punish someone in custody, Carter said, they would tell the wagon crew to “take him for a ride.”

    The practice persists, current and former officers say, because it is a nearly foolproof way to get back at someone who resists arrest or otherwise angers police.

    Officers out to settle a score need not use their fists.

    Because there usually are no witnesses, injuries can be attributed to busy traffic, bad roads, or a sudden stop made to avoid a cat or dog.

    A nickel ride is a way for officers to assert their authority when someone challenges it, said James B. Jordan, a lawyer who reviewed numerous wagon injuries as the Police Department’s in-house corruption monitor from 1996 through 1999.

    “What better way to show who’s in control than stopping at a light and slamming on the brakes, knowing that they’re going to go flying?” Jordan asked. “And maybe the prisoner was yelling, and maybe this will shut him up.”

    Chief Inspector Frank M. Pryor, head of the department’s patrol operations, said rough rides were once a common method of punishing recalcitrant prisoners.

    In the 1970s, he said, the police ranks included wagon officers who were eager to lash out at uncooperative suspects.

    “If you pissed them off,” he said, “you were going to get the ride of your life . . . and nobody did anything about it.”

    But Pryor said such behavior was no longer tolerated.

    “If we see that happen, we’re on it now.”

    Note all those repetitions of nickel-riding being a thing of the past and how it’s not tolerated now.

    Part 2: Injuries evident, but accountability elusive

    Those cases cost taxpayers more than $2.3 million in legal settlements. The largest, $1.2 million, was paid to Saunders, who remains a quadriplegic.

    Yet the Police Department’s disciplinary system has been toothless in responding to the problem.

    The Inquirer asked the department how many times officers had been punished for taking prisoners on wild wagon rides.

    The answer: none.

    Top commanders say it is hard to pin blame for wagon injuries because there are rarely independent witnesses and the driver can blame a swerve or sudden stop on city traffic.

    But that is only part of the explanation.

    Police stonewalling can make it difficult to get at the truth. In the Saunders case, Internal Affairs concluded that four different officers lied to investigators about their treatment of the suspect.

    Many wagon injuries never come under departmental scrutiny at all – even when the victims are taken to hospitals or collect large settlements.

    That is because a requirement that Internal Affairs be alerted whenever someone is injured in custody sometimes goes unheeded.

    A hospital visit is supposed to trigger an immediate report by a police supervisor to the department’s investigative arm. Often, it does not.

    Of the 20 wagon injuries uncovered by The Inquirer, 11 never came to the attention of Internal Affairs, even though the victims needed hospital treatment, department records show.

    Asked for an explanation, Police Commissioner John F. Timoney expressed surprise and ordered an investigation into those lapses.

    “If you’re being stitched up in a hospital . . . Internal Affairs should be notified,” he said. “We’ll look into it.”

    Of the nine wagon injuries that were investigated, Internal Affairs recommended disciplinary action in just two: the Saunders case and that of Gino Thompson, who was thrown headfirst into a wall during a 1994 wagon ride and remains paralyzed from the waist down.

    In both cases, punishment was recommended for infractions committed before or after the wagon rides that caused the two men’s injuries.

    As for what occurred inside the wagons, Internal Affairs saw no grounds for discipline.

    “It’s pretty difficult to prove these cases,” said Deputy Police Commissioner John J. Norris, head of Internal Affairs. “To prove deliberateness, you really have to get lucky.”

    Because nearly all patrol wagons lack seat belts and protective padding, it can be hard to sort out accidental injuries from those inflicted deliberately, Norris said.

    “It could be totally unintentional, and you could wind up with a broken neck,” he said.

    Since injuries occur in a closed-off rear compartment, without anyone laying a hand on the victim, it is easy for wagon officers to deny knowledge or responsibility.

    “They’ll say a little cat ran in front of the van or ‘I don’t remember any sudden stops,’ ” said Alan Denenberg, a Philadelphia lawyer who handles many police-brutality cases.

    “The officers will say, ‘I don’t know what happened. He was on the floor. I assume he jumped.’ “

    An example of just this sort of excuse-making in practice:

    In piecing together that day’s events, Internal Affairs confronted a sharp divergence between Saunders’ account and those of police officers.

    Saunders said he was injured behind the ear when the arresting officers, Brian Madalion and Brian Sprowal, pistol-whipped and kicked him. Both denied it, but witnesses corroborated Saunders’ story.

    In its report, Internal Affairs concluded that the two officers had used excessive force and lied about it.

    Saunders also told investigators that after the wagon pulled up outside the St. Agnes emergency room, the two wagon officers – Thomas Fitzpatrick and Nancy Morley – ordered him to his feet.

    “I said, ‘I can’t stand up,’ ” Saunders said. “They dragged me out of the wagon, stood me up, and let go. I collapsed on the pavement.”

    Fitzpatrick, the driver, and Morley, his partner, gave investigators a different account.

    They said Saunders never told them he was paralyzed and never fell to the ground. Rather, the officers said, Fitzpatrick lifted Saunders from the wagon and put him into a wheelchair.

    But a firefighter and two police officers who were at the hospital told investigators that they heard Saunders telling Fitzpatrick and Morley that he could not move. These witnesses also said they later saw Saunders lying on the ground, his hands still cuffed behind the back.

    Internal Affairs again concluded that Saunders was telling the truth.

    On the crucial issue of how Saunders suffered his paralyzing injury inside Emergency Patrol Wagon 101, investigators again faced a stark contradiction.

    Saunders said the wagon stopped abruptly, launching from his seat.

    “We were riding for about a minute or two when they jammed on the brakes,” Saunders said. “I was sitting near the door, and I went sliding to the front of the wagon and hit the top of my head. . . .

    “I yelled, ‘Help!’ but they didn’t hear. I was lying on the floor on the wagon. I felt numbness in my neck area and couldn’t move my arms and legs.”

    Fitzpatrick and Morley said the wagon did not make any sudden stops and they never heard Saunders hit the wall or call for help.

    “Nothing happened on the way to the hospital to make that injury occur,” Fitzpatrick told Internal Affairs.

    The report said the wagon officers could not explain how Saunders was injured in their custody. But it did not blame them for causing his paralysis.

    Instead, the report said the injury “could be the result of a fluke set of circumstances.”

    That conclusion was based on a theory offered by Ian Hood, a deputy city medical examiner who reviewed the case for the Police Department.

    Hood told investigators that if Saunders stood up during the wagon ride to shift position, “he could have been propelled into the front wall or rear doors . . . even without a drastic change in speed.”

    The report said: “Hood stated that this sequence of events is a freak occurrence, but could explain the injury.”

    Madalion and Sprowal, the officers who pummeled Saunders after his arrest, were suspended for 30 days.

    Internal Affairs recommended that Fitzpatrick and Morley be disciplined for lying about what happened outside the hospital and for failing to put Saunders on a spinal-injury board.

    They appealed to the Police Board of Inquiry, a departmental tribunal, and were cleared of the charges.

    Sgt. Roland Lee, a police spokesman, said the department would release no information about the board’s reasoning.

    Fitzpatrick and Morley, both still on the force, declined to comment.

    […]

    When passengers are injured while riding in police wagons, the officers typically disavow any knowledge or responsibility. That is what happened after Calvin Saunders suffered his paralyzing injury during a 1997 wagon ride, according to an Internal Affairs Bureau report.

    * Officer Thomas Fitzpatrick, the driver

    “P/O Fitzpatrick did not come to any quick stops and did not swerve the wagon. He did not hear any loud noise . . . . P/O Fitzpatrick stated that he did not know the prisoner was injured in his wagon and that nothing happened . . . to make that injury occur.”

    * Officer Nancy Morley, Fitzpatrick’s partner

    “They did not make any sudden or unusual stops. She did not hear any noises from the rear of the wagon. She cannot offer any explanation for how Calvin Saunders became paralyzed in their custody.”

    Part 3: Why risky wagons remain on streets While officials study van upgrades, injuries continue.

    The parade of injuries did not stop even after Calvin Saunders was paralyzed from the neck down during a wagon ride in April 1997.

    In fact, of 20 wagon injuries documented by The Inquirer in a review that went back seven years, half occurred after the Saunders tragedy.

    Why are these wagons still on the road – and in most cases still lacking even rudimentary safety features?

    Because police commanders and city officials were slow to recognize the safety problem. And when they did, they were slow to adopt the obvious solution: equipping the vehicles with seat belts and padding.

    Even as the list of injuries and taxpayer-funded legal settlements grew, city officials did not hurry to make the wagons safer. Instead, they studied how to do so.

    […]

    The department now says it will launch an all-out safety effort, buying dozens of new wagons and retrofitting old ones so that the entire fleet will have belts and padding by 2003.

    Attorneys for the injured say that should have happened years ago. They contend that the city dithered while people were harmed in vehicles whose dangers were well-known.

    Police brass say the long wait was unavoidable.

    “Granted, it’s taken a long time, but . . . we had to be sure” the new vehicles “would satisfy all of our needs,” said Deputy Police Commissioner Thomas J. Nestel, who oversees the department fleet.

    Nestel said the injuries to Thompson and Saunders did not trigger an urgent response because they were “aberrations.”

    “When you look at the number of people we transport in those vehicles . . . overall our safety record is good,” he said.

    Saunders’ attorney, Fortunato N. Perri Jr., said he was dumbfounded to discover, while researching his client’s 1997 case, that Thompson had suffered a similar injury only three years earlier.

    “And they’re still using these wagons,” Perri said. “It’s frightening.”

    […]

    For two years, Police Department vehicle managers and city fleet experts worked with Sundy to develop a safer wagon. They contacted other police departments and studied a variety of vehicles and safety options.

    The city wanted the vans to continue to serve multiple purposes – transporting evidence and equipment as well as handcuffed suspects. That ruled out some safety features, such as interior partitions to keep prisoners from sliding around.

    Seat belts were also a difficult issue. They had been available in the Ford vans for 10 years, and Havis Shields has long recommended them to its customers, Sundy said.

    But seat belts had never been installed in Philadelphia’s police wagons. Top commanders say they feared prisoners would harm themselves with the straps.

    As the planning group weighed various safety options, police representatives again rejected individual lap belts, this time citing the need to protect officers.

    With individual belts, officers would have to climb into the wagon to secure a prisoner. Police said this would leave officers vulnerable.

    The planning group developed an alternative – a single large seat belt on each side of the wagon, securing all prisoners seated on one of two facing benches. Officers can pull the belts in place from the rear of the wagon, without having to get inside.

    Still, “there was skepticism that this was the solution,” Sundy said.

    […]

    The plan was to continue phasing in new vans at the rate of 10 per year. At that pace, it would have taken until 2008 to retire all the old models.

    In March, after The Inquirer had raised questions with city officials about wagon injuries, the city accelerated its safety program.

    Instead of the expected 10 new wagons, the city will buy 25 over the next year, and it will pay Havis Shields to retrofit 25 older wagons. The total cost: about $900,000.

    Nestel said that he expected to secure additional funding to replace or retrofit the entire fleet by 2003.

    Gary Stowell, a Haddon Heights lawyer and former police officer who was a consultant on Saunders’ case, said it was hard to fathom why the department did not do that years ago.

    “They had notice,” he said. “I just can’t see using these wagons without seat belts. I just don’t believe the fact that they’re criminals means they should be treated like cattle.”

  67. Pteryxx says

    Addendum to the 2001 “Battered Cargo” series: Most cities have moved to patrol cars for moving prisoners

    The City of Chicago, prodded by a string of injuries and a federal lawsuit, pledged to pull its police wagons off the street in 1985. It took 11 years.

    Chicago’s wagons had hard interiors and no seat belts, just like Philadelphia’s. And, as in Philadelphia, passengers tossed around during rough rides had suffered serious injuries, even paralysis.

    The American Civil Liberties Union sued Chicago in 1982, contending that the wagons were inherently unsafe and that police intentionally punished passengers with “green-light rides” or “joy rides” that sent them flying off their seats, bouncing off walls, or rolling around on the floor.

    […]

    The safer wagons were phased in at a rate of 10 a year. It took until 1996 to get all the old ones off the street.

    Chicago’s new fleet of 50 GMC passenger vans cost $2.5 million.

    But most suspects will never see the inside of those wagons. The city now uses patrol cars to transport most prisoners, reserving the wagons for unruly prisoners or mass arrests.

    “Offenders are now transported in a safe environment, and injuries have diminished,” said Sgt. Robert Cargie, a Chicago police spokesman.

    And within days of the series hitting press, Philadelphia police institute an investigation: Phila. police begin own ‘nickel ride’ probe

    Investigators yesterday were pulling files on the cases and assembling information for Deputy Police Commissioner John J. Norris, head of the Internal Affairs Bureau.

    “We’re reviewing all of the cases,” said Lt. Thomas Fournier of Internal Affairs.

    The aim is to determine whether any of the injuries resulted from police misconduct and why 11 of the 20 cases originally went undetected by Internal Affairs.

    Also yesterday, City Council voted unanimously to hold public hearings into wagon injuries. Council gave its Public Safety Committee, which will conduct the hearings in the fall, power to subpoena witnesses and documents.

    “Everything is on the table,” said Councilman Angel L. Ortiz, chairman of the committee. “We are looking into everything that has been reported and everything that’s brought to our attention.

    “Not everybody who rides in those vans is guilty of crimes,” he said, “and even if you are guilty, you shouldn’t be getting punishment before you get a trial.”

    […]

    In a resolution approved unanimously yesterday, Council said it was proceeding with hearings, despite Timoney’s action, because “there are still too many policy questions and issues of accountability that remain unanswered.”

    Among those, Ortiz said, is why 11 of the 20 cases went uninvestigated.

    Fournier said Internal Affairs also wanted an answer to that question.

    “Some of them we have no information on, and we’re trying to figure out how come Internal Affairs didn’t get notified,” he said.

    Of the nine cases involving wagon injuries that did receive departmental scrutiny, Internal Affairs recommended disciplinary action against police officers in just two, for infractions committed before or after the wagon rides.

    No Philadelphia police officer has ever been disciplined for causing injuries with a wild wagon ride, The Inquirer found.

    Ortiz said he rode in a police wagon a year ago, after he was arrested at a protest at Broad and Cherry Streets. He was handcuffed, put in a wagon with 15 others, and driven to the Ninth District police station.

    “It was very uncomfortable,” Ortiz said. “When you are handcuffed, there’s no way to maintain leverage.”

    Referring to the Council hearings, he said: “All of this . . . has to do with changing the culture of the way people are treated when they are arrested.”

    And from an article on the same day as the series began: Police now press for safer vans The department cut 5 years off its plan to upgrade the wagons. Just a month earlier, questions had been raised.

    Sundy has worked with the city for several years, researching safety options for the wagons. He was expecting to equip 10 new vehicles per year with seat belts, padding and seat dividers.

    In March, Sundy said, he got a call from city officials informing him that they now wanted to “do what it takes” to upgrade the whole fleet “at full throttle.”

    The first of the older wagons to be overhauled was delivered to Havis Shields last week.

    “The request from them is to get up and rolling and outfit the vans as soon as possible,” Sundy said.

    Nestel said he hoped to secure more money to replace or retrofit the remaining wagons by 2003.

    “We will get it done as fast as we can,” he said. “Even one injury is extremely serious and important.”

    Problem being taken care of, eh? Well…

  68. Pteryxx says

    Following the Philadelphia “Battered Cargo” series in 2001, now it’s December of 2013.

    Lawsuits accuse Phila. police of resuming ‘nickel rides’

    McKenna alleges police subjected him to a form of abuse – a jolting and dangerous ride in a police wagon – that has a long, dishonorable history in Philadelphia.

    The practice was entrenched before the department vowed to end it a dozen years ago after an Inquirer investigative series. The articles detailed crippling injuries, including paralysis, suffered by people placed unrestrained in the vans.

    In recent years, at least four lawsuits or complaints have been brought alleging that people were injured during police transports. The three most recent complaints are detailed in this article.

    In a city in which police make about 80,000 arrests every year, it’s unclear whether these complaints are isolated allegations or point to a larger problem.

    Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey declined repeated requests for an interview on the issue. His department also rejected requests to provide a statistical breakdown of cases in which police were disciplined for violating policies on transporting suspects.

    Craig M. Straw, the chief deputy city solicitor who directs city lawyers who respond to lawsuits alleging police misconduct, said his unit couldn’t provide a count of suits alleging mistreatment during police transport. But he said the allegation was not common. “It’s not that prevalent,” he said.

    In the last decade, the department has reequipped its 80 vans in a way that police officials say has made them safer but that critics say has made them more dangerous for prisoners.

    Police commanders say the force has retrofitted almost all the wagons to replace seat belts with so-called grab belts. These are belts that run behind prisoners’ backs. Suspects, seated with their hands cuffed behind them, are expected to hold on during rides.

    Police Capt. Raymond Convery, commander of fleet management for the department, says the new approach has spared prisoners from potentially harmful entanglements with belts and kept police from having to reach over hostile suspects to strap them in.

    But critics say it’s unreasonable and unsafe to expect handcuffed prisoners, sometimes already injured or intoxicated, to secure themselves by holding on to a belt behind their backs.

    “You can’t depend on a person just to hold on with their grip, especially on a belt,” said Lawrence Schneider, a professor in the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute’s Biosciences Group. He helped advise the ACLU in Chicago when it successfully fought to block police there from using vans to transport prisoners.

    Critics also say the grab belts pose an obvious hazard for prisoners in an accident.

    “They just can’t deal with the forces that would be exerted on you in a crash,” Schneider said.

    […]

    Handcuffed, McKenna was put in the back of a police wagon. He said he wasn’t strapped in.

    He said the van took off, taking turns at high speeds, then braking suddenly, throwing him from the seat and to the floor.

    McKenna was charged with simple assault, a misdemeanor. At a trial, the bartender testified that McKenna had struck him, but McKenna said he had not seen the bartender that night. The judge found McKenna not guilty.

    In his testimony, O’Shea said he was not among the officers in the wagon that carried McKenna. He said he drove from the bar and met the van at the police station to help process the arrest.

    At the station, he testified, McKenna injured himself in a cell.

    “He banged his face multiple times off the iron steel bar, which caused a laceration, which caused an injury,” O’Shea testified.

    Police took McKenna to Hahnemann University Hospital. Doctors treated him for three broken vertebrae in his neck.

    They also took notes.

    One typed physician’s assessment says, “Mechanism of injury: banged head against cell in police custody hit head.”

    But another staffer’s handwritten notation reads: “While being transported, pt. hit his own head against divider as reported by arriving officers.”

    A note from a third staffer said, “Hit head on police car door.” This notation doesn’t specify who told that to the staffer.

    McKenna sued the Police Department in 2012 but withdrew his lawsuit this year.

    His lawyer quit the case after McKenna’s neck surgeon, Jay Zampini, said he might testify it was possible McKenna could have inflicted the injury on himself, McKenna said. Zampini didn’t respond to numerous requests for comment for this article.

    O’Shea, in the interview, said McKenna’s initial lawsuit had been “laughed out of court.”

    For his part, McKenna said he planned to refile his suit. He was interviewed at his kitchen table overlooking Quincy Bay, outside Boston. He said he had left Philadelphia because he no longer felt safe there.

    “Why can’t I get some justice here?” he asked. “What if I’d broke an officer’s neck?”

    September 2014: $490,000 settlement for man who said neck was broken in police van

    The city agreed last week to pay the money to resolve the suit brought by James McKenna after he was injured following a confrontation with an off-duty officer in Center City in 2011, according to his lawyer and attorneys for the city.

    Handcuffed, but otherwise unrestrained, his suit says, McKenna was taken on a jolting and dangerous ride in the back of a police wagon. His experience echoed a practice that has a long and dishonorable tradition in Philadelphia.

    […]

    Police say they arrested a drunk and belligerent McKenna after he punched a bartender.

    McKenna denies that. He said a police officer jumped him from behind because he was annoyed at how McKenna spoke with some women at the bar.

    He said that the officer summoned on-duty police, who arrived in a police wagon, and that the officer told his arriving colleagues, “F- this guy up.” The officer has denied saying that.

    McKenna said in an interview last year that he was put in the van handcuffed, but not strapped in with a seat belt. He said police accelerated and decelerated the wagon, knocking him to the floor four times.

    After the last tumble, he said, he couldn’t stand. “I couldn’t muster the strength,” he said.

    In hospital records obtained by The Inquirer, medical workers wrote on his chart, “While being transported, pt. hit his own head against divider as reported by arriving officers.”

    Another hospital note says he “hit head on police car door.”

    However, another note read: “Mechanism of injury: banged head against cell in police custody hit head.”

    At trial, an officer testified that McKenna injured himself in a cell. “He banged his face multiple times off the iron steel bar, which caused a laceration, which caused an injury,” the officer said.

    As part of the lawsuit, Gibbons, McKenna’s lawyer, presented an expert opinion from a doctor who said McKenna’s injuries were far too serious to have been self-inflicted.

    Gibbons said the driver of the van said in a deposition that he had never driven a police wagon before that night. Gibbons said this raised the possibility that poor driving, rather than malice, caused McKenna to be hurt.

    Either way, he said, police were negligent. He said putting McKenna into the van unrestrained set the stage for him to be injured.

    October 2014: After $490,000 settlement, Phila. to review safety of police wagons

    Inspector Michael Costello, who will lead the study, said the department would examine how police elsewhere in the region and the nation transport people under arrest.

    “We’ve had the issue raised to us: are we, in fact, safe?” said Costello, commander of the force’s planning and initiative unit who is looking at the department’s wagon fleet.

    “We are taking steps and making inquiries to determine how safe they are. And if we have a problem, what’s the best way to address it?”

    Really. Because that worked SO well thirteen years ago. What happened to those padded walls and studies about lap belts? What happened to those promises to do better and statements of ‘we don’t do that anymore’ ?

    Maybe the vehicles aren’t the real problem here.

  69. rq says

    Never without humour: Body cams won’t stop bad policing. Can we equip cops w/ a conscience instead? How much federal funding to hire Jiminy Cricket?

    White House faces new racial crisis in Baltimore

    Newly sworn-in Attorney General Loretta Lynch said Monday night the Justice Department will continue its investigation into the death of Freddie Gray and send two top officials to Baltimore in an effort to quell the riots unfolding there.

    Lynch met Monday evening with President Barack Obama to discuss the riots in Baltimore. The meeting was not called specifically as a result of the situation in Baltimore, the White House said, but Lynch told Obama she’d be monitoring the situation there.

    “As our investigative process continues, I strongly urge every member of the Baltimore community to adhere to the principles of nonviolence,” Lynch said in a statement. “In the days ahead, I intend to work with leaders throughout Baltimore to ensure that we can protect the security and civil rights of all residents. And I will bring the full resources of the Department of Justice to bear in protecting those under threat, investigating wrongdoing, and securing an end to violence.”

    Obama also spoke with Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake on Monday, while his senior adviser, Valerie Jarrett, spoke with Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, the White House said.

    Freddie Gray funeral draws White House officials

    The growing violence in Baltimore, just 40 miles from the White House, represents another challenge for the Obama administration in addressing racial unrest across the country. Since the police killing of an unarmed teenager in Ferguson, Missouri, last summer, the administration has worked to acknowledge deep frustrations in minority communities while also supporting law enforcement.

    Obama, the nation’s first African-American president, has spoken in personal terms about police harassment. So far, he hasn’t spoken about the unrest in Baltimore, but White House officials say they’re considering releasing a statement to address the situation.

    The violence in Baltimore comes on the same day as the funeral for Freddie Gray, who died in police custody under circumstances that remain unclear.

    The situation presents an immediate challenge for Lynch, who was sworn in on Monday after a five-month confirmation battle in the Senate. Her strong relationship with law enforcement was touted as a key qualification for the attorney general job.

    She said she will send Vanita Gupta, the head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, and Ronald Davis, director of Community Oriented Policing Services, to Baltimore “in the coming days” to meet with religious and community leaders.

    More at the link, but wow, what a debut for her.

    Apparently, Whole Foods is feeding the National Guard: But those hungry schoolkids can suck it. Gotcha.

    Obama weighs in, and it ain’t pretty. LIVE: Obama expected to make statement on Baltimore . Not live anymore, obviously.

    President Obama is expected to address the state of emergency in Baltimore during a Tuesday press conference from The White House.

    Obama has not publicly made remarks about the protests and violence in the wake of the death of Freddie Gray, a Baltimore man who was arrested and died after a spinal injury. Obama did meet with Attorney General Loretta Lynch to discuss the matter Monday, but reporters were barred from covering the gathering.

    Obama could also address news that Iran seized a U.S. cargo ship that the Pentagon identified as the MV Maersk Tigris.

    The briefing is a joint conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and was original scheduled to focus on a cybersecurity alliance between Japan and the U.S.

    Watch Obama’s remarks in the video above.

    Waiting for a trnascipt.

    White House awakes to ‘national crisis’

    For President Barack Obama and Congress, one thing was clear amid the smoke in Baltimore: A task force didn’t solve the problem.

    There weren’t a lot of firm recommendations from the 11 people whom Obama appointed after last year’s uproar in Ferguson, Missouri, to give him an interim report on 21st Century Policing last month (No. 1 recommendation: “Law enforcement culture should embrace a guardian mindset to build public trust and legitimacy”). They skipped over body cameras. They skipped over racial bias training.

    They did recommend the creation of another task force, this one called the National Crime and Justice Task Force.

    Congress managed to do even less.

    Since then, Walter Scott was shot five times in the back by a police officer in North Charleston, S.C., and Freddie Gray died from spinal injuries he didn’t have before he was taken into custody by the police in Baltimore, which burst into riots and looting Monday, right in the middle of the day.

    With a dozen incidents in a year and a half, all around the country, the frustrations appear to transcend local conditions. And though local officials keep blaming round-the-clock cable news coverage for encouraging the violence, the speed and intensity of the protests in city after city make clear how much deeper than police misconduct these frustrations are — joblessness, hopelessness, racial double standards.

    “It’s a state of emergency of tremendous proportions,” said Marc Morial, president of the National Urban League. “The response you’re having is not about the incidents. The response is about lack of faith in the political system to adequately respond to what we’re dealing with here.”

    Black men are the ones getting killed, but this isn’t just about the black community, or something that confronts Obama because he’s black.

    “This is more of an issue of the presidency, than an issue of the president who happens to be black,” Morial said.

    Obama and Congress are busy arguing over the Iran nuclear negotiations, a trade deal, what could become the broadest climate change agreement in history. But each city that erupts is a reminder of how little’s been done to address what’s hitting Americans in communities across the country much more immediately.

    “We’re in the throes of a national crisis,” said Sherrilyn Ifill, president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. “People are looking at our system of criminal justice and our system of law enforcement and they recognize that something is wrong.”

    The president’s response has been constrained, both by the need to avoid prejudicing any federal legal action and because of a political environment that pins him between those who think he needs to say more on behalf of African-Americans and those who think anything he says about African-Americans shows his bias in their favor. […]

    Federal action has its limits. With few exceptions, police are under state or local authority, and even a much more active Obama and Congress could only force some reforms. But advocates say that the impact of legislation increasing police accountability alone would be significant.

    People “understand that they will be held responsible for looting, but there’s a tacit understanding that when law enforcement assaults or kills somebody, they will not be,” Ifill said.

    Changing that requires moving beyond task forces and conversations that only come up every time another black man’s killed and the national media runs to another city to for a few days of coverage on the ground, Ifill said. Obama needs to address the problem, she said, Congress needs to address it, and everyone running for president needs to do so, as well.

    “This is not something that can be put to the side and ghettoized,” she said.

    Monday night in Baltimore, Police Commissioner Anthony Batts was looking out at his burning city and raising the specter of Watts.

    “I don’t know if it’s going to get worse,” Batts admitted, as he tried to end his late night press conference.

    Obama will have a press conference Tuesday with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. He’ll have the White House press corps and national cameras focused on him to hear him if he chooses to say more about what’s going on in Baltimore and around the country.

    “Look at the attention the Iran nuclear issue is getting from Congress, and from the beltway media. There’s a sense that this is isolated and it’ll blow over,” Morial said. “This is a problem of national proportions and national dimensions.”

    “It’s Baltimore today,” Morial said. “Who will be next?”

    It’s good to see that some people are realizing the depth of the crisis, but not encouraging to see the perception that this has somehow been ongoing since last summer, when it’s a far more ancient issue.

    “They need to be treated as criminals”-@BarackObama on “looters” in #Baltimore. Guess what, they already have been their whole lives. @deray
    I had to double-check to see if that was really Obama speaking. Other quotes aren’t any more encouraging.

  70. Pteryxx says

    Daily Show via Alternet: Jon Stewart and Jessica Williams’ Hilarious Bit Comparing CNN Silence on Baltimore to Hunger Games

    On last night’s Daily Show, Jon Stewart mocked cable news for the festival of smarmy self-congratulation that is the White House correspondent’s dinner. Obama told some good jokes, Stewart concedes, but here’s the problem: as media A-listers celebrated, Baltimore was burning up after the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray in police custody. What did CNN do? Briefly mention events in Baltimore before returning to the White House correspondent’s dinner.

    “Hey, the red carpet isn’t going to interview itself!” Stewart points out.

  71. Pteryxx says

    #52 on this page linked to the account of a teacher in Baltimore describing how students were stranded yesterday afternoon. Here’s a transcript I made. Twitter source, with screenshot of a Facebook post

    A clear narration of what my students and I just saw (and please SHARE this so people know the story): we drove into Mondawmin, knowing it was going to be a mess. I was trying to get them home before anything insane happened. The students were JUST getting out of Douglas, but before that could even happen, the police were forcing busses to stop and unload all their passengers. Then, Douglas students, in huge herds, were trying to leave on various busses but couldn’t catch any because they were all shut down. No kids were yet around except about 20, who looked like they were waiting for police to do something. The cops, on the other hand, were in full riot gear marching toward any small social clique of students who looked as if they were just milling about. It looked as if there were hundreds of cops. So, me, personally, if I were a Douglas student that just got trapped in the middle of a minefield BY cops without any way to get home and completely in harm’s way, I’d be ready to pop off, too.

    I hope everyone’s kids are getting home to them safely tonight.

  72. rq says

    Tonight will probably be similar to yesterday.
    In the meantime.
    What you really need to know about Baltimore, from a reporter who’s lived there for over 30 years

    It was only a matter of time before Baltimore exploded.

    In the more than three decades I have called this city home, Baltimore has been a combustible mix of poverty, crime, and hopelessness, uncomfortably juxtaposed against rich history, friendly people, venerable institutions and pockets of old-money affluence.

    The two Baltimores have mostly gone unreconciled. The violence that followed Freddie Gray’s funeral Monday, with roaming gangs looting stores and igniting fires, demands that something be done. […]

    Baltimore is not Ferguson and its primary problems are not racial. The mayor, city council president, police chief, top prosecutor, and many other city leaders are black, as is half of Baltimore’s 3,000-person police force. The city has many prominent black churches and a line of black civic leadership extending back to Frederick Douglass.

    Yet, the gaping disparities separating the haves and the have nots in Baltimore are as large as they are anywhere. And, as the boys on the street will tell you, black cops can be hell on them, too. […]

    So far this year, the city counts 68 murders, according to a Web site maintained by the Baltimore Sun. That is after 663 murders were recorded over the three previous years. That is a lot of killing, but not nearly what it was in the 1980s and 1990s, when the body count routinely surpassed 300 a year.

    Most of these problems are confined to the pockmarked neighborhoods of narrow rowhomes and public housing projects on the city’s east and west sides. They exist in the lives of the other Baltimore of renovated waterfront homes, tree-lined streets, sparkling waterfront views, rollicking bars and ethnic restaurants mainly through news reports. The two worlds bump up against one another only on occasion. Maybe when a line of daredevils on dirt bikes — the storied 12 O’clock Boys — startle motorists by doing near-vertical, high-speed wheelies in city traffic, or when groups of kids brawl in the tourist zone surrounding the Inner Harbor.

    Still, this leads to a lot of police interaction. When I moved to Baltimore after growing up in New York City, I was surprised at how often I would be forced to squeeze my car over to the side of the road as a police car, lights flashing and siren blaring, roared by. During my 13 years as a reporter at The Baltimore Sun, I heard many people complain that when the police got where they were going, they sometimes exacted their own brand of justice.

    Baltimore police have faced a series of corruption allegations through the years. They have been accused of planting evidence on suspects, being too quick to resort to deadly force and, long before Gray’s suspicious death, of beating suspects. Like police everywhere, they have been accused of routinely pulling up black youth. When he was a teenager, my own son was pulled over while driving his old Honda Civic on several occasions. It has gone on for decades. […]

    On the day that the nation’s first female African American attorney general took office, school kids led the charge as looters stripped and burned a defenseless CVS. Later, roving bands of people smashed store windows downtown and near the Johns Hopkins medical campus. A senior citizen’s housing project under construction in a particular desolate corner of East Baltimore was burned to the ground.

    Hundreds of people — including luminaries such as Jesse Jackson, Kweisi Mfume, and Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake — packed the soaring sanctuary of New Shiloh Baptist Church for Gray’s homegoing service. Many others turned out not because they knew Gray, whose death in police custody earlier this month remains unexplained pending outcomes of multiple investigations. Instead, they are concerned about what is happening to young black men in Baltimore and elsewhere. The pity is that more of us did not reach Gray sooner.

    As Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D) said: “Did anybody recognize Freddie when he was alive? Did you see him?”

    I find some of the language… interesting. School kids leading the charge? A ‘defenseless’ CVS (which I understand is a pharmacy, not a person)? No racial issues? But then he lists a bunch of issues, but never seems to examine how they divide along racial lines.

    Short clip: Community Organizer Deray McKesson shuts down CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. Very short but not taking any shit.

    Grab your cousins & red, blue & white bandanas nd get to Red’s BBQ lot Mike Florissant 6pm today #FreddieGray #Baltimore please share. If the authoritehs believe anyone was cowed last night, well…

    … try, try again? National Guard and Maryland State police along with Baltimore police are staging at M&T bank stadium.

  73. rq says

    The local article. Check out the picture gallery. A striking documentation of the vandalism that occurred, surprisingly (HAHA) little of the peaceful protest.
    And don’t read the comments, even if you can. *shudder* I tried. I’m ashamed.

    Citizen journalist @SamwiseEyes will livestream tonight’s #Baltimore solidarity protest, 6PM CST #Chicago2Baltimore

    Black lives matter: Differential mortality and the racial composition of the U.S. electorate, 1970–2004. GRAPHS!

    Can we get a running list of all these businesses feeding law enforcement agencies during this time- b/c that’s a statement & position – and why are they asking?
    Five Guys join Whole Foods, pass free burgers to National Guard soldiers lined along Pratt St at Baltimore harbour. There’s hungry kids that could use that kind of attention.

  74. rq says

    I just heard the police are tear-gassing folks somewhere over West Baltimore. #BalitmoreUprising So soon?

    the water and snack station. #BaltimoreUprising

    STL: Castro: Promise Zone will encourage ‘holistic’ collaboration to boost St. Louis

    U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Juliàn Castro announced Tuesday that parts of the St. Louis region were designated by his agency as a Promise Zone.

    Speaking at the MET Center in Wellston, Castro said that St. Louis was one of eight communities picked for HUD’s program. Among other things, the program gives selected cities greater access to federal money and manpower to redevelop struggling areas.

    Castro announced that portions of north St. Louis and north St. Louis County would be encompassed under the Promise Zone. In addition to the northern part of St. Louis the zone includes cities such as Berkeley, Wellston, Ferguson, Jennings, Normandy Pagedale, Pine Lawn and Moline Acres.

    “With this announcement, we’re making a simple but bold declaration,” Castro said. “We believe in the St. Louis community. We believe in its people. We believe in its vision. And we believe in its future as well.”

    Castro said St. Louis’ policymakers have provided plans for expanding economic development, job training and early childhood education in struggling parts of the region.

    “The Promise Zones are about connecting some of the dots that are essential for sparking more opportunity in people’s lives and lifting up the overall quality of life,” Castro said. “[St. Louis and St. Louis County’s] teams are working holistically in education, in health, in housing, in infrastructure to lift up the overall quality of life of residents.”

    St. Louis was one of eight communities picked as a Promise Zone out of more than 120 applicants. Both St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay and then-St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley had told reporters they had applied for the designation during the height of the turmoil in Ferguson.

    Baltimore 1968 and Baltimore today. #BaltimoreRiots

    And the march for today has begun. Hoping the police and NG will be less confrontational. Catchup tomorrow.

  75. Pteryxx says

    Lots of RTs of Deray McKesson schooling Wolf Blitzer: (Twitter link) (Interview on youtube)

    deray: there has been a lot of positive demonstrations the last couple of months because the police have continued to kill people +

    wolfblitzer: you want peaceful protests, RIGHT?!

    @deray: remember, the people who have been violent since august have been the police.

    wolfblitzer BUT AT LEAST 15 POLICE OFFICERS HAVE BEEN HURT! 144 VEHICLE FIRES! THERE’S NO EXCUSE FOR THAT KINDA VIOLENCE RIGHT?! +

    deray: no excuse for the 7 people the @BaltimorePolice killed in the past year either, RIGHT?

    @wolfblitzer we’re not making comparisons

    deray: you ARE making a comparison. you’re suggesting that broken windows are worse than broken spines. we’re looking for justice.

    Deray: “I also know that Freddie Gray will never be back, but those windows will be.”

  76. Pteryxx says

    Twitter tonight:

    Baltimoreans are standing in between police & protestors, taking on the responsibility to protect both groups. Wow.

    Police State. #BaltimoreUprising

    Picture of a line of riot cops with face guards and riot shields, shoulder to shoulder, blocking a few teenage black students with backpacks.

    And the NOI is out here. Pennsylvania and North. #BaltimoreUprising

    Joy. #BaltimoreUprising

    Vine of protesters singing and playing trumpets, saxophones, and a trombone together.

  77. Pteryxx says

    continued:

    Storytelling is resistance. We have always faced erasure in blackness — our stories are simply not told or are told by anyone but us.

    I once asked an elder, “How do we keep the movement alive?” to which the elder replied, “The police will do it for you.”

    And apparently there is a training of 300 people on non-violent tactics happening at Empowerment Temple right now too. #BaltimoreUprising

    That was less than an hour ago. I won’t be able to follow the net tonight; hope y’all reading and passing by keep a watch.

    Buzzfeed: Orioles Will Play Wednesday’s Game Against White Sox Without Audience

    The team also announced their next series will be moved to Tampa.

    In a statement released today, the Baltimore Orioles announced tomorrow’s game against the White Sox will be played as scheduled but “closed to the public.”
    In a statement released today, the Baltimore Orioles announced tomorrow’s game against the White Sox will be played as scheduled but “closed to the public.”

    The team postponed games Monday and Tuesday due to clashes between police and protesters that took place near Camden Yards.

    Their next series, against the Tampa Bay Rays, has been moved to Tampa Bay. The Orioles will play as the home team, despite the relocation.

    According to MLB, this will be the first closed-door game in league history.

  78. says

    I almost cannot believe my eyes. I just read that FOX “News” host Shep Smith schools the hosts of The Five ‘Start covering Baltimore and stop trying to indict it’

    “Where are the parents?” Greg Gutfeld asked over images of looting from the city on Monday evening.

    “Well, you know, I’ve not been on the phone with them,” Smith replied. “But if we want to sit here and indict the civil rights community and indict the parents for what we’re watching right now, instead of for now, just covering what happens and then later talk about whose fault it is, because we don’t know whose fault it is.”

    “No one’s indicting anyone,” Eric Bolling told Smith. “We’re watching the pictures. We’re asking the legitimate questions. A lot of our viewers are probably asking the same questions.”

    “Bolling, the question was, ‘Where are the parents?’” Smith shot back. “Surely you don’t expect me to know that.”

    “I agree, Shep, it was a hypothetical,” Gutfeld offered, before Bolling asked where civil rights leaders like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson were, apparently unaware that Jackson was a speaker at the funeral for 25-year-old Freddie Gray earlier in the day.

    Gray’s death in police custody earlier this month was the catalyst for a round of demonstrations leading up to Monday’s unrest. But, Smith explained, multiple factors are also coming into play that have been festering for years.

    “We’ve got a major American city that has decades of turmoil within this neighborhood,” Smith said, pointing at an image of the rioting and citing Fox reporter Doug McKelway’s accounts of residents saying police had made them feel “powerless and hopeless.”

    Gray’s arrest and subsequent death, Smith argued, set the stage for “those who would do harm” to take advantage of the unrest.

  79. Saad says

    I can’t believe my eyes either, Tony.

    CNN has a story up about 2,000 National Guard and 1,000 cops deployed and they went with the headline “RECLAIMING Baltimore”

    Reclaiming.

    WTF, CNN?

  80. Saad says

    Shep Smith has had some reasonable moments uncharacteristic of FOX. Remember when he took time to tell people not to buy into all the hysteria regarding Ebola?

  81. says

    Freddie Gray not alone: 1997 police case raised same issue:

    Shannise Boyd felt a shiver the moment she saw Freddie Gray’s picture on the news last week. Tubes and wires protruded from Gray’s 25-year-old body as he clung to life in a Baltimore hospital bed. Days before, he suffered a severed spinal cord while in police custody, an incident that remains under investigation. He died on Sunday, April 19.

    For Boyd, the scene and circumstances surrounding Gray’s injury were strikingly familiar. Nearly 20 years before, Jeffrey Adrian Alston–with whom Boyd had a daughter–wound up with a broken neck during an encounter with the Baltimore police, leaving him a quadriplegic.

    “It was absolutely chilling,” says Boyd, a 40-year-old physician’s assistant. “It was exactly the same. I remember the whole thing like it was yesterday.”

    As the investigation into what exactly happened to Gray widens, other Baltimore cases have started to surface, raising deeper questions about police conduct and their characterization of these incidents. Several publications reported this week that in 2005 another Baltimore man, Dondi Johnson, suffered a fatal spinal injury after being placed in a police van.

    Baltimore police stopped Alston on Nov. 3, 1997, for speeding in his BMW. According to reports, officers initially planned to write Alston, then 32, a ticket. But they ultimately took him into custody after smelling alcohol on his breath.

    Kerry Staton, an attorney who represented Alston after his arrest, told Vocativ that his client was subsequently cuffed with his hands behind his back and placed in leg shackles. While still on the street, the cops began to search him, dropping his pants and searching inside of Alston’s underwear for contraband. According to reports from around the time of the court case, police and Alston both acknowleged that he gave a pelvic thrust during that part of the search, striking an officer who had crouched down to Alston’s waist to search him.

    What happened next is a matter of contention. Alston claimed that the cops responded to his maneuver by placing him in a chokehold that ultimately snapped his spine, paralyzing him from the neck down. The officers, however, said the injury was self-inflicted after he was placed inside a police van and buckled to a bench.

    “The police claimed that somehow, with his hands behind his back, Alston managed to extricate himself from his seat belt,” Staton says. “Then, they said, with his legs shackled he ran from the rear to the front of the police van like a charging bull and repeatedly head-butted the partition, breaking his neck in the process.”

    In 2004, nearly seven years later, a civil jury sided with Alston, finding that two Baltimore police officers caused the neck injuries that rendered him a quadriplegic. A key factor in the decision was the testimony of Adrian Barbul, a trauma surgeon, who ruled out the officers’ claim that Alston had injured himself inside the police van. When reached by phone this week, Barbul declined to comment on the record.

  82. says

    Legal expert says Michael Brown’s ‘pain and suffering’ may fator in his settlement:

    (excerpt)

    Wrongful death suits often seek millions of dollars, but Michael Brown’s parents are seeking $75,000 in damages, plus attorney’s fees. While this sum might seem paltry considering the high-profile nature of the young black man’s death, Brown was just 18 years old and had no dependents, which will limit the potential settlement in the suit his parents are bringing against the city of Ferguson.

    Most of the country has focused on the fact that Michael Brown was killed during his run-in with police, but the jury deciding the wrongful death lawsuit may also factor in the final moments of his life, according to one seasoned personal-injury lawyer with whom we spoke. “The Brown family could also get money for the pain that [Michael Brown] was in before death. Can you imagine lying there after being shot?” says Gary Burger, a St. Louis lawyer who has worked on dozens of personal-injury cases. This aspect of Brown’s death is referenced in the suit, it reads: “Prior to his death, (Brown) endured a substantial amount of conscious pain and suffering from the moment he was first shot by Defendant Wilson until his body ultimately succumbed to death by six to eight fatal bullets.”

    The suit also names former Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson and alleges that Wilson “unjustifiably shot and killed [Brown], using an unnecessary and unreasonable amount [of] force in violation of [Brown’s] constitutionally guaranteed right to life.” Vocativ spoke with Burger about the factors that will be key in determining the settlement.

    How do you calculate settlements in wrongful death lawsuits?
    This is a claim for Michael Brown’s death, that they killed him and that they shouldn’t have. How do you value a life? In Missouri for a wrongful death case you do not get damages for grief and bereavement. You do get damages for loss of wages. So if a father with kids [died] there would be damages for his wages lost that he would have contributed to his children and to his spouse.

    Now with Michael Brown in particular, let’s say that you die and you don’t have a steady job—how do you figure out what your wage loss would be? There are several ways to do that. There are presumptions under the law. You can bring in a vocational expert who could say that a guy with this type of background was going to get this type of job and make this amount of money. Then take it out through his life expectancy, estimate what he would have made and that he would have contributed X amount to help his parents out in the first couple of years or whatnot. His case is interesting. If you are not married and you don’t have kids you are not really supporting your parents that is a harder row to make in terms of tangible wages lost.

    Are there any other factors could affect the settlement in the Michael Brown case?
    The types of relationships lost. It’s like this: If you took all the family photos for the rest of his life and cut him out of the picture—what is that going to look like?

    How do you assign value to those relationships?
    There is no mathematical formula. There is no clear way. Some juries might hear the evidence and assign one number to it, and another jury might hear the same evidence and assign a much lower number to it — or a much greater amount. I hate to say that it depends, but it depends. If someone isn’t a good person and we aren’t losing a lot, the jury could give him less money than the greatest person ever. But a life is a life, and this is a young man. It is an intangible.

  83. says

    (apologies if this is a double post)
    Witnesses in photos of Baltimore protests dispute MSM version of events:

    As people in Baltimore organize to defend their community against police brutality, there are many different stories coming out both through both the mainstream and social media describing what happened during this week’s Freddie Gray protests.

    There is now a heated debate surrounding various videos and photos that allege acts of violence, theft, and vandalism. However, it has now been confirmed that mainstream media sources have been posting pictures and creating their own stories to go along with them. In some cases, witnesses or people who were actually seen in these pictures have come forward to dispute the stories that have been ascribed to these images.

    One aspect of the violence this weekend that has not been covered by the mainstream media is the fact that drunk sports fans were actually instigating fights with the protesters. This is not surprising, given the notorious history of violence for which sports fans across the country are well-known.

    Just a few weeks ago, Kentucky fans set fires and brawled in the streets while rioting after a Final Four game. Then there was the time a man named Matt Fortese ended up in the hospital in critical condition after being brutally assaulted by fans at an Orioles game. Or how about that Broncos game when at least three people were stabbed in the parking lot outside of the stadium? Ring any bells? And who could forget about Jonathan Denver, 24 years old, who was stabbed to death during a fight after a Dodgers game.

    The media, apparently.

    Many of the photos that were taken of protesters interacting with drunk sports fans were misconstrued by the mainstream media to portray only the protesters as violent, and the sports fans completely innocent.

    There are a few screen caps at the link that set the record straight about some of the false narratives perpetuated by the MSM.

  84. says

    Colorado legislation that fines cops $15K for interfering in citizens filming them passes House

    A recently proposed bill in Colorado imposing legal penalties on police officers who interfere with citizens filming them could soon become law. The state’s House Of Representatives passed the bill this week, and it will now move on to vote in the Senate.

    If it becomes law, the bill would reportedly require police officers to have someone’s consent or a warrant to physically take or destroy a persons camera or footage. If an officer violates this law, the victim would then be able to seek damages up to $15,000 plus attorney fees. This would also be the first law in the country that would guarantee civil damages to people who have their recording rights violated by police.

    After passing in the House on Wednesday, Colorado House Bill 15-1290 will now make its way to the Senate for a final vote.

    Police union officials are not happy about the bill, and they say that it treats officers unfairly and holds them to a standard that citizens are not held to, which is ironic because police typically behave as if they were above the law, and not subject to the same standards as everyone else.

    “The CACP does not believe that the people who put their lives at risk every day should have different standards of liability than anyone else in government,” police union representative AnneMarie Jensen, said in a statement.

    According to 7 News Denver, Rep. Joe Salazar, co-sponsor of the bill, said House Bill 15-1290 has support from both Democrats and Republicans and is not intended to penalize police.

    “It takes a very special person to be a police officer,” Salazar said. “We want to honor them, but at the same time, we have a few bad apples who need to be aware that their conduct now has major, major consequences.”

    One of the incidents that caught the attention of Salazar was the case of Bobbie Ann Diaz. Diaz was trying to film what happened after police shot and killed 17-year-old Jessica Hernandez.

    As Diaz was trying to film the incident, she says an officer stopped her and threatened her with arrest if she continued to film.

    “At that time, (the officers) put Jessie down and they were on their knees yelling at Brianna that she better not record. She better not,” Diaz said. “She got scared. She got intimated. These are big officers and she didn’t want to make things worse.”

    Diaz didn’t know that she was protected by law to film the police as long as she wasn’t interfering with their investigation.

    Only through shining light into the darkness, i.e., filming police encounters, will enough people finally see how corrupt and violent this system is becoming. Your right to film the police must be protected.

  85. says

    The ugly history of racist policing in America

    Last August, during the unrest in Ferguson, Vox spoke with historian Heather Ann Thompson, a professor at Temple University who writes extensively on 20th-century urban politics and criminal justice and worked on the National Research Council’s 2014 report on mass incarceration, to talk about the tense and often hostile history between African Americans and the police in America.

    Dara Lind: What does history teach us about what’s going on in Ferguson?

    Heather Ann Thompson: There are some locally important things about this, and there are some nationally important things. There’s been a lot of attention to the fact that St. Louis did not riot during the 1960s, for example. But St. Louis has always had this very tortured racial history. In July of 1917, there was one of the most brutal riots against African Americans there — scores and scores of white folks attacking blacks simply for being employed in wartime industries. There were indiscriminate attacks and, in effect, lynchings: beatings, hangings of black residents.

    So the fact that St. Louis didn’t erupt in the ’60s is almost an anomaly or an outlying story. Because St. Louis does have very tense race relations between whites and blacks, and also between the police and the black community.

    Nationally, it suggests that we haven’t learned nearly enough from our history. Not just 1917, and all the riots that happened in 1919, and 1921 — but, much more specifically, from the ‘60s. Because of course, this is exactly the same issue that generated most of the rebellions of the 1960s. In 1964, exactly 50 years ago, [unrest in] Philadelphia, Rochester, and Harlem were all touched off by the killing of young African Americans. That’s what touches off Harlem. It’s the beating of a young black man that touches off Rochester in ’64. It’s the rumor that a pregnant woman has been killed by the police in Philadelphia in ’64. So in some sense, my reaction to this is: of course. Because until you fundamentally deal with this issue of police accountability in the black community and fair policing in the black community, this is always a possibility.

    DL: This continuity from the white attacks on black citizens after World War I, to the rioting of disenfranchised African Americans in the 1960s, is interesting. Is there a relationship between those two and between the violence of private white citizens and violence of police?

    HT: On the surface they seem unrelated: you’ve got racist white citizens who are attacking blacks in the streets, and then years or decades later, you have the police acting violently in the black community.

    In response to all those riots in the 1910s and 1920s, civil rights commissions were set up in cities, and there was pressure on both local and federal governments to address white vigilantism and white rioting against blacks. And while it was not particularly effective, it certainly had this censuring quality to it. And then what historians would agree happened is that, in so many cities, the police became the proxy for what the white community wants.

    So one of the answers is that police became the front line of the white community — or, at least, the most racially conservative white community. It’s the police that are called out, for example, when blacks try to integrate white neighborhoods. It’s the police that become that body that defends whites in their homes.

    DL: How did this play out after the unrest that you mentioned?

    HT: We start the war on crime in 1965, which, of course, is very much in response to these urban rebellions. Because politicians decide that protests against things like police brutality are exactly the same thing as crime — that this is disorderly. This is criminal.

    And so, police are specifically charged with keeping order and with stopping crime, which has now become synonymous with black behavior in the streets. The police, again, become that entity that polices black boundaries. And I will tell you that one of the most striking things about the media coverage of Ferguson is that they are absolutely doing what they did in the 1960s in terms of the reporting: “This is all about the looters, this is all about black violence.”

    DL: It certainly seems that even before any looting actually happened in Ferguson, police were anticipating that kind of thing.

    HT: Any time that there is urban rebellion, the way that it is spun has everything to do with whether it’s granted legitimacy. Notably, when there was rioting in the streets of Birmingham, Alabama, in 1963, and you saw the police with fire hoses and police dogs, it was very easy for white Northerners, particularly the press, to report that for exactly what it was — which was police violence on black citizens who were protesting. Everyone’s very clear about that. Sheriff Bull Connor is a racist, the police are racist, and that is why it is violent.

    But the minute that these protests moved northward, the racial narrative was much more uncomfortable. “Why in the world would blacks be protesting against us good-hearted white folks in the North? And how dare they?” And what it means is that they were demanding too much, and that they were in fact just looking for trouble. So that narrative of who gets to be a legitimate protester shifts dramatically once protests move northward. It’s all about violence, troublemaking, looting, and so forth.

    More at the link.

  86. says

    Once again, taxpayers have to foot the bill for victims of police brutality.
    Settlement won’t even cover medical bills for baby whose face was blown apart by police grenade

    Habersham County, GA– In May of last year, Bounkham “Baby Bou Bou” Phonesavanh, 19-months-old, was asleep in his crib. At 3:00 am militarized police barged into his family’s home because an informant had purchased $50 worth of meth from someone who once lived there. During the raid, a flash-bang grenade was thrown into the sleeping baby’s crib, exploding in his face.

    Beyond the disfiguring wounds on the toddler’s face, the grenade also left a gash in his chest. As a result, Bou lost the ability to breathe on his own and was left in a medically induced coma for days after the incident. Bou was not able to go home from the hospital until July.

    No officers were charged for their near-deadly negligence, and the department claimed that they did not know that there were children in the home. They defended their reckless actions by saying that they couldn’t have done a thorough investigation prior to the raid because it “would have risked revealing that the officers were watching the house.”

    Now, a nearly $1 million dollar settlement has been reached between the family and the county. One of the terms of the settlement is that the family may not sue individuals involved in maiming their son. Instead of coming from the wallets of the negligent officers, it will come strictly from the taxpayers.

    “Over the last few months the Board of County Commissioners has sought a way to bring some measure of closure to this matter while doing what is right, both for the Phonesavanh family and the law enforcement officers involved,” said a statement issued on behalf of the county. “For that reason we have reached a limited settlement with the Phonesavanhs that allows for a payment to them in exchange for protection of the officers and the county.”

    The settlement does not mean that there can be no further litigation, but that all litigation must be directed at the county insurance policies, not individuals or the county’s general fund.

    The settlement is to be broken up as follows:

    • $538,000 paid to Baby Bou Bou’s parents, Alecia and Bounkham Phonesavanh, to cover medical expenses
    • $200,000 set aside “to provide for the schedule of future periodic payments” to the todller
    • $137,000 paid to Baby Bou Bou himself for “personal injuries”
    • $62,000 to Alecia Phonesavanh for “having been subjected to emotional distress”
    • A total of $27,000 split evenly among the Phonesavanh’s three other children

    Medical bills for the treatment of Bou’s injuries are expected to reach $1 million dollars.

  87. says

    Legalized murder is the norm. Dallas police escape all accountability for killing mentally ill man:

    A grand jury has decided not to indict two officers who fatally shot a mentally ill man after his mother called the police for help getting her schizophrenic son, 39-year old Jason Harrison, to the hospital.

    Officers John Rogers and Andrew Hutchins responded to the call placed last June, arriving to find the mother calmly greet them at the door. Body cam footage from one of the officers shows her explain to the officers that her son was schizophrenic and rambling, at which point he appears behind her in the doorway, playing with a screwdriver.

    Upon seeing the man, one officer yells for him to drop the screwdriver, giving him only 5 seconds to reply before the cops opened fire. Harrison was shot five times, taking two of the bullets in his back as he collapsed into the garage door. He died only a few feet away from his mother as she yelled, “Oh, they killed my son! Oh, they killed my son!”

    The officers continued to command the dead man to drop the weapon. After removing the screwdriver from his motionless hand, one of the officers puts his arms behind his back, preparing to handcuff a dead body. A spokesperson for the Dallas Police said the officers acted in fear for their life. In affidavits, the officers said they were forced to shoot the mentally-ill man after repeated orders to drop his weapon were ignored.

    Again, the officers opened fire in under ten seconds.

    Harrison’s mother has called the police for help with her son in the past with no incident.

    The family is devastated at the grand jury’s decision, but has filed a federal civil lawsuit. The wrongful death suit was filed by family attorney Geoff Henly and names the city and officers Rogers and Hutchins, claiming they should have used nonlethal means to attempt to de-escalate the situation.

    The reluctance to indict officers who are clearly guilty of misconduct is a very clear problem in the judicial system. According to a study released by the Washington Post, for every one thousand people killed by police, only one cop is convicted of a crime. According to the analysis, in order for prosecutors to press charges, there had to be exceptional factors at play. These include “a video recording of the incident, a victim shot in the back, incriminating testimony from other officers or allegations of a coverup.” This case had two of those exceptional factors, and it’s not even going to trial.
    This sends an alarming message not only to the families of victims seeking justice, but to other cops – police officers have been and will continue to get away with murder.

  88. says

    http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-officer-misconduct-payment-20150428-story.html

    [Th]e San Diego City Council agreed Tuesday to pay $250,000 to a woman who alleged that she was groped by an on-duty police officer after being arrested on suspicion of driving a stolen truck.

    The woman alleged that Officer Donald Moncrief made “unwanted sexual comments” and then touched her breasts and exposed himself while he was taking her to jail in February 2013.

    Moncrief, now 40, was suspended after the allegation was made public. He later left the Police Department, although city officials decline to say whether he resigned or was fired.

    The incident was investigated but no criminal charges were brought.

    The payment settles a lawsuit filed by attorney Daniel Gilleon on behalf of the woman against the city and Moncrief.

    Along with approving the $250,000 settlement, the council also agreed to pay a total of $1.3 million to two women sexually assaulted by ex-Officer Christopher Hays.

  89. says

    From Color of Change:

    ColorOfChange partnered with Media Matters for America to study the representation of Black people in local news reporting on crime.

    The result is an outrageous level of distortion: while 2 out of every 4 people the NYPD arrest for murder, assault and theft are Black, 3 out of every 4 people the news media show as responsible for those crimes are Black. The exaggerated amount of Black faces linked to crime breeds suspicion and hostility toward Black people, as does the under-reporting of white-perpetrated crime. (And that’s not even factoring in the vicious over-targeting of Black people by police in the first place.)

    With WABC being the worst, local news stations are singling out Black people — unfairly and disproportionately focusing their crime reporting on Black suspects, and inaccurately exaggerating the proportion of Black people involved in crime. They are reinforcing stereotypes and biases that have serious consequences for Black people in everyday life.

    These stations have failed the most basic responsibility of journalism: to report the news accurately. Our News Accuracy Report Card evaluates each major network affiliate in New York City for their accuracy in crime reporting. They can and must do better.

    Here is the full report:
    https://s3.amazonaws.com/s3.colorofchange.org/images/ColorOfChangeNewsAccuracyReportCardNYC.pdf

  90. says

    Baltimore official battles CNN host ‘just call rioters ‘n*****s’ if you’re going to call them thugs’

    [Ba]ltimore City Council member Carl Stokes clashed with CNN’s Erin Burnett on Tuesday when she argued in favor of calling rioters in the city “thugs.”

    “Isn’t it the right word?” Burnett asked.

    “No, it’s not the right word to call our children ‘thugs,’” Stokes said. “These are children who have been set aside, marginalized, who have not been engaged by us.”

    “But how does that justify what they did?” Burnett countered. “That’s a sense of right and wrong. They know it’s wrong to steal and burn down a CVS and an old persons’ home. I mean, come on.”

    “Come on? Just call them n*ggers. Just call them n*ggers,” Stokes told her. “No, we don’t have to call them by names such as that. We don’t have to do that. That is exactly what we’ve sent them to. When you say, ‘Come on,’ come on what? You wouldn’t call your child a thug if they should do something that would not be what you expect them to do.”

    “I respect your point of view,” Burnett replied. “I would hope that I would call my son a thug if he ever did such a thing.”

    The city’s mayor, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, has been criticized for blaming the unrest in the city on “thugs” while seemingly ignoring police violence that contributed to escalating tensions between law enforcement and residents leading up to the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray in police custody earlier this month.

    “You need to do better, Rawlings-Blake,” Hillary Crosley Coker wrote in Jezebel. “Because, right now, you look like the woman who is protecting the people who are killing your voters.”

    On Tuesday, Burnett attempted to get Rep. Kweisi Mfume (D-MD) to weigh in on the topic, only for Mfume to describe it as a derailing.

    “It’s important that we not shift the focus into something that has absolutely nothing to do with poverty, despair, hunger, homelessness and the sense of not belonging,” Mfume said.

    The exchange between Burnett and Stokes came hours after her colleague, Wolf Blitzer, was called out by activist DeRay McKesson for also downplaying the use of lethal force by authorities.

    Referring to those who have engaged in civil unrest as ‘thugs’ is a [sometimes] subtle attempt to shift the discussion away from issues like police accountability, the use of excessive force, or the disproportionate impact of policing on black bodies. Calling protesters ‘thugs’ delegitimizes their concerns and paints them as a problem. It’s disgusting and dehumanizing.

  91. says

    Why blacks running from cops is entirely logical and so common
    Long article. Here’s a snippet:

    As the list of victims of police violence grows longer, the public outcry is getting louder. Not because this is a new phenomenon, but because so many communities have seen the police act as an occupying force for so long.

    Nowhere is this more apparent than in On the Run: Fugitive Life in an American City, by Alice Goffmann, chronicling the six years she spent immersed in the Philadelphia neighborhood of “6th Street.” Documenting interactions between the police and her roommates, friends and neighbors, Goffmann shows us a community living under the shadow of mass incarcerations and police violence, trapped by the vagaries and technicalities of the criminal justice system, where minor infractions can result in a lifetime on the run. In the “fugitive world,” running not only becomes a way of life; it’s the science and art of survival.

    I had a conversation with Goffmann, speaking from her office at the sociology department at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, earlier this week. The following is edited for clarity.

    6th Street isn’t poorest, or most crime-ridden neighborhood in Philadelphia—it’s a mixed income neighborhood, with some middle class families. Yet, according to your book, you saw the police detaining or arresting someone within that four block radius, with a few exceptions, every single day.

    It’s a fact in America that in these poorer communities—and in largely African-American neighborhoods like the one I was in—you’re much more likely encounter a police officer. The level of police presence is just off the charts compared to similar white neighborhoods. So you have the increased likelihood of interaction, and the high probability that that interaction will not be good. Even if there’s no arrest, there can still be a detention, a search, whatever, and who knows how long that’s going to last? It means you won’t be home to dinner tonight. Maybe not even tomorrow. It makes you not only fearful of police contact, but also of the places where the police might go to find you—your girlfriend’s house, your kid’s school, your place of employment.

    You noted that your assumptions behind the project changed very quickly, from the idea that only felony offenders were marginalized, to the idea of a “fugitive” subclass that’s far more complex.

    Definitely. When we began, we were focusing on the impact of mass incarceration on a community. It was based on a lot of quantitative research, and the image that we had from this research was that: first you were free, then you were charged with a felony and hauled off to jail, and after you got out came all the financial, emotional, political pressures of being a felon. That was the model: free, prison, felon. But that just wasn’t what I was seeing. I was seeing a lot of non-felons—people with low-level warrants, on probation or parole, with traffic fines or custody support issues, in halfway houses or rehab—living like fugitives, under the radar.

    These low-level warrants in particular are a huge issue with police interactions.

    When I was writing this book, we didn’t know was how many people had low level warrants; we just weren’t collecting that data nationally. We now know that there’s about 2 million warrants that have been reported voluntarily to the database, and leaving a huge number that haven’t been reported. About 60% of these warrants are not for new crimes, but for technical violations of parole, unpaid court fees, unpaid child support, traffic fines, curfew violations, court fees. And it’s this group of people that are terrified. If they’re stopped by the cops, any of these reasons is enough to bring them in, to get them trapped into the system again.

    It goes well beyond being guilty, or even just running from the cops. There’s this story in your book where this young man wants to get a state I.D. during the time he’s clean (i.e. free of warrants). But he just sits there—this big tough guy—and he can’t bring himself to go in.

    If you’re part of this class, it means you don’t go to the hospital when you’re sick. You’re wary of visiting friends in the hospital, or attending their funerals. Driving your kid to school can be daunting. You don’t have a driver’s license or I.D. Most of the time, you can’t seek legal employment. You can’t get help from the government. It comes from, partly, growing up in a neighborhood where you’ve watched your uncles and brothers go to jail, and your aunts and mom entangled in the court system without ever getting free.

    You note that women in particular face a great deal of police pressure to inform or cooperate in some fashion.

    In a poll I did of the women [living in the four block radius of 6th Street], 67% said that they’d been pressured by the police to provide information on a male family member or partner in the last 3 years. If you’ve got a low-level warrant or some probation issue, you can be violated by authorities if you don’t inform when asked. So you’re really talking about a policing system that hinges on turning families against each other and sowing a lot of suspicion and distrust. It’s very ironic that people blame the breakdown of black family life on the number of black men behind bars when the policing strategies that put them there are exactly about breaking those family bonds.

  92. rq says

    So it’s smoke bombs (apparently not tear gas) and rubber bullets in Baltimore, standoffs in Chicago and Denver, shots fired at protestors in Ferguson… Still going on right now.
    Here’s a start on things.

    Speaking truth to power. #BaltimoreUprising

    Family. #BaltimoreUprising

    Video: Will the results of the BPD Investigation into Freddie Gray’s death be made public on friday? Apparently not – they will be released (to the police?) but not public.

    Baltimore gang members call bullshit on police reports that gangs called truce to kill cops, in case anyone needs a reminder.

    Baltimore members of the Black Guerrilla Family, the Bloods and the Crips talk to a Baltimore TV news reporter, and say they did not make a truce so that they could unite and harm police officers. A police warning was issued nationwide yesterday, warning police departments that these three gangs had threatened to kill cops.

    FBI Warned Cops to Lock Down Their Social Media After Freddie Gray’s Death

    Although the alert—sent through the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center—doesn’t mention Gray’s death or Baltimore, the timing of the alert suggests a rising fear of anti-police sentiment off and online:

    Law enforcement personnel and public officials may be at an increased risk of cyber attacks. These attacks can be precipitated by someone scanning networks or opening infected emails containing malicious attachments or links. Hacking collectives are effective at leveraging open source, publicly available information identifying officers, their employers, and their families.

    It’s been years since “hacktivists”—usually a reference to Anonymous—have wielded much power on the web (the last time Anonymous tried to exact revenge against the police, it fingered the wrong officer). Nonetheless, the FBI suggests local cops and “public officials” pay extra attention to their social media activity (“the act of compiling and posting an individual’s personal information without permission is known as doxing”), and do what they can to conceal the fact that they’re actually cops

    And as an aside, Sarah Kendzior has had some amazing essays on poverty and racism in St Louis, and has now self-published a collection of these – have a look here: The View From Flyover Country: Essays by Sarah Kendzior.

  93. rq says

    Right now, at the corner where Freddie Grey was beaten and arrested by @BaltimorePolice.

    The Baltimore PD Commissioner just said that the police suffered “bruised hands” from rocks thrown. Bruised hands? Are you fucking serious?

    Whole Foods & Five Guys come under fire for tone-deaf police stunt

    All Baltimore City public schools were closed on Tuesday in response to violent protests breaking out across the city in response to Freddie Gray’s death. About 84 percent of students in city’s public schools receive free or reduced-price lunches, according to the school district’s website. The closings mean that these students were unable to access these lunches, and churches and community centers have been scrambling to fill the gap.

    That’s why it was so shocking to hear that Whole Foods and Five Guys had taken the initiative to provide free food for National Guard soldiers instead of for thousands of high-need children.

    #Baltimore Justice for #FreddieGray march on the move – #BaltimoreUprising (livestream link there)

    And they’re off, heading west on Presbury. Were staying here handing out some books and cupcakes for the youths

    Families whose loved ones were killed by NYPD waiting to be acknowledge in assembly chamber thx @CharlesBarron12

  94. rq says

    And the Billy Graham staff has arrived. #BaltimoreUprising

    Those retweeted Deray quotes Pteryxx had upthread? Here’s the youtube of the interview: Wolf Blitzer interviews Deray McKesson about violence in Baltimore . WATCH IT.

    Joy. #BaltimoreUprising

    CNN Feasts on Baltimore Riot Coverage

    A casual CNN viewer would have had good reason this morning to think that the rioting, looting and arson that took place yesterday in Baltimore after the Freddie Gray funeral was still happening because the signature airborne shot of the pillaging of that CVS drug store was still airing.

    I isolate my criticism on CNN, but it’s not the only cable network to loop scenes of Monday’s violence as video wallpaper for Tuesday’s jabbering anchors—even though the real rioting had ceased. Nor is such looping unusual. Cable news routinely recycles and re-recycles the most striking video from newsworthy accidents, plane crashes, riots, and natural calamities without adding a time/date stamp to indicate that they’re not “live.”

    Nor am I the only one complaining. Today, President Barack Obama groused about the practice. “One burning building will be looped on television over and over again,” Obama said, adding his disappointment that the peaceful demonstrations that preceded the uprising were relatively ignored by the press.

    Of course, Obama is wrong to think that two days of peaceful demonstrations outrank one day of violence. He’d last five minutes in my profession with news sense like that. In fact, violent and graphic footage is almost always newsworthy in its first dozen times airings. If video exists of an unarmed man being repeatedly shot in the back, that’s news. If floodwaters transform New Orleans streets into a river delta, and cameras are there to record the images, that’s news, too. If the trade towers fall, that’s news, as well. But Obama is right to slam cable’s tendency to use yesterday’s clips to bolster viewer interest in stories that have already peaked. TV news reruns and reruns sensational footage because it knows sensational footage, no matter how dated, is an easy way to keep viewers emotionally engaged—and, in turn, keep them tuned in.

    More than ever today, CNN feasts on unfolding, breaking news—after all, its ratings are always best when there’s real legitimate news. (Anyone remember the disappearance of Malaysia Air Flight 370?) Network chief Jeff Zucker understands that viewers love actual stories; CNN’s brand, try as hard as they might in recent years, has never been about the punditry that has marked other cable networks. Its brand is news, so real news means real viewers. […]

    But enough about preventing and stopping riots, and back to media coverage. Should we suspend the First Amendment and censor riot coverage in the name of saving lives and property? That might have been technological possibility a generation ago, but YouTube, Vine, Periscope and other mobilized platforms make radical censorship moot. Haddock and Polsby say no, too, warning of the “serious danger of political opportunism if authorities were permitted to interdict the flow of news merely because they asserted a fear of that riots might otherwise ensue.”

    And so we’re left with this: The best way for the press to get riots right is to study their causes and their trajectories and to report on them as accurately and dispassionately as possible. If there was more attention paid to the conditions in places like Ferguson and Baltimore, more media attention that pushed for political solutions, the media could play a key role in preventing riots from starting in the first place. That’s my long-term instruction.

    For the short term, though, do me and Obama a favor and get rid of the video wallpaper.

    500 members of clergy have come together to strategize at Empowerment Temple. #BaltimoreUprising

    And apparently there is a training of 300 people on non-violent tactics happening at Empowerment Temple right now too. #BaltimoreUprising

  95. rq says

    NJSP Unified Command CTR headed to Baltimore to assist in maintains order #BaltimoreUprising

    I once asked an elder, “How do we keep the movement alive?” to which the elder replied, “The police will do it for you.” Worth repeating.

    Standing in Kirkwood for Baltimore. @deray @jdlynf29

    There Is Truth Behind the Anger in Baltimore

    Baltimore is not a think piece. Not every action in a riot is a metaphor. Freddie Gray’s back is really broken and he is actually dead.

    As the city variously rests and burns, lots of smart folks have glossed over these facts. Most of us have the luxury of not living in the city today, wondering if our homes, stores or community centers will make it through another rough night. Many of us also have the fortune of not having lived in the city’s toughest neighborhoods these last few years and years before that, wondering if our sons, fathers or selves will make it out alive after another encounter with the police.

    We have to hold two important truths in tension.

    First: There are deep roots to Freddie Gray’s death, and to these riots, that cannot be papered over. This is the city of dozens of slave markets, a place that grew and thrived on separate-but-equal, a city that carefully tucked and stacked black folks into the poorest of houses, schools and neighborhoods, year after year, until this day. When it comes to Freddie Gray, that history matters. Perhaps more than anything. And it must be addressed, maybe before everything. We don’t yet have all the facts—never will—but there is a solid chance that racism killed Freddie Gray.

    Second: We must proactively address systemic racism, excise this poisonous root, while pulling our young people close to us and speaking truth to them as well. It’s foolish to uncritically accept every rock thrown in Baltimore’s streets, just as it is foolish to accept every police narrative. When black people live in fear in their own communities, their dignity and their black lives and their black spaces matter as well. It’s simple reality, not pandering or privilege, to acknowledge this fact. We can lend a listening ear to young people’s pain, speak back to them in truth and love and help guide them into less destructive decisions for themselves and their communities, as they guide us in many ways as well.

    The ongoing reaction to unrest in Baltimore has exposed a gap between our most thoughtful commentators and folks currently living in these communities. Conservatives, who use their pens to dismiss the legacy of white supremacy and instead focus on supposed black pathologies, and liberals, who use theirs to refuse to reject any form of black anger, are doing actual neighborhoods no practical good. Don’t listen to them. Don’t listen to me. Listen to the folks on the ground.

    Hear from the mothers of Baltimore, the activists, the clergy, the teachers, who continue to live there and have for years. The people who simultaneously want to hold accountable a police force that just doesn’t get it, and help young people avoid destruction.

    The real truth in Baltimore is hard, messy and in the middle. It’s found in a space between the delusion of colorblindness and the destruction of rioting. It involves addressing legacies of racism in practical ways through bias reduction, affordable housing, economic development and criminal-justice reform; while also supporting young people through mentoring, fatherhood and motherhood programs, mental-health services, job training, education and more.

    A man is dead and he should not be. A community is threatened and burning and it should not be. Let’s acknowledge that and do the hard, practical work of rooting out Baltimore’s racial evils and rebuilding its neighborhoods. In this way, perhaps we can give our grandmothers some modicum of peace and their grandchildren some semblance of hope.

    Funny, yesterday an article insisted Baltimore had no racial issues. This one says there are racial issues. WHO COULD BE RIGHT?

    Oooh, nice one. How Lyndon Johnson Responded To Baltimore’s Last Riots

    The April 1968 riots came months after President Lyndon Johnson’s National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders, known as the Kerner Commission, released a report that examined the cause of race riots in 1967 and warned that the nation was “moving toward two societies, one black, one white—separate and unequal.” Its recommendations — “programs on a scale equal to the dimension of the problems,” aimed for “for high impact in the immediate future in order to close the gap between promise and performance” and “new initiatives and experiments that can change the system of failure and frustration that now dominates the ghetto and weakens our society,” were largely ignored as the Vietnam War continued to drain government resources.

    As Baltimore and other cities exploded, many public officials and Baltimore citizens described the riots as an inevitable outgrowth of vast racial injustice, in a segregated city with an African American population struggling with poverty and legal discrimination — triggered by a tragic death.

    Here’s what some of them have to say.

    President Lyndon Johnson

    What did you expect? I don’t know why we’re so surprised. When you put your foot on a man’s neck and hold him down for three hundred years, and then you let him up, what’s he going to do? He’s going to knock your block off.

    The Maryland Crime Investigating Commission Report of the Baltimore Civil Disturbance of April 6 to April 11, 1968

    [S]ocial and economic conditions in the looted areas constituted a clear pattern of severe disadvantage for Negroes compared with whites . . . Our investigation arrives at the clear conclusion that the riot in Baltimore must be attributed to two elements—”white racism” and economic oppression of the Negro. It is impossible to give specific weights to each, but together they gave clear cause for many of the ghetto residents to riot.

    Baltimore Mayor Tommy D’Alesandro

    There was a hurt within the black community that they were not getting their fair share… We were coming from a very segregated city during the 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s—and it was still a segregated atmosphere.

    Art Cohen, Baltimore Legal Aid attorney

    There had been this commission and it came out with its report in March just before King was assassinated. That report sounded a very loud warning saying that what had happened in these cities was likely to happen in other places if some very great changes weren’t made. Then to have this followed on April fourth by the killing of Martin Luther King was just, that set everybody off. Obviously not just in Baltimore but all around the country. There was a lot of tension. Whatever happened in Baltimore as a result of King’s death didn’t come from nowhere. It had been brewing there. There’s no question about that. We could see in the court system the situation for blacks. I’d rather use the word “black” because at that time it was all white and black, I mean that’s the way they said it in the city. For black folks at that time in the courts; we only had to go and visit the jails and the prisons: There were more people of the African American race there than white. Was this because somehow they were worse? We didn’t think so. We thought that the way the system was set up was to their great disadvantage.

    Robert Birt, 15-year-old Baltimore resident

    Baltimore wasn’t as mobilized as Bull Connor’s Birmingham where you had children facing police dogs. And of course the authorities here weren’t quite as extreme as in the deep South. I don’t think Baltimore had the extreme racial tension that some cities had. It was there – it still is there – but it seemed sort of undercover, so maybe that’s the reason why there was – I don’t know if it’s civility, but there was something. But the tensions were there.

    Thomas Donellan, Baltimore Catholic pastor

    [U]nderstand the antecedents that caused the riots. And, there are several that have to be very clear. The riot did not just happen. They had very definite antecedents.

    Richard Friedman, Maryland Department of Juvenile Services official

    Well, I don’t think it was inevitable that Baltimore would break into riots. There was certainly enormous poverty and tremendous segregation and disparity in the city, but from my perspective and the people that I worked with and the people that I knew, I didn’t sense that it was about to break out. I think the…the assassination itself certainly was a trigger— to have taken the life of someone who stood for non-violence certainly was an enormous trauma particularly in the African American community but also for me and many of my colleagues, too.

    Indeed, days before his own assassination, King — who had two years earlier called riots “the language of the unheard,” warned: “I don’t like to predict violence, but if nothing is done between now and June to raise ghetto hope, I feel this summer will not only be as bad but worse than last year.”

    They all seem to get it…

    Cartoon on looting, showing three officially-dressed figures carrying away boxes labelled ‘Hopes’, ‘Lives’ and ‘Dreams’ from a store with broken windows labelled ‘Black American Men’.

    More later.

  96. rq says

    FYI I’m probably going to be out of commission tomorrow as I’ll be in the car most of the day, but by Friday I should be more or less back on track.
    Now to finish what I started this morning…
    National Guardsmen in front of #Baltimore City Hall. 1 hour until curfew goes into effect. #BaltimoreUprising

    Video of Chicago police aggressively pushing & roughing up #Chi2Baltimore protest in street. Video link at the link.

    A reminder: Your rights to photograph police & Freddie Gray protests

    Here are seven tips to protect your rights. But remember – particularly in conditions like those escalated at Freddie Gray protests – police can ask everyone to move out of an area, including photographers, and pushing your constitutional rights could land you in jail.

    For updates on our investigation into violations of First Amendment rights, follow @russptacek on Twitter or like Russ Ptacek on Facebook.

    “You can, if you’re not physically interfering, you can photograph police officers performing their official duties,” said National Press Photographer Attorney Mickey Osterreicher. “Let’s say a sidewalk or a park, then and you can observe something, then you can photograph and record it.” […]

    Here are Osterreicher’s seven tips to protect yourself if you’re confronted by police while trying to take pictures from a public space:

    – Be polite.
    – Stay calm.
    – Explain your understanding of your right to photograph/record.
    – Keep recording or have someone else record the interaction.
    – Comply with request unless you are willing to be arrested.
    – Carry government issued identification and press identification if you are working for a news organization.
    Photograph with a partner

    Although the general rule is you can photographs anywhere that is open to the public, police can establish emergency security zones and some areas restrict the way you can photograph.

    @keenblackgirl @deray @Nettaaaaaaaa @facesofthemvmnt on mike florissant. Now #FreddieGray #MikeBrown

    Go Home. #BaltimoreUprising

    retweet,shelter for the #homeless during curfew,please help,let them use a phone
    Baltimore,MD 410-837-1400 shelter for homeless men & women

  97. rq says

    We are in the streets in support in #Ferguson #FergusonToBaltimore

    Just interviewed kids who say they’re Bloods, “It’s a lie that we planned violence. We come together for a cause.”

    Press. Helmet. #BaltimoreUprising

    National Guard says “let’s go home.” And people respond, “We are home! You go home!” #BaltimoreUprising

    oh no! not Chiraq

    “@MinkuMedia: #CHICAGO COPS GET VIOLENT at 35/MLK, AS CROWD TAKES STREETS

    #Chi2Baltimore ”

    Full Show: The United States of Ferguson, video, with transcript available.

    In the wake of decisions by grand juries in both Missouri and New York’s Staten Island not to indict white police officers in the deaths of unarmed African-Americans, this week we present an encore broadcast of Bill’s conversation earlier this year with journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates.

    First telecast in May 2014, Coates had just written a cover story in The Atlantic magazine, provocatively titled “The Case for Reparations.” It urged that we begin a national dialogue on whether the United States should compensate African-Americans not only as recognition of slavery’s “ancient brutality” — as President Lyndon Johnson called it – but also as acknowledgement of all the prejudice and discrimination that have followed in a direct line from this, our original sin.

    His words are remarkably prescient in light of recent events. As Coates explained to Moyers, “I am not asking you, as a white person, to see yourself as an enslaver. I’m asking you as an American to see all of the freedoms that you enjoy and see how they are rooted in things that the country you belong to condoned or actively participated in in the past. And that covers everything from enslavement to the era of lynching, when we effectively decided that we weren’t going to afford African-Americans the same level of protection of the law…

    “There are plenty of African-Americans in this country — and I would say that this goes right up to the White House — who are not by any means poor, but are very much afflicted by white supremacy.”

    Reparations, Coates said, are “what the United States, first of all, really owes African-Americans, but not far behind that, what it owes itself, because this is really about our health as a country… I firmly believe that reparation is a chance to be pioneers. We say we set all these examples about liberty and freedom and democracy and all that great stuff. Well, here’s an opportunity for us to live that out.”

    Still applicable.

  98. rq says

    More images from last night:
    111 pinwheels outside CPD HQ to represent each person Baltimore cops have killed since 2010. #chi2baltimore

    Lone protester standing in front of armored vehicle, lots of press and people in area behind. #BaltimoreCurfew

    Protesters blocking traffic, #Ferguson police arrive at West Florissant and Canfield some rocks thrown at cop cars
    <
    Smoke grenades fired by police

    Most people are on the sidewalks now. And the media vehicles are a barrier between us and the police. #BaltimoreUprising

    Another article with video on the Wolf Blitzer – Deray McKesson interaction. Activist smacks down Wolf Blitzer: ‘You are suggesting broken windows are worse than broken spines’

    CNN host Wolf Blitzer seemed determined to make the focus of his Tuesday interview with Deray McKesson about the amount of trouble protesters had caused in Baltimore, but the community organizer managed to turn the tables on the veteran journalist.

    “You want peaceful protests, right?” Blitzer began his interview by asking McKesson.

    “Yes,” McKesson replied, after being momentarily taken aback by the obvious nature of the question. “Remember, the people that have been violent since August have been the police. When you think about the 300 people that have been killed this year alone. Like that is violence.”

    McKesson agreed that the property damage in Baltimore on Monday night was unfortunate, but he urged Blitzer to remember that there had been “many days of peaceful protests here in Baltimore City and places all around the country.”

    “But at least 15 police officers have been hurt, 200 arrests, 144 vehicle fires — these are statistics,” Blitzer countered, robotically reading a police press release. “There’s no excuse for that kind of violence, right?”

    “Yeah, and there’s no excuse for the seven people that the Baltimore City Police Department has killed in the last year either, right?” McKesson shot back.

    “We’re not making comparisons,” Blitzer stuttered. “Obviously, we don’t want anybody hurt. But I just want to hear you say that there should be peaceful protests, not violent protests in the tradition of Dr. Martin Luther King.”

    “Yeah, there’s should be peaceful protests,” the community organizer replied. “And I don’t have to condone it to understand it, right? The pain that people feel is real.”

    “And you are making a comparison,” McKesson added. “You are suggesting this idea that broken windows are worse than broken spines, right?”

    “And what we know to be true is the police are killing people everywhere. They’re killing people here. Six police officers were involved in the killing of Freddie Gray, and we’re looking for justice there. And that’s real. The violence the police have been inflicting on communities of color has been sustained and deep.”

    Gold.

  99. rq says

    Possibly a repost: Media Blackout: How Baltimore Cops Turned a Peaceful Student Protest into a Riot

    I’ve seen it too many times with my own eyes; peaceful protests where cops show up in riot gear and start agitating the crowd. First they arrest one or two people for no reason, then the crowd gets even more agitated. Based on experience I can predict that the uprising in Baltimore will not stop until the police back off.

    According to Baltimore police, there is credible evidence that gangs have united to fight against police. The more likely scenario is that gangs have united to protest the police — which was confirmed by an interview released last night. When gangs stop fighting one another, cops get scared because police depend on gang fighting to justify their very existence. In response, Baltimore police put out warnings to shut down many parts of the city and brought out riot cops to agitate stranded high school students.

    Reports from the ground indicate that it was police tactics that triggered a peaceful high school protest to turn into a full-scale riot. I’ve curated some first hand accounts to show how the scenario played out in Baltimore yesterday

    See link for more.

    Media huddling in between cars. #BaltimoreUprising

    WATCH LIVE: Smoke grenades thrown at crowd in #Baltimore. There’s a link within but I doubt it’s live anymore, see picture instead.

    You should probably not live tweet “@BaltimorePolice: Officers are now advancing on the group. They remain aggressive and disorderly.” What a slip, but so appropriate.

    Baltimore, Chicago, Ferguson, Detroit, DC, and LA are ALL out tonight in solidarity.

    #BaltimoreUprising

    Shots fired. #FergusonToBaltimore #Ferguson

  100. rq says

  101. rq says

  102. rq says

    Lord RT @allshiny: Classic. RT @MarkAgee: When your police tweet is a lie but also accurate – see attached tweets: “@BaltimorePolice says, A group of criminals have just started a fire outside the library located at Pennsylvania Ave and North Ave.’ to which @jonswaine replies, ‘Fire beside Pratt library was not caused by Molotov cocktail. The teargas grenade landed on trash and its sparks caused the fire. Watched it.'”
    Too funny if it wasn’t so serious.

    Resistance. #Ferguson2Baltimore #Ferguson

    Tense stand off w/ Denver cops at union station … #freddiegray #defenddenver

    Journalist @ShawnCarrie was shot in face w/rubber bullet & arrested yesterday, still not released. #BaltimoreUprising

    These Are The Tear Gas Canisters Cops Used In Baltimore Tonight

    The Spede-Heat™ CS Grenade is a high volume, continuous burn it expels its payload in approximately 30-40 seconds. The payload is discharged through four gas ports on top of the canister, three on the side and one on the bottom. This launchable grenade is 6.12 in. by 2.62 in. and holds approximately 2.9 oz. of active agent.

    Hundreds Rally at Police Headquarters, Then March South to Midway Plaisance

    A crowd of several hundred people protesting police brutality marched around Chicago’s South Side Tuesday night, in a show of strength and solidarity with protesters in Baltimore.

    The crowd ranged from 100 to 300 people during a rally Tuesday evening at Chicago Police Department headquarters at 35th Street and Michigan Avenue, but it grew as it headed into Hyde Park.

    Around 7:55 p.m., 100 to 200 of the protesters began marching east on 35th Street, at times yelling: “Back up, back up, we want freedom!”

    The march then went south on Cottage Grove Avenue. By 9:25 p.m., about 300 marchers were at 55th Street and Drexel Avenue on the University of Chicago campus.

    They congregated at 55th and Cottage Grove at 10 p.m. and then marched east on the Midway Plaisance at 10:20 p.m. The protesters formed a giant circle on the Plaisance about 10:30 p.m., and the crowd started to dissipate around 10:45 p.m., with a smaller group heading south on Cottage Grove toward 63rd Street.

    “All night 30 to 40 officers worked tirelessly to keep us from this [University of Chicago] property,” said organizer Malcolm London, who added it was the only property during the march that police cared about protecting.

    “This doesn’t end here,” London added.

    The crowd at one point was just blocks from President Barack Obama’s Kenwood home. The president was in Washington, D.C., Tuesday night.

    As police in Baltimore began to institute a 10 p.m. curfew there, police in Chicago blocked streets in an effort to steer the chanting crowd.

    The “Emergency Action in Solidarity w/Baltimore” protest, which included Rekia Boyd’s brother, Martinez Sutton, began at 6 p.m. at police headquarters. More than 1,700 people said they would be attending, according to the event’s Facebook page.

    “We’ve been out here fightin’ and screamin’, and they think it’s over,” Sutton said Tuesday with tears in his eyes. “[But] there’s 12 rounds in a heavyweight battle, [and] I’m just gettin’ started.”

  103. rq says

  104. Pteryxx says

    PZ’s latest thread quoting Ta-nehisi Coates: All that needs to be said

    When nonviolence is preached as an attempt to evade the repercussions of political brutality, it betrays itself. When nonviolence begins halfway through the war with the aggressor calling time out, it exposes itself as a ruse. When nonviolence is preached by the representatives of the state, while the state doles out heaps of violence to its citizens, it reveals itself to be a con. And none of this can mean that rioting or violence is “correct” or “wise,” any more than a forest fire can be “correct” or “wise.” Wisdom isn’t the point tonight. Disrespect is. In this case, disrespect for the hollow law and failed order that so regularly disrespects the community.

    Original here: Nonviolence as Compliance

  105. Pteryxx says

    Leaving a couple of articles for reference:

    Vocativ yesterday: Baltimore Riot: Teachers Say Police Herded Students Into Chaos

    Meghann Harris, a teacher at Baltimore Design School, told Vocativ that she saw police unloading buses full of students from Frederick Douglass High School at the mall.

    “Students told me they were nervous to take the bus that day,” said Harris, “because they could see on social media that a protest was going to happen right after school at the mall’s bus station.” Harris said she watched high school students trying to leave the area, but that they couldn’t because all the other buses were also shut down.

    “They let the kids off exactly where the protest was happening. Protesters ran past the students, who looked scared and confused,” said Harris.”The police didn’t look like they were doing anything to help the students get away to a safe place.” Although she left to take some of her own students home and was not there when the angry protest turned violent, Harris—who has herself participated in some of the peaceful protests that followed the death of Freddie Gray—believes this transportation blunder caused the riot at the Mondawmin Mall.

    After giving a few students a ride home, Harris published a follow-up Facebook post, saying: “Students were trapped in the mess, whether they were choosing to participate or not…they were thrown into the middle of essentially a battle field.” A fellow educator confirmed Harris’s observation with a tweet of his own.

    And in Albuquerque. Remember county DA Kari Brandenburg, who dared charge officers with murder? DailyKos:

    The DA, Kari Brandenburg, has been under massive pressure from the APD thanks to her decision to charge two officers with murder in the death of homeless camper James Boyd last spring. The image of Boyd being shot down while retreating from police in the foothills east of the city went viral, leading to major demonstrations locally and heightened interest shortly thereafter when the U.S. Department of Justice issued a scathing report on years of excessive force by the APD.

    More recently, in what was perceived as an act of preemptive retaliation before Brandenburg had even filed the murder charges, police announced that they were investigating her for intimidation and bribery of witnesses in relation to a burglary case involving her son. In spite of that, Brandenburg maintained her cool, answering those accusations and not backing down on the murder charges.

    She’s gone on the record with Albuquerque Free Press saying she’s been told to fear for her safety. FreeABQ:

    The DA said she’s been told by friendly APD officers that she’s a target of forces who want her out of office and punished for daring to challenge the police department.

    In a wide-ranging interview, Brandenburg told ABQ Free Press that she knows who those forces are but isn’t yet willing to go public with their names and motives. But she says her fear is real.

    “I fear for my safety because other Albuquerque Police Department officers have told me that I should,” Brandenburg said. “I don’t think they’re going to kill me, but I have been told to fear for my safety.”

    Brandenburg has hinted that APD’s criminal investigation into allegations that she intimidated and bribed witnesses in connection with a burglary case involving her son are part of the wider attempt to intimidate and smear her.

    But she does have allies in the police department. Those friendly officers have told Brandenburg about other problems in the department – revelations apparently so serious they’ve caused the four-term DA sleepless nights, she said.

    […]

    There are other things about the leaders at the police department and at City Hall that trouble Brandenburg; they won’t communicate with her, she said.

    “When I talk to the chief [Gorden Eden], it’s kind of odd saying that because I never talk [with him]. There is no communication going on with City Hall and the brass of the police department,” Brandenburg said. “Since the chief has been in office, he has not responded to any correspondence. I have not talked to him on the job.”

    That lack of communication is remarkable considering two things: One is the U.S. Department of Justice probe of APD and the city’s effort to develop constitutional police practices, and the other is a New Mexico Supreme Court rule that took effect in February.

    The rule change requires district judges to dismiss criminal cases if APD fails to share evidence with both the DA and defense attorneys within 10 days of an arrest. Because APD isn’t geared up to meet that deadline, criminal cases are being dismissed. While Brandenburg’s lawyers are working with lower-echelon APD officials on how to comply with the new rule, there have been no discussions between Brandenburg and Eden or his top commanders, she said.

    Apologies if this is a repost. From April 23, re the new mayor of Kinloch near Ferguson:

    New Kinloch mayor locked out of City Hall and Alleging voter fraud, Kinloch refuses to swear in new mayor and alderman

    Betty McCray, Kinloch’s newly elected Mayor, arrived at City Hall on Thursday morning with an entourage and the intention to fire multiple city employees.

    But before she could enter the building, McCray was told she was the one who was out of job.

    In the parking lot, McCray was met by a half-dozen police officers and City Attorney James Robinson, who held a manila envelope under his arm containing articles of impeachment.

    “You can’t come in as mayor,” Robinson said. “You have been suspended.”

    McCray refused to take the envelope, saying, “You may be the attorney now, but I promise you, you won’t be later.”

    […]

    According to documents obtained by the Post-Dispatch through a records request, the city has raised concerns to the St. Louis County Board of Elections and the Missouri Secretary of State about people being registered to vote in Kinloch who no longer live there. On April 2, the city gave the Election Board a list of 27 names of people who it claimed were illegally registered; many of those individual addresses were listed at city-owned apartments.

    McCray said that the concerns about people’s being illegally registered were “absurd.”

    “It never came up until I ran for mayor,” she said, adding that people were still living at the addresses the city claims are empty.

    At least two of the apartments in question on Tuttle Street, where six people are registered to vote, according to the city, appeared this week to have been unoccupied for some time. Both were stripped of furniture and appliances. In one, a jar of pickles and two spent oxygen tanks sat amid other debris on the floor.

    Petty said the homes were vacant because the city began evicting people behind on rent shortly before the election because the tenants were supporters of McCray.

    But City Manager Justine Blue said that wasn’t true. The only people who the city is evicting still live in their apartments, she said. The city did file lawsuits to evict some residents, but that was on Thursday, court records show. Blue said those residents have yet to be formally served with eviction notices.

    “Besides, we would have no idea who would be supporting Ms. McCray,” Blue said.

    And there’s the direct connection between evicting people who live in crappy neighborhoods and alleging voter fraud.

  106. says

    From Fusion:
    I saw hope on the streets of Baltimore

    A toddler, playing on the steps of a row house next to the CVS that had been burned the day before, tumbled to the ground and began to cry. I picked him up and handed him back to his mother, who was seated at the top of the steps. Once in her arms, I made a funny face at him, and he began to giggle. Then I poked his belly and he laughed even harder, the tumble a distant memory.

    It was a refreshingly honest moment in the middle of the surreal scene around us. I’d been walking towards Pennsylvania Avenue and West North, the locus for media and protesters coalescing in this city: full of drumming and flyer-ing, a white guy on a bullhorn ranting about Jesus, and, of course, the media. Directly behind me, a row of television vans. Ten paces ahead were close to a dozen cameramen wielding their giant machines, anchors in the street chatting with interviewees. So I sat with the Thompson family for a bit on their stoop, a respite.

    “What about the people who live here? Don’t [the media] want to hear from us?” Carla Thompson asked.

    “We tried to move away from the animosity, but we moved right to it,” said Edward Thompson, Carla’s husband, of the recent unrest in his (literal) backyard. The family came to West Baltimore just two months ago from Washington D.C. looking for a better life, a safer life. But now they’re not so sure. Carla recalled the day before: “It was nothing but teenage kids,” she said of those who damaged a few establishments in the area on Monday. “We’re the only house on this block, all the rest are boarded up. Our whole thing was, ‘we’re next.’” She shut their doors and they waited it out.

    The looting was a culmination of a 10 day-long holding pattern Baltimore city residents have been in since 25 year-old Freddie Gray died in police custody with a crushed voice box and severely damaged spine. “I agree with the protests,” said Carla. “But to tear up a city where you live, shop, work…” That was something she couldn’t comprehend.

    But other Baltimore residents do understand. “I can’t even really call them looters. They’re uprisers,” said D. Watkins, a professor at Coppin State University and native son of Baltimore who wrote about his experience growing up harassed by the police for New York Times. “Non-violent protest doesn’t really work in America, especially when police do nothing but implement violence,” he said.

    A fresh-faced senior from Morgan State University who calls himself “The Keenan System” sees himself in the young protestors, who he called “misled.”

    “I’m a product of Baltimore City streets,” he said. “I done been through foster care, I done been without my parents, I done been homeless at a very young age. So I know and I understand. It would have been me out there.” And though he doesn’t agree with the destruction, he added: “I refuse to condemn them, because that could have been me.”

    Keenan was on Pennsylvania Avenue when the looting started on Monday afternoon. After a rumor circulated on social media that people were planning on looting the area, Keenan and his friends showed up to defuse the situation. “The police didn’t come to help. They came already armored and ready to destruct,” he said. “They were agitating these kids.” Keenan blames the heavy police presence for the worst of the violence. “You’re going to get agitated,” he explained. “Your rage is going to be expressed on so many different levels. Levels the whole world doesn’t understand, or America may not understand.”

    In response to the rage, Keenan and his friends organized a peaceful, day-long antidote to the lingering stench of burning pharmacy items over on Pennsylvania Avenue. They called it #Ilovebaltimore, and I never would have known about it had they not marched by Pennsylvania Avenue on Tuesday chanting the slogan. I walked alongside them until we ended up at a basketball court just three blocks down. Baltimore residents were barbecuing, eating, and talking. Organizers took to the megaphone to encourage everyone to get inside by 8:30 pm, a full hour and a half before the city’s mandated 10:00 pm curfew. The young people I talked to were not optimistic about the likelihood that any of the six police officers involved in Freddie Gray’s death will see the inside of a prison, but were intent upon keeping the community whole.

    “What is working? You got the peaceful protests, you got the violent protests. What is working? These kids are still getting killed every day,” said life-long Baltimorean, Anthony Cooper. I asked him what will be needed to restore peace. “Some type of answer,” he said. “It seems like [the police] are just protected by their shield.”

    Yes, they are. But I do think something is working. I saw 30 or so black men from the community linking arms in front of the police line for hours. I saw an older woman hold a sign that read “go home” as curfew loomed. I witnessed the beautiful scene at #ilovebaltimore gathering. And yes, I encountered angry kids who felt the only way they could be heard is by burning shit to the ground. But all the people I spoke to had one resounding demand: things in Baltimore have to change.

  107. Pteryxx says

    I don’t have a lot of highlights from last night, but I did briefly see the crowds of protesters rapidly clearing right at the curfew deadline, while their Congress representative Elijah Cummings pleaded with them to go home, brushing aside reporters who tried to interrupt his work. Rawstory:

    Cummings ignored Hannity and called for protesters to obey the curfew.

    “Excuse me, I want you to help get these people to go home,” he said, brushing past Vittert.

    “Obviously, Sean, the congressman didn’t have much interest in answering your question,” Vittert said, as Cummings continued walking.

    “I’m interested in people going home,” Cummings shouted through the bullhorn.

    Bloomberg: (the same from Tuesday night)

    The tone started to change when Elijah Cummings, the congressman for most of black Baltimore, arrived and slowly moved toward the police megaphone. The veteran Democrat was swarmed by reporters and by protesters who wanted to be convinced to leave. “If you say everybody disperse, we disperse,” said one of them. “But at the end of the day, they tryin’ to shoot us at 10 o’clock.”

    By the time Cummings reached the megaphone, the crowd was indeed thinning, from hundreds to around 100 people.

    “There’s nothing wrong with peaceful protest, and we want to maintain peace,” said Cummings. “I live in this neighborhood. I’m with you. We hear you. And I’m asking you, I’m begging you, to please turn around and go home. Please turn to your neighbor and say, let’s go home.”

    The congressman waded back through the crowd, after 10 p.m., ahead of whatever the police would do. “By being out here, are you slowing up the police from doing their job?” asked Fox News reporter Mike Tobin.

    “No,” said Cummings. “This is my neighborhood. I live five blocks away from here.”

    MSNBC reported some of the two dozen or so protesters arrested Tuesday night were high schoolers with no previous criminal record, who are now facing criminal charges for not obeying the curfew. Their clean histories may now have permanent marks for disobeying a temporary restriction on their own neighborhood.

  108. Pteryxx says

    While the curfew deadline approached, within minutes of it, the news broke that an anonymous police source (fearing for the prisoner’s safety, natch) leaked a police document claiming the second prisoner in the van with Freddie Gray heard him trying to injure himself. Rachel Maddow said right away that these leaks always happen with a purpose. MSNBC was able to speak to the Gray family’s attorney and to a WBAL reporter who immediately pointed out the contradictions between this claim and both the medical information and previous police claims. Maddow Show video segment, Maddowblog: Leaked document blames Freddie Gray for his injuries

    Though the claims are extraordinarily hard to believe, this is the first tidbit of information the public has received from inside the official investigation into Gray’s death.

    As Rachel noted on the show last night, “Leaks like this always serve somebody’s purpose. We have no idea who gave this to the Washington Post or what their interests are in having done so.”

    An attorney representing the Gray family said in a statement, “We disagree with any implication that Freddie severed his own spinal cord.”

    What’s more, WBAL investigative reporter Jayne Miller talked to msnbc’s Chris Hayes last night and disputed this version of events. “According to our sources by the time that prisoner is loaded into that van Freddie Gray was unresponsive,” Miller said. “Secondly, we have reported [there] is no evidence, medical evidence that Freddie Gray suffered any injury that indicate that he injured himself.”

    A DailyKos report linking to Jayne Miller of WBAL speaking to Chris Hayes: MSNBC video link

    The Kos writer:

    Oh, and by the way, from Jayne Miller at Baltimore’s WBAL on April 23:

    BPD Comm Anthony Batts says 2nd prisoner in van with Freddie Gray reports no erratic driving by van driver and Gray mostly quiet
    — @jemillerwbal

    Oops.

    Coincidentally, over the past several hours, three different friends or relatives of the suspended police officers have gone on the news—anonymously and without showing their faces—to give amazingly similar stories of what really happened that night. (Hint: Not the cops fault!)

    You can see where this is all going …

    and a detailed takedown of the account from Shaun King:

    (UPDATE) The Baltimore Police just admitted on Thursday, after security camera footage was released from a private business, that the van made at least two more stops that were not reported or included in their original timeline.

    So Gray arrived at the police station a full 40 minutes after they arrested him. When they arrived at the station, he was unconscious and unresponsive.

    3. The Baltimore police’s leak to the Washington Post that Gray injured himself in the van and that another suspect heard him doing it is not supported by the facts.

    a. On April 29, the Baltimore police claimed in documents leaked to the Washington Post that a second suspect who was arrested heard Freddie Gray deliberately banging up against the walls of the van, but here is where we’ve caught them in a lie:

    A full six days earlier, Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony Batts claimed that the second suspect said Gray was quiet in the back of the van.

    b. Gray did not have ANY injuries, cuts, scrapes, bumps conducive with someone forcefully breaking his own vertebrae, voice box, and severing his own spine.

    But as Jayne Miller, the WBAL investigative reporter, has said, none of the evidence presented thus far corroborates the police explanation of the injuries:

    “The medical evidence does not suggest at all that he was able to injure himself,” Miller said. “The force of this injury, akin to have the force involved in a car accident with all that momentum going, that is much more force than you would get trying to bang your head against the wall of the van.”

    “You have to have other injuries,” she continued. “You can’t bang your head against the van, to injure yourself in a fatal way, without having a bloodier head. There is just no information that would corroborate that.”

    More at the link, including brief takedowns of the jumped-from-a-third-story-window lie and the doctored-lead-paint-lawsuit lie going around conservative media.

  109. Pteryxx says

    MSNBC video link to Jayne Miller of WBAL speaking to Chris Hayes: (Link) The link in my previous was to The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell, also speaking with Jayne Miller. That link again

  110. Pteryxx says

    Other items of note, from an MSNBC article as it’s close to hand: Protests erupt in major cities in solidarity with Freddie Gray

    Protests in solidarity with Baltimore, Maryland in the aftermath of the death of Freddie Gray erupted in major cities across the country on Wednesday night, leading to at times violent clashes with police in New York City. There were also peaceful demonstrations in Seattle, Washington D.C., Denver and Minneapolis.

    In what started as a peaceful rally of as many as 1,000 supporters in New York’s Union Square soon dissolved into clashes with police after groups attempted to take the protests to the street. Police initially made dozens of arrests just minutes into the demonstration and managed to disperse the crowd, but only temporarily. The protest soon split into factions, with demonstrators marching for hours through some of Manhattan’s most iconic landmarks – Times Square, the shadow of the Empire State Building and even blocking the Holland Tunnel. More than 100 people were arrested, according to the New York Police Department.

    “New York is Baltimore and Baltimore is New York,” was chanted by protesters in Times Square as police attempted to pin back increasingly tense crowds. Some protesters were pushed into barricades, while bewildered tourists found themselves in the middle of heated confrontations. Authorities were at times aggressive – even throwing punches – when addressing protest groups that were openly defying orders to stay off of major thoroughfares. Protesters attempted to thwart police efforts to contain the demonstration by trying to outrun the barricades being placed at their every turn.

    “We are seeing rebellion. We are seeing revolution. We are seeing revolt,” said Ahmad Greene, with the group Black Lives Matter.

    […]

    Despite frequent press conferences throughout the day, police offered no new information Wednesday about the 25-year-old Gray’s police-custody death, leaving an outraged public – and his family – with more questions than answers 17 days after Gray’s arrest. Hopes of enlightenment were dashed by police Wednesday afternoon when Capt. Eric Kowalczyk told the press that the police department would release all of its findings not to the public, but to the state attorney’s office on Friday. [Bolds mine]

    […]

    Early Wednesday evening, the Baltimore Public Defender’s office said that 101 of those arrested amid Monday night’s rioting were being released without charges. As of late Wednesday afternoon, 111 of the 209 people arrested Monday night remained jailed without charges, pushing the 48-hour constitutional limit on such detentions. “If we are not able to meet the 48-hour window … they will be released,” Kowalczyk told the press earlier in the day.

    […]

    The U.S. Dept. of Justice – led by new Attorney General Loretta Lynch – is pursuing a parallel investigation into Gray’s death.

    The Guardian on the protester who was ‘snatched’ or ‘black-bagged’ Tuesday night: Baltimore activist ‘kidnapped’ on live TV is in jail despite having hands up ‘the whole time’

    Exclusive: The Guardian has established the whereabouts of Joseph Kent, whose disappearance into a phalanx of riot police prompted an outcry on social media

    Kent, who has been charged with one count of breach of a 10pm curfew, wants the public to know he is “well and safe” and is asking Baltimore residents to follow his lead by refraining from violence.

    Kent’s sudden disappearance around 11.10pm ET Tuesday was filmed by live CNN cameras, and prompted an outcry on social media. He had his hands in the air when riot police swooped in, and a police humvee-style truck temporarily blocked him from view of the media.

    Kent might still be missing were it not for the efforts of Stephen Patrick Beatty, a local attorney who has been defending protesters and watched the ensuing drama unfold on Twitter.

    “I was supposed to be going to bed,” Beatty told the Guardian. “Instead I was up all night and still haven’t gone to sleep.”

    Beatty said he had to draw on local law enforcement contacts and tip-offs to help locate the young man in the chaos of the city’s overflowing jail system.

    He only discovered Kent was in Baltimore’s central booking and intake center – a major holding facility for suspects – after 3am.

    […]

    “His description was very similar to what happened on television,” Beatty said. “As the video shows, he was trying to get people to leave. He’s sick of the violence. He didn’t want to see any more of it. He was telling people to disperse.”

    Beatty said his client “wanted police to know he was harmless so he had his hands up the whole time”.

    And another protester who turned himself in: Baltimore rioter turned himself in – but family can’t afford $500,000 bail

    Allen Bullock’s mother and stepfather told him to surrender for smashing a police car, but they say authorities ‘are making an example of him – and it is not right’

    Hawkins, 44, said Bullock had agreed to surrender to the police after being told by his stepfather the police would “find him, knock down our door and beat him” if he did not.

    “By turning himself in he also let me know he was growing as a man and he recognised what he did was wrong,” Hawkins said on Wednesday at his home in a low-income block in south Baltimore. “But they are making an example of him and it is not right.”

    “As parents we wanted Allen to do the right thing,” said Bobbi Smallwood, Bullock’s mother, who wept and dabbed her eyes. “He was dead wrong and he does need to be punished. But he wasn’t leading this riot. He hasn’t got that much power.”

    “It is just so much money,” Smallwood, 43, said of the bail sum of $500,000. “Who could afford to pay that?” Hawkins said the total exceeded the bonds placed on some accused murderers in Baltimore. Smallwood added: “If they let him go he could at least save some money and pay them back for the damage he did.”

    […]

    At the one district courthouse open in Baltimore’s south on Wednesday three courtrooms were open and processed bail applications all day. At one late-afternoon hearing in courtroom four around a dozen cases were heard in little over an hour.

    Inmates appeared before Judge Flynn Owens from the Baltimore City Detention Center via videolink. They routinely requested via their public defenders for bail figures to be lowered. Often this was denied and in some cases bail figures put forward by the state’s attorney were increased by Judge Owens.

    Roselyn Michelle Roberts, a 43-year-old grandmother, faced two charges of fourth-degree theft and burglary. The court heard that Roberts suffered from manic depression and earned around $60 a week babysitting her grandchild. The state’s attorney argued for a $50,000 bail. Judge Owens revised the figure to $100,000 citing two pending cases against her and a record of eight prior convictions.

    The court heard how Antonio Jackson, a father of one who works as a warehouse labourer, was allegedly caught with a pair of tennis shoes still with their price tag. He was not arrested at the scene of looting and his public defender argued he would lose his job if not released. The state’s attorney requested $50,000 bail. This was revised by Judge Owens to $100,000, who cited a single occasion when Jackson failed to appear at a scheduled court date.

  111. Pteryxx says

    Brief update – I’m seeing on MSNBC that WBAL *just interviewed the second prisoner from the van* and he reiterates, Freddie Gray was barely moving during the last few minutes of that van ride. Apparently he came forward under his own name.

    Video and text article at NBC News: Second Detainee Recalls Ride in Baltimore Police Van with Freddie Gray

    A Baltimore man has come forward to talk about his April 12 ride in a police van with Freddie Gray, saying in an interview that he heard his fellow prisoner briefly making noise on the other side of a metal barrier.

    “All I heard was a little banging for like four seconds,” 22-year-old Donte Allen told local NBC affiliate WBAL. “I just heard a little banging.”

    Gray suffered spinal injuries while in custody, and died a week later. His death sparked citywide protests that devolved into rioting and looting Monday.

    Allen’s account, given in an interview on the street with WBAL reporter Jayne Miller, differs slightly from the one described in a report in the Washington Post. Citing police documents, the newspaper quoted a prisoner telling investigators he could hear Gray “banging against the walls” and that he believed Gray “was intentionally trying to injure himself.”

    The quotes came from an application for a search warrant that was sealed by court order but provided to the newspaper under condition that the witness not be named. Allen appears to be that prisoner; police have said that only two prisoners were in the van during the April 12 ride through West Baltimore.

    Asked if he told police that he heard Gray banging his head against the van, Allen provided WBAL with a conflicting reply: “I told homicide that. I don’t work for the police. I didn’t tell the police nothing.”

    Even with Allen’s account, it remains unclear what Gray was doing on the other side of the partition. Sources have told WBAL that Gray was unconscious by the time that Allen was loaded inside.

    Allen told WBAL that when the van reached a West Baltimore police station, he heard officers saying Gray didn’t have a pulse. “They were calling his name, ‘Mr. Gray, Mr. Gray, and he wasn’t responsive,” Allen said.

    Another new piece of info from police sources:

    A Washington D.C. television station WJLA, citing law enforcement sources, reported Thursday that the a Baltimore police investigation found no evidence that gray’s fatal injuries were caused during the videotaped arrest and interaction with police officers. The sources told the station that the medical examiner found Gray’s catastrophic injury was caused when he slammed into the back of the police transport van, apparently breaking his neck; a head injury he sustained matches a bolt in the back of the van.

    The police department has handed its findings to the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office, which will decide whether anyone will face criminal charges.

  112. says

    Right-wing media blames everyone but police for Baltimore unrest:

    (thank you Truthout, for referring to the events in Baltimore as ‘unrest’ rather than ‘rioting’)

    The right-wing response to stories of police violence and brutality against blacks, and black deaths at the hands of police, is becoming as predictable as the stories themselves. Only the names and locations seem to change.

    Here we are again. Another unarmed black man has died in the custody of another city police department with a long record of brutality, under highly questionable circumstances. By now its de riguer on the right to blame the victims, and spout racist rhetoric.

    A couple of weeks ago, it was Walter Scott, shot in the back while fleeing a traffic stop in North Carolina, and denied medical help while the officer in question joked about the “adrenaline rush” he got from the killing. This week, it’s Freddie Gray, who emerged from a ride in a police van with serious, unexplained injuries, and died a week later. As in many other recent cases, some of what happened to Gray was caught on video.

    While the media ignored the thousands of peaceful protestors across the country to focus on the protests that turned violent, right-wingers were quick to blame the protestors, their parents, and even President Obama – everyone but the police – for the conditions that fueled the unrest.

    Billionaire real estate mogul and reality start Donald Trump fired off several angry tweets blaming President Obama for the unrest in Baltimore. One read: “Our great African-American President hasn’t exactly had a positive impact on the thugs who are so happily and openly destroying Baltimore.”
    Fox News host and Fox contributor Lou Dobbs and Dr. Keith Ablow blamed President Obama for the violence in Baltimore. On his show, Dobbs claimed that “there is a war on law enforcement” that is “corroborated if not condoned by this administration.”
    Fox News host Carson Tucker called the protests “a threat to civilization itself,” and asked, “Why wouldn’t someone fire a shotgun in the air and say knock it off?” Because random gunfire from the police always calms things down.
    Presidential candidate Rand Paul (R-Ky.) blamed the unrest in Baltimore on “the breakdown of the family structure, the lack of fathers, the lack of sort of a moral code in our society.” Paul’s comments came just days after his son, was arrested for driving under the influence in Lexington, Kentucky. This was 22-year-old William Hilton Paul’s third alcohol-related arrest.
    Rush Limbaugh asked why Democrats are suddenly calling on parents to control their kids.
    A Baltimore protestor shamed Fox News host Sean Hannity. “We shouldn’t be moralizing people’s frustration and pain. What we should be moralizing is the systemic violence that has been put on people in Baltimore,” Adam J. Jackson said, before Hannity ended the interview.
    On “Fox & Friends,” Dr. Phil McGraw, of televisions “Dr. Phil,” asked “Where are their parents?” in reference to the protesters.

    Not really news to most I’m sure.

  113. says

    “Thugs”, “Hooligans”, and “Riots”, challenging narratives with Dominique Stevenson.
    There is a video at the link as well as a transcript, which is copy/pasted below:

    JARED BALL, HOST, I MIX WHAT I LIKE: What’s up world, and welcome to this edition of I Mix What I Like for The Real News Network. I’m Jared Ball, and today with [inaud.] We are down here in the Gilmor Homes community in Baltimore, Maryland. Right here at the spot where on April 12th, police took Freddie Gray to the ground and caused injuries that would a week later cause him to die.

    Today we’re going to be talking with members of the community and including Ms. Dominque Stevenson of the Friend of a Friend Committee. So Dominque tell us, you were – you have been involved with this community, this spot where Freddie Gray was, where he sustained injuries that would eventually kill him. You worked in the Gilmor Homes community for a long time prior to this incident and will continue after this incident. Tell us about the conditions in this community that precipitated that and about the work that you were doing already. And then tell us a little bit about what you saw last night with the uprisings, your perspective on that, and what’s going to come next.

    DOMINQUE STEVENSON, FRIEND OF A FRIEND PROGRAM: One of the main things we’ve been doing here for at least a year is really trying to build a relationship with members of this community. We call it accompaniment. You know, being there, being present. We knew about some of the issues that were going on with police prior to Freddie Gray’s death. We also in talking to people understand the situations that they’re living in, the financial constraints that people are dealing with. They’re, you know, look around you. There are no jobs, there are no really thriving businesses in this community where folks are employed.

    So we have been for a long time doing food programs. In the summer we got started maybe three years ago doing a free lunch program one time a week for children. And the brothers I work with, we just go out, walk through the community and hand out bag lunches. And then that kind of stepped up a little bit more to doing regular food giveaways, but also just engaging members of the community and talking about what they need.

    Because what we find is people in Baltimore have been overrun by nonprofits. There’s not a lot of trust. And so it’s been really critical for them to just see us here with no agenda bringing resources when we can. And that’s what we’ve been trying to do. When talking to some of the brothers earlier today about the situation with Freddie Gray one of the things they said is, okay, this is not the case where this is somebody who’s really on the street and characterize him as a ladies’ man. And were like, you know, they feel like because he made eye contact with the police, that created a problem as far as the police were concerned. You’re not supposed to look us in the eye.

    They’re also talking about –

    BALL: Which itself has its own long history in terms of black relationships with white people, and particularly that whole eye contact concern has its own long, troublesome history connected with lynchings and all kinds of other acts of violence. So unfortunately, this is nothing new. That particular thing is nothing new in terms of what precipitates hostility from the state. Yeah.

    STEVENSON: Yeah. It’s nothing new. I mean, what the brothers were talking about is just the regular police harassment that they deal with. One of them, the men we spoke with, he after this, after the protest started he was walking across the street. I think they stopped him for jaywalking, and they stunned him. They used a stun gun on him. And so they’re talking about just the regular harassment that they have to deal with in effect that – when all of this publicity dies down, and publicity is, as essentially what it is. Okay, I mean that literally. Like, when all the cameras are gone, they’re like, we’re still here and we’re fearful because they’re gonna retaliate. They’re gonna come back on us.

    And so really what we need to be looking at is who’s going to stay here with these folks? Who’s going to continue to accompany them through this, and who’s going to help bring resources into this community?

    BALL: You know, you also live right across the street from Mondawmin Mall where a lot of the uprisings that took place last night were centered. But there’s a perspective that you have that is not getting a lot of coverage of that incident on major media. So a lot of the narrative in popular media is these are young thugs, these are hooligans. These are, you know, people who are disrespecting the memory of Freddie Gray and his family, who are calling for peace, et cetera. But tell us what you saw actually taking place down there yesterday.

    STEVENSON: At the mall? Or –

    BALL: Yeah, at the mall. What precipitated the uprising and the police response.

    STEVENSON: Initially what I saw – I got there at around 3:30, which is the time that one of the high schools we do work with lets out, Connexions. My son works there so he had told me that they had been on lockdown for about two hours, and that some of his students were fearful because they were hearing so many stories. But the primary story that they were being told is they’re on lockdown because white supremacists had made threats, okay?

    So they had these students in that area, in all the schools, on lockdown for a couple of hours. The police in the meantime went and they set up at Mondawmin, okay, they had riot gear, there were armored vehicles. They were there already. Then they –

    BALL: Before children had gathered. Before the young people had gathered.

    STEVENSON: Yeah. So they’re letting them out, the students come out, they head to Mondawmin. And from what I understand from what people were telling us, then they tell them, you know, get off the buses. They shut down the buses, they shut down the subway, so people were stuck. People who had actually left the mall because the stores closed were also stuck, because none of the buses or anything was moving. So folks were kind of standing around.

    We were standing around and watching it. Apparently something kicked off between the police and the kids. And some of the kids I guess ran, probably toward Pennsylvania North. And it seems like at that point it probably swelled into a larger group of people. But from where we were watching, we’re seeing police jump out of vehicles with M16s, and they’re running after kids. And we know these are kids because they’re in school uniforms. And so it was like, they escalated the situation, and it spun out of control.

    And then – so this, mind you, I’m talking about it was there at 3:30, and outside for a number of hours. By the time people showed up at the mall it was probably, it was getting dark. So it was much later. So the situation at the mall occurred later on. And honestly, people were casually driving up. I was like, it looked like the mall was open, you know.

    So even for the way that it was portrayed, the free-for-all, it wasn’t quite that hectic. It was like, the police left. I guess they went further in to Pennsylvania Avenue and North, and they left. In the mall there were no police there at that point so people decided we’re going to go up in these stores. And they did.

    BALL: Now, one of the things I saw on social media and Twitter in particular was that people were making the point that the police had shut down, or the city had shut down the bus and the train, trapping those young people there. And what a lot of people who were not from this area don’t realize is that this is not like New York where you walk up a block and catch another train. They were stuck. So it created a cauldron out of which they could not escape, and the police could then do their, their business. Yeah.

    STEVENSON: And the other thing people don’t understand is like, we have what are called city-wide schools. So you might go to Connexions but you might live in East Baltimore. Okay? So that’s not, you’re not gonna be able to walk from school over to East Baltimore, you know what I’m saying? So it’s like, they – I heard Elijah Cummings this morning on the news admit that the city government made a choice to escalate the situation, which is what they did. They escalated it. They were circulating rumors all day long, and those kids in the school were hearing different rumors than the rumors that the police were circulating outside, where they’re talking about the gangs threatening them. Kids in the school were being told, like I said, that white supremacist groups were coming up there. So they created this environment of fear.

    Mondawmin already is a tinderbox in terms of the MTA police and students. They, in February and March they made a number of arrests of students up there for trespassing. So it’s already – there had already been conflict and things going on. They knew this, and so I felt like it was a setup. It was a very bad situation that didn’t have to happen. Just like they can call preachers and folks out in the street for peace now, they could have sent folks, they could have made a call for people to go up to Mondawmin as these children are coming out of school to stand there. You know, stand vigil, make sure that the kids are all right, make sure that they’re getting on their buses.

    That call could have gone out. But no, you send not just Baltimore City police. Before they declared a state of emergency there were state troopers there, there was armored equipment from Prince George’s County. I saw all of this stuff, took pictures of this stuff.

    BALL: One of the things I also wanted to ask you about was one of the pieces in this media narrative that’s being generated. I heard Governor Hogan say that he was concerned about roving gangs of thugs and criminals destroying or hurting the community. Something to that effect. Now, at first I thought he might have been actually talking about the police. But of course he wasn’t.

    So if you could, having done the work, being from here in Baltimore and doing all this work all these years, talk about that narrative. Who are the thugs that Hogan is talking about, that the Mayor has made reference to? Who are actually the ones causing all of the problems that we see bubbling over and getting all the attention at the end, but who’s causing all of these problems?

    STEVENSON: First of all, the way that people are using thug and the way that that term is coming out of their mouth it sounds like a euphemism for nigger, to me. That’s my personal opinion. When I talk to the brothers in this housing project, what they will tell you is they’re like, look. Those were schoolchildren. They’re like, first of all, we are on edge, we’re scared. Those are the worlds they’re using. And it’s not like they’re scared of the police in like a, a man-to-man way. They’re scared because they know that these folks have – are [armed to] them, they know what they’re capable of. They know that they can manufacture charges.

    So it’s like, you’re right about that. I also made that assumption to, that okay, we’re talking about the police in a real way now. We’re talking about roving groups of thugs. You know, these were children who were let out of school who, in some ways, the police escalated the situation and had already set the stage by spreading rumors about these attacks. And their interactions with the children were such that it created a situation where it could only escalate out of control.

    BALL: So let me just ask you finally here, we’re hearing a lot about – well, obviously this is drawing a lot of attention to the city, to these communities. What would leadership look like if it really genuinely cared about changing these situations and these relationships, and the conditions that start all these issues in the first place? What would it look like, what would you like to see happen?

    STEVENSON: First of all, it would not come out in times of crisis. People would know and see these people all the time. You would be with the folks when there is no crisis. ‘Cause the reality is, Baltimore is one big crisis in terms of the poverty, the policing, the mass incarceration, all of that stuff lends to folks living in a continual crisis. These folks come out and actually, what they’re doing in criticizing parents and trying to place the blame, it’s just making the situation worse. Leadership looks like taking responsibility for your shortcomings, for your failures. To me that’s what leadership looks like.

    Leadership also would care about folks. You know, would be concerned with the fact that children are not getting the education that they should be getting, that the police are killing young men like Freddie Gray, and that they’ve continually gotten away with it. And true leadership would have made sure that there was an indictment for murder. That supersedes the Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights. You don’t, that – if the State’s Attorney chose to charge them with murder, they wouldn’t be concerned with the Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights. That’s something that they can do right here right now.

    BALL: Dominque Stevenson, thank you again for joining us. Thank you for checking us out here at I Mix What I Like for The Real News Network. We’ll catch you in the whirlwind. As Fred Hampton used to say, to you we say peace if you’re willing to fight for it. Peace, everybody.

  114. says

    Crap. I just hit submit on an article that contains a racial stlur or two, so it went into moderation.
    Oh well, I’m sure PZ will release it in due time.

    ****
    In what will come as no surprise to most, the NRA uses Baltimore uprising to promote ‘Stand Your Ground’. They really want to see a lot of dead black bodies it seems.

    ****

    From DiversityInc comes an article about the misery that is Black Baltimore:

    Baltimore’s current dire situation can find its roots in a history of crushing poverty, a segregated populace, and long-running police brutality. The Black population of the city has suffered considerably through booms and busts of the U.S. economy, with little in the way of relief.

    A city with about 16,000 abandoned structures, a fifth of its children living in poverty, and a high rate of homicides, Baltimore qualified as a powder keg, making a frustrated outbreak of violence and vandalism inevitable in the wake of Freddie Gray’s death.

    Poverty

    According to 2013 data, Blacks make up 63 percent of the population of the city, with white people at nearly 32 percent. However, almost 24 percent of Blacks live below the poverty level, compared to the 13 percent of their white counterparts.

    But such a snapshot comes from a long trend of tremendous economic pressure, beginning with the decline of manufacturing jobs and the steady, precipitously falling rate of Black male employment. Between 1970 and 2010, employment rates for Black men of working age fell by over 15 percent, according to a University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee paper. The types of jobs available have largely been low-wage service sector jobs, with a 60 percent growth in retail and food services between 1980 and 2007, and middle-wage jobs and high-wage jobs growing at less than 10 percent.

    The low income figures, the lack of employment and employment opportunities, the homelessness figure (estimated at 5,000), and a high school graduation rate of under 60 percent make up only part of this tale of two cities, however, with the smaller white population benefiting heavily from gentrifying developments.

    In fact, race and income predict the grim outcomes of Baltimore’s Black residents right from birth. As a 30-year study by Johns Hopkins sociologist Karl Alexander illustrated, being poor and Black in Baltimore set an inevitable path very early on:

    • 4 percent of children from low-income families had a college degree at age 28, compared to 45 percent of children from higher-income families.
    • 45 percent of white men were working in dwindling construction trades and industrial crafts, versus 15 percent of Black men from similar backgrounds and virtually no women, at age 28.
    • At age 22, 89 percent of white high school dropouts were working, compared to 40 percent of black dropouts

    “The implication is where you start in life is where you end up in life,” said Alexander. “It’s very sobering to see how this all unfolds.”

    Segregation

    In The Baltimore Book by Elizabeth Fee and Linda Shopes, the decades have also shown a substantial shrinking of Baltimore’s overall population, a detriment to its tax base. Beginning with the white flight of the 1950s and ‘60s, predatory “blockbusting” allowed real estate developers to purchase homes from white residents by playing up racial fears of expanding Black neighborhoods and then flipping the homes to Black purchasers at high markups.

    This has led to a heavily segregated population, seen in a Brown and Florida State University study describing the city as having a “black-white dissimilarity score” of 64.3 (scores above 60 are considered “very high segregation”).

    Modern pressures on segregating Baltimore’s populace come from the paradoxical influx of white, college-educated residents gentrifying areas such as the city’s Middle East section around Johns Hopkins and the affluent Inner Harbor. Much of this change in recent years comes with the predatory behavior of real estate developers yet again, this time promoting the displacement of the Black residents.

    Police – Heavily White and Out of Control

    Stories of police brutality towards Blacks during the eras of slavery and Jim Crow would hardly surprise many. But the Baltimore Police Department’s mistreatment of the Black populace over recent decades is finally coming to light.

    Not surprisingly, the makeup of the Baltimore Police Department does not reflect the populace that it polices. In a Washington Post analysis of 2010 census data, 46 percent of the department was white, compared to a community that was about 30 percent white and highly segregated from the Black population.

    From the NAACP calling for federal investigation of the BPD in 1980 to the brutal death of Freddie Gray today, the police force has maintained a tumultuous relationship with its populace. The police did not ingratiate themselves on the public with its “zero tolerance policing” in 2005, a practice that even led prosecutors to ignore the mass arrests for minor infractions, according to the Baltimore Sun. In terms of how the community reacted, people were outraged.

    But even with the heavy-handed policing directive removed, Black residents continued to suffer from a police force with a reputation for abuse and brutality. The Baltimore Sun did an exposé last year showing that between 2011 and 2014, Baltimore Police paid out $5.7 million in lawsuits stemming from excessive force cases.

    Much like in the cases of Ferguson, Chicago and North Charleston, the city of Baltimore, its police, and the state of Maryland have been watching inequality grow, infrastructure crumble, and designated protectors torturing its populace with little effort towards a course correction.

  115. says

    Another DiversityInc article-
    “Ask the white guy”: Why are police losing credibility and what does diversity have to do with it?

    [preface]Luke Visconti is the founder and CEO of DiversityInc. Although the title of his column is meant to be humorous, the issues he addresses and the answers he gives to questions are serious—and based on his 16 years of experience publishing DiversityInc. Click here to send your own question to Luke.

    [article]
    In response to a column I wrote, a police officer left a comment that criticized an assumption I made. Here is his comment (edited) and my response. The police officer starts by quoting my assumption, and then critiquing it.

    Q. “There is no reliable data for race and gender, but 58 percent of prisoners are Black or Latino. I don’t see why 58 percent of the people killed by police wouldn’t be.”

    That’s a very dangerous assumption. You are correct that finding reliable statistics regarding police shootings is difficult but by all indications of the CDC data, there have been anywhere from 1.5-3x as many whites killed as blacks over the past 15 years. Compare that with the overwhelmingly high arrest rates of minorities and the probability of being killed during an arrest is still significantly higher if you are white than black.

    We are entering a dangerous time where the perception is that every incident involving a white cop and black man HAS to be racial much like any black killing a white cop also has to be motivated by race. How is this supposed to improve police relations with blacks or any citizens for that matter? All the police officers I work with are growing increasingly disgusted by the lack of personal responsibility for those committing crimes. Police brutality is a problem, but so is blatant lack of respect for the law among today’s young adults, especially in urban areas.

    A. I don’t think it’s very dangerous at all—in fact, I’d say I’m being generous. The FBI, despite a court order 20 years ago, does not track police shootings. You don’t think there’s some bias there? The FBI’s racial history is not a good one: J. Edgar Hoover, the most famous and longest-tenured FBI director, notoriously went after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in many underhanded, illegal and immoral ways. Even today, if you go to the FBI’s website and look at the leadership page, the top 17 people are white—14 white men and three white women. Zero percent Black. Zero in 2015. Zero.

    The CDC data have huge holes in them. For one, they only count shootings the police say were justified and they do not include nearly all states. Even so, the data show that there is clear bias against Black people.
    […]
    The ratio you cite seems to come from Bill O’Reilly. Citing Bill O’Reilly on racial issues is kind of like citing Ruth’s Chris on vegetarianism. Here’s an article debunking his use of the numbers.

    Here’s a good article on the subject in The New York Times. The quote below refers to a study of the St. Louis Police Department:

    “Their conclusions, presented last November at the American Society of Criminology’s annual meeting, were striking. Officers hit their targets in about half of the 230 incidents; in about one-sixth, suspects died. Of the 360 suspects whose race could be identified—some fled before being seen clearly—more than 90 percent were African-American.”

    I’m not saying, nor does the report say, that the enormous disparity of law enforcement and imprisonment is overtly racist by every participant. I’d assume that most police officers are not racist. They are immersed, however, in a racist system.

    This is why you are seeing less and less respect for the law. It’s the culmination of this preposterous “War on Drugs,” started by President Richard Nixon (a racist) 40 years ago. It has resulted in the destruction of families and of the lives of millions of Black men in particular. Drugs are more plentiful and less expensive than they were 40 years ago, yet the “war” rages on. Nobody fights a war for 40 years unless somebody’s winning. People running for-profit prisons, arms manufacturers, even police officers and prison workers are all the winners. It’s a multibillion dollar per year win. Everyone else in the country loses, a hundreds of billions of dollars per year loss. Lost productivity, lost GDP, wasted money, wasted time and effort. Destruction of our society.

    Combine that with the ubiquitous nature of video that shows the bad apples in action, and I’m afraid police credibility in general is gone forever because there is no national will amongst the police leadership to change direction. You’re going down with the ship.

    You’re not alone. As an entrepreneur, I pay over 50 percent of my income in taxes. “Mittens” Romney pays 17 percent. Apple (which claims it’s an Irish company) pays 2 percent. If I tried the same thing, I’d be in prison. The subprime-crisis thieves stole billions of dollars, yet nobody went to prison. George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, abetted by Condoleezza Rice, concocted a rationale to invade Iraq and then went on to mismanage it so badly that we lost the war and spawned ISIS—after killing hundreds of thousands of Iraqi noncombatants. Nobody went to prison. I served over eight years on active duty and another almost two in the reserves, and I’d do it again tomorrow. But it disturbs me that I feel our government has almost no credibility either.

  116. says

    From the Daily Beast-Morgan Freeman on Baltimore protest coverage: “Fuck the media”

    Freeman says the Baltimore coverage, while fairly biased in its focus on the rioting, has been an improvement over the very one-sided coverage of the Ferguson protests in the wake of Michael Brown’s death. “Now, they’re getting more of the whole picture. Ferguson? No. Baltimore seems to be coming up with a different scenario in the background,” says Freeman. “People are saying, ‘You were not all there when we were just talking and trying to make a point, but if we set something on fire, all of a sudden you’re all here. Why is that? What’s the difference?’ And some young reporters are listening. That sort of observation is very useful.”

    “The other thing is that technology lets us see behind the scenes a little bit better,” he continues. “Police have a standard reaction to shooting somebody. I fear for my life and I fear for my safety. Now, at least you can see, ‘Hey, his hands were up in the air! What part of your safety were you afraid of? The guy was running away, what part of your safety was in danger?’ There was one situation I saw where a cop told a guy to get out of the car, said, ‘Show me your driver’s license,’ and the guy reached back into the car and the cop shot him!”

    “Anyway, off the media,” he says, waving his hands in the air and chuckling. “F-ck the media.”

    The above is an excerpt of the Daily Beast article, which is itself an excerpt of a longer interview with Freeman. That interview will be available next week.

    ****

    More from the Daily Beast-
    Experts “You can’t break your own spine like Freddie Gray

    But if Freddie Gray was trying to break his own spinal cord in the back of a van, according to experts in spinal trauma injuries, it might be the first self-inflicted injury of its kind.

    “I have never seen it before. I’ve never seen somebody self-inflict a spinal cord injury in that way,” says Anand Veeravagu, a Stanford University Medical Center neurosurgeon who specializes in traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries.

    “It’s hard for me to understand that, unless those terms (like ‘intentional’ and ‘injure himself’) are being used incorrectly. It’s hard for me to envision how a person could try to do that,” he says. “It would require them to basically hang themselves in a car where there isn’t anything to hang yourself with.”

    Veeravagu says that there are only a few ways you can injure your spine in a similar way to the injuries that ultimately led to Gray’s death. One, he says, is by a sharp injury, which is a direct penetrating injury—either somebody with a knife “who knows what they’re doing, or something else that cuts through, like a gunshot wound.”

    The other way, more pertinent to Gray’s case, is by trauma, where the bones are fractured and the ligaments are torn as a result of force or impact.

    “It is very difficult to sever your spinal cord without a known fracture,” says Veeravagu. “Often, when patients come in with this kind of injury, you’ll find they’ve been either in a car accident or something similar to that kind of impact.”

    There are times where Veeravagu, who is a former White House Fellow, has seen suicide or self-harm by means of a spinal cord injury, but it’s always by hanging, or by using an apparatus Gray couldn’t have on-hand.

    “Unfortunately, sometimes people attempt suicide by hanging themselves. It’s one of the only ways I’ve seen where you can (commit suicide or intentional self-harm) by spinal fracture. They kick their chair out, they fall, they snap their neck. It results in immediate spinal cord injury,” he says. “But it’s very hard to see how somebody could attempt suicide by a spinal cord injury without the use of something else.”

    But it’s even in those instances, he says, patients often don’t die of a spinal cord injury. And most who are taken to the hospital in time after suffering spinal cord injuries—self-inflicted or not—survive the trauma.

    “Most spinal cord injuries are not fatal if patients are taken to the hospital,” Veeravagu says. “Most survive.”

    Outlets covering The Washington Post’s leak have called the claims from the unnamed source “a twist” and a “new narrative (that) questions police brutality claim.” On Wednesday night, CNN’s broadcast ran a breaking news banner that read: “BREAKING NEWS: WASH. POST: GRAY TRIED TO HURT HIMSELF,” and the video remains on CNN’s Youtube page.

    The Washington Post’s initial report does not reach out to any medical professionals to determine the feasibility of the leaked document’s claims.

    The official police report of Gray’s arrest was scheduled to be released publically on Friday, but police delayed the release on Wednesday.

    “I’m surprised they released that piece of information without a more detailed account,” says Veeravagu.

    Another trauma surgeon, speaking on condition of anonymity due to the political nature of the case and because he is “surprised time and again by what I previously believed to be impossible,” thinks that it’s “highly unusual (if not impossible) to deliberately make yourself a quadriplegic while shackled in the back of a police van.”

    There are, Veeravagu says, situations that would make Gray more prone to a fatal spinal injury, however—like if someone or something applied pressure to his spine as it snapped.

    “Certain conditions make people more prone to spinal injury. If you were to apply leverage to the spine at certain points, it basically converts the spine to a long bone,” says Veeravagu.

    Veeravagu also says it’s possible Gray’s spinal fracture could have occurred before entering the van—and that symptoms of his broken vertebrae could have been delayed until he was placed in the van.

    “That is possible: It’s possible to have an injury to your spinal cord that gets worse over time and eventually progresses to complete paralysis,” he says. “Did he have an expanding blood clot in his spine? Did he have an exact fracture to his spine? Both are important to understand. If the family does an autopsy—finding that out, that’s ideal.”

    Police apologists are falling all over themselves to blame anyone other than the police, so it’s no surprise that people are claiming Gray’s injuries were self-inflicted. It doesn’t make such claims any less ludicrous.

  117. says

    New ACLU app lets you report police behaving badly

    A new app from the ACLU of California will automatically transfer video straight to the user’s local ACLU chapter, saving the footage just in case something happens to the phone. This can be especially useful for recording police activity.
    Mobile Justice CA is available via iOS or Android, and will allow users to send footage directly to their local chapter of the ACLU, the L.A. Times reports. Users can also write a report of what they witnessed, and ACLU officials will review reports and look for incidents of police misconduct. The ACLU may release relevant video to the public, and users may choose to submit anonymously. Mobile Justice could be especially useful in instances where the users may be facing arrest, during which their phone may be confiscated, or if they feel their phone might be destroyed.
    We downloaded the free app and checked it out. It’s simple to use, and has a couple cool features. By tapping ‘rights,’ you can check and see what your rights are when dealing with the police. When you want to record, just press ‘record.’ Tap again when you’d like to stop recording, and your video will be on its way to the ACLU. You will next be prompted to fill out a description of what you saw, though you don’t have to and you can select ‘unsure’ to any questions where you don’t have a certain answer. Your report will also be sent to the ACLU. You can also elect to be a Witness, which will send you an alert whenever nearby users are reporting police activity. You can toggle this feature on or off.
    Civilians have the right to record the police, and civilian footage can be helpful in figuring out what exactly happened in controversial interactions between the police and the public. Just recently, civilian footage revealed police officers captured police tasing a homeless man on Venice Beach. Civilian footage also exposed a CHP officer repeatedly punching a woman. Of course, for the footage to be useful, you will need to submit it. Recently, a woman in South Gate who was recording police had her phone smashed by a U.S. Marshal. In a video produced by the ACLU to promote the app, they show a similar interaction and how Mobile Justice might be useful in such a case.

  118. says

    Los Angeles to pay $700,000 to minorities who cops racially profiled:

    It’s been over three years since the U.S. Justice Department announced that they would be opening an investigation about L.A. County Sheriff’s Department deputies racially profiling minorities in the Antelope Valley. And on Tuesday, justice was served as L.A. County agreed to pay a settlement of $700,000 to residents who were unfairly targeted.
    The settlement is just one part of the agreement. The Sheriff’s Department is also required to better train their deputies on policing without biases, and only making warranted stops and searches, the AP reports. They’ll also be monitored on its progress. However, under the terms of the agreement, the department doesn’t have to admit to any wrong-doing.
    Originally, the Justice Department wanted Palmdale and Lancaster to pay out $12.5 million to the victims, but as part of the agreement, the L.A. County Board of Supervisors agreed to shell out $700,000 to the victims of discrimination. Each claimant can receive a maximum of $20,000, the L.A. Times reports. They also have to pay an extra $25,000 to the federal government as a penalty.
    Federal officials released a report in June 2013, two years after they announced their investigation, that detailed a pattern of civil rights abuses. The report found that deputies were targeting blacks and Hispanics in Palmdale and Lancaster. They noticed that these minorities were subject to excessive force and searches, and unconstitutional stops. Black tenants in low-income public housing told investigators they deputies would perform surprise searches on their residences and sometimes draw guns on them—a violation of the Fair Housing Act, the report said, according to City News Service.
    It seems like there has been a change in policing recently. Community member Emmett Murrell told the AP: “They’re not harassing and stopping individuals for minimal offenses anymore.”

  119. says

    Top Chicago cops plan ‘listening tour’ of 22 districts:

    Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy and other top cops are planning a “listening tour” of the City’s 22 police districts in an attempt to mend fences between officers and community members. According to the Sun-Times, First Deputy Al Wysinger and Deputy Chief of Community Policing Eric Washington will attend along with rank and file cops. Superintendent McCarthy told the Sun-Times:

    “This initiative will help strengthen the relationship between the department and residents we serve as well as build trust, which is crucial to our efforts in lowering crime and ensuring everyone enjoys the same level of safety.”

    Alderman Howard Brookins Jr., chair of the City Council Black Caucus, believes the tour has merit. “I think it’s a great idea, the timing aside,” said Brookins. “It can’t be seen as an election ploy because the election is over. We have to restore the trust of the community.”
    But Brookins and McCarthy have an uphill battle in attempting to rebuild a more than strained relationship between various communities, particularly those on the South and West sides. Last week’s ruling in the shooting death of Rekia Boyd by Detective Dante Servin sparked the latest in a growing and regular series of demonstrations against the police, particularly over the shooting of often unarmed people of color.
    Brookins said that it would be good for CPD brass “to hear from people and see what they can do about their concerns” especially since crimes can go unsolved because people refuse to cooperate with the police. Despite the rhetoric coming from elected officials and others about a return to “community policing” in the City’s neighborhoods, it’s going to be more than difficult to undo decades of mistrust. Chicago is still one of the most segregated cities in America and economic opportunities for people living in communities of color—often the poorest in the city—are nearly non-existent. There is little to no social safety net in many of those communities, which have seen a large swath of neighborhood mental health clinics and public schools closed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
    Charlene Carruthers, national director for the group Black Youth Project 100, told the Huffington Post that she was encouraged by the listening tour, but pointed out many communities have been voicing concerns for too long.

    “I think if the [Chicago Police Department] is at all serious about changing their relationship with the black community, a listening tour could be perhaps a good first step, but the community has made these demands for quite some time and they haven’t been met.”

    Indeed, it is a concern how much listening will actually happen at these meetings, of which dates and locations have yet to be announced. According to the Chicago Tribune, McCarthy said that the fact that Servin was even charged with anything created a “safety hazard,” for officers. “My concern was how is this going to affect policing in general in the Chicago Police Department because every single officer who’s out there now might be in a position where they hesitate, and as a result, they could lose their lives,” McCarthy told the paper. That shoot first, ask questions later policy is what has ended up costing the lives of many men and women of color, who often turn out to be unarmed and unthreatening. While the City has yet to admit wrongdoing in most cases, it’s still paid out half a billion in settlements.
    To make that first step become one in the right direction, CPD brass will have to make sure they actually connect with the members of the community. Speaking about both the civil unrest in Baltimore, which sparked an hours-long demonstration last night, as well as the strained relationship between cops and the community, Father Michael Pfleger told ABC7:

    I’m a student of Dr. King so I never believed in violence as a solution, but at the same time this didn’t come out of a vacuum. This comes out of years and years of rage and anger and feeling neglected and abandoned.”

    (bolding mine)
    Many people are assuming that the civil unrest is meant to be a solution, when it’s actually a reaction to decades of harassment and brutality from law enforcement officials, as well as income inequality and unemployment.

  120. rq says

    I’m so behind, accidentally. I didn’t mean to take a break.
    Annnyway I have a bunch of stuff lined up form the past couple of days but I’ll only be getting to it tomorrow/Sunday, but I’m more or less up to date with the news from Baltimore. And yeah, the current thread with discussion is linked above by Pteryxx, comment 121. Thanks to Tony and Pteryxx for keeping this going.
    I’ve tabs open with some pictures from protest, which I may or may not still put up as they’re out of date by now (haha), just as a reminder that there are people protesting peacefully.
    Anyway. It goes on and nothing is over, the charges are just a small, small step towards possible justice, but considering how these things usually go? Not holding out much hope that real justice will be done. But it’s a great first step.

  121. rq says

    Oh and apparently extra national guardsmen have been requested in Baltimore.
    For whatever reason.

  122. rq says

    Baltimore Sergeant Warns Superiors: “It Is About To Get Ugly”

    A Baltimore police sergeant informed his Eastern District superiors Friday afternoon that officers “are now being challenged on the street.” The sergeant sent the letter following the announcement that State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby was indicting six officers on felony charges associated with the death of Freddie Gray, the 25-year-old who suffered a fatal spinal injury while in Baltimore police custody on April 12.

    The letter, provided to BuzzFeed News from an anonymous source, warned of heightening tensions between police and residents on a day when many locals have taken to the streets to celebrate.

    Sgt. Lennardo Bailey told the “Eastern Command Staff” [sic’d]:

    “I have been to five calls today and three of those five calls for service; I have been challenged to a fight. Some of them I blew off but one of them almost got ugly. I don’t want anybody to say that I did not tell them what is going on. This is no intel this is really what’s going on the street. This is my formal notification. It is about to get ugly.”

    BuzzFeed News has also learned that the Baltimore Police Department’s chief of patrol sent out a text message to all commanders ordering officers to take added caution: “2 OFFICERS PER CAR.. DOUBLE UP ALL PATROL CARS,” the order read.

  123. HappyNat says

    Well, all 6 officers who killed Freddie Grey are being charged so that’s something positive. Of course, none of them have a bail as high as the teenager who broke a car window, so things are still fucked up. Baby steps I guess.

  124. says

    I’m going to do a quick post or two with link dumps, but no quoted material as I need to head to bed soon-

    ****

    Racism is real (video)

    MD State Attorney General Marilyn Mosby has 8 family members who were cops.

    D.L. Hughley to Bill Maher- “You’ll never see a Black Lives Matter t-shirt at a GOP convention.
    No, you really won’t.

    Mug shots have been released for the 6 Baltimore officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray, Jr.
    5 men, 1 woman.
    3 white guys, 2 black men, 1 black woman.

    GoFundMe fundraiser set up by Baltimore police unit vanishes after 41 minutes.
    They were seeking $600,000 to help pay legal fees for the officers charged for the death of Freddie Gray, Jr. Yeaaah, fuck that.

  125. says

  126. Pteryxx says

    Thanks Tony and rq and folks in the All that needs to be said thread for keeping on top of the Baltimore news. Some links I’m listing came from there.

    MSNBC summary in video and text: Marilyn Mosby: Officers charged in death of Freddie Gray

    The six Baltimore police officers involved in the arrest of Freddie Gray were charged with crimes ranging from murder to manslaughter to assault, Baltimore State Attorney Marilyn Mosby announced Friday – a significant new development in a case that has provoked days of widespread protests in the highly segregated city.

    Gray, a 25-year-old black man, died April 19 following a severe spinal cord injury suffered while in police custody. He was arrested on April 12, apparently for possession of a switchblade. Mosby, at a press conference, said the knife was not a switchblade and was legal under Maryland law, making Gray’s arrest illegal.

    “No crime was committed by Freddie Gray,” Mosby said to cheers, adding that the investigation is ongoing.

    […]

    Office Caesar Goodson, who drove the police van that carried Gray to a local precinct, faces the most severe charge, second-degree depraved heart murder, which carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison. Other charges include manslaughter and second-degree assault. A full list of the officers’ names and charges is below.

    […]

    All six of the indicted officers were taken into custody Friday and NBC News has confirmed that all of them were bonded out less than 24 hours later.

    Rawlings-Blake said that most officers on the city’s police force serve with “courage and distinction.” But, she added, “to those of you who wish to engage in brutality, misconduct, racism and corruption, let me be clear, there is no place in the Baltimore Police Department for you.”

    […]

    Mosby, at 35 the youngest chief prosecutor of any major American city, drew widespread praise for her leadership and forceful action in the case. Her name was the top trending item on Twitter Friday afternoon. She spoke passionately about the case Friday, recounting her recent meeting with the Gray family. “I assured his family that no one is above the law, and I would pursue justice on their behalf,” she said, noting her family’s ties to law enforcement.

    But the Fraternal Order of Police, the union representing the accused officers, called for a special prosecutor in the case, citing what they consider to be conflicts of interest in the case. Among other things, Mosby is married to Baltimore City Councilman Nick Mosby, who has spoken out about the riots that Gray’s death has prompted.

    List of officers’ names and charges: here are images of the Baltimore attorney’s office press release, posted by Trymaine Lee of MSNBC via Twitter: (page 1) (page 2)

    and a listing from USA Today:

    If convicted, the maximum punishment is listed after the charge.

    OFFICER CAESAR R. GOODSON Jr.: Driver of the wagon, checked on Gray several times but never restrained him or sought medical attention when Gray reported that he needed it, according to Mosby.

    • Second-degree depraved heart murder, 30 years

    • Involuntary manslaughter, 10 years

    • Second-degree assault, 10 years

    • Gross negligent manslaughter by vehicle, 10 years

    • Criminal negligent manslaughter, 3 years

    • Misconduct in office

    OFFICER WILLIAM G. PORTER: Asked Gray at one of the stops if he needed medical attention, according to Mosby. Porter assisted Gray onto a wagon bench, but didn’t restrain him or get medical assistance.

    • Involuntary manslaughter, 10 years

    • Second-degree assault, 10 years

    • Misconduct in office

    LT. BRIAN W. RICE: Bike patrol officer who first chased Gray, along with Nero and Miller, according to Mosby. Gray surrendered to them and they arrested him, even though they “failed to establish probable cause” for his arrest. Mosby said no crime had been committed and the knife that Gray was carrying was legal. Rice, Nero and Miller loaded Gray into the police wagon without restraining him; they later placed flex cuffs on his wrists and leg shackles on his ankles, placing him on his stomach, head first in the wagon, without a seatbelt.

    • Involuntary manslaughter, 10 years

    • 2 counts of second-degree assault, 10 years each

    • 2 counts of misconduct in office

    • False imprisonment

    OFFICER EDWARD M. NERO: One of the three officers who pursued Gray. Nero and Miller handcuffed Gray and placed him in a prone position, according to Mosby. When they placed him in a seated position, they discovered a knife. Nero “physically held him down against his will” until a wagon arrived. Nero, along with Rice and Miller, loaded him into the wagon without restraining him; they later placed cuffs on his wrists and leg shackles on his ankles without a seatbelt.

    • 2 counts of second-degree assault, 10 years

    • 2 counts of misconduct in office

    • False imprisonment

    OFFICER GARRETT E. MILLER: One of the three officers who pursued Gray, arrested and handcuffed him; Miller placed Gray in a restraining technique known as a “leg lace,” then was one of three officers who loaded him into the wagon without restraining him, according to Mosby.

    • 2 counts of second-degree assault, 10 years each

    • 2 counts of misconduct in office

    • False imprisonment

    SGT. ALICIA D. WHITE: One of three officers who later found Gray unresponsive on the floor of the wagon, according to Mosby. White spoke to the back of his head, but when he didn’t respond, she did nothing further “despite the fact that she was advised that he needed a medic,” Mosby said. “She made no effort to look or assess or determine his condition. Despite Mr. Gray’s seriously deteriorating medical condition, no medical assistance was rendered or summoned for Mr. Gray at that time by any officer.”

    • Involuntary manslaughter, 10 years

    • Second-degree assault, 10 years

    • Misconduct in office

  127. Pteryxx says

    From Tony’s #144 above, an explanation of “depraved heart murder”: Vox

    “Depraved heart” murder is a description of a specific type of scenario and mindset that can lead a court to decide someone has committed murder. It’s actually just one of the many specific kinds of murder you can be charged with if you kill someone in America. (For example, the legal doctrine of “felony murder,” which some states use, means you can be charged with murder if you accidentally kill someone while committing a totally separate felony — like robbing a store).

    Sometimes it’s called “depraved-indifference murder,” which means the same thing. Either way, it’s how courts in some states talk about the actions of a defendant who demonstrated “callous disregard for human life” that ultimately killed someone. Most states — including Maryland, where Freddie Gray was killed — consider killing someone in this way a form of second-degree murder.

    […]

    Burke said examples of people who might be convicted of depraved heart murder would include someone who fires a gun into a crowded room, killing someone, or a person who drives a car recklessly into a parade route, striking and killing a bystander.

    The exact definition varies by state, and the best way to understand what it takes in Maryland is to look at what the courts have said in previous cases there. Depraved heart murder was described by the judge in one frequently cited 1986 case — Robinson v. State, like this:

    “A depraved heart murder is often described as a wanton and willful killing. The term ‘depraved heart’ means something more than conduct amounting to a high or unreasonable risk to human life. The perpetrator must [or reasonably should] realize the risk his behavior has created to the extent that his conduct may be termed willful. Moreover, the conduct must contain an element of viciousness or contemptuous disregard for the value of human life which conduct characterizes that behavior as wanton.'”

    Translation: More than just being careless or reckless, the defendant — in the Gray case, Officer Goodson — should have known that what he was doing could risk a human life and simply didn’t care.

    “The critical feature of ‘depraved heart’ murder is that the act in question be committed ‘under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life.”

    Translation: The situation suggests that the defendant really didn’t care at all whether someone died — this is a must for a finding of depraved heart murder.

    “The terms ‘recklessness’ or ‘indifference,’ often used to define the crime, do not preclude an act of intentional injury. They refer to ‘recklessness’ or ‘indifference’ to the ultimate consequence of the act — death — not to the act that produces that result.”

    Translation: Although the definition uses the word “reckless” a lot, that doesn’t mean this kind of murder only applies to mistakes. Even if the defendant harmed the victim on purpose, the murder still falls under the “depraved heart” category.

    […]

    Today we learned more about the specific actions that state believes provide the basis for the charges against Goodson. Mosby said Gray “suffered a severe and critical neck injury as a result of being handcuffed, shackled by his feet, and unrestrained” in the paddy wagon.

    Once shackled, she said, he was placed on his stomach, head first on the floor of the vehicle. And she said Gray pleaded for medical help, saying he couldn’t breathe and asking for his inhaler, but officers ignored him.

    […]

    Whether Goodson took Gray on a “rough ride” that day — with a depraved heart, as Mosby said — will be decided in court. But in the meantime, the very existence of the charges against the officers — especially Goodson’s — seem to validate the concerns of protesters who suspected Gray was treated with “callous regard for human life.” In other words, like his life didn’t matter.

  128. Pteryxx says

    CaitieCat – so they avoid situations like Rekia Boyd’s killer having charges dropped because they weren’t the exact right ones, I assume? Though that decision was made by a judge and not a jury or grand jury: Chicago Tribune link

    Judge Dennis Porter ruled that prosecutors failed to prove that Dante Servin acted recklessly, saying that Illinois courts have consistently held that anytime an individual points a gun at an intended victim and shoots, it is an intentional act, not a reckless one. He all but said prosecutors should have charged Servin with murder, not involuntary manslaughter.

    Servin cannot be retried on a murder charge because of double-jeopardy protections, according to his attorney, Darren O’Brien.

    I was about to say, it looks like “depraved heart murder” or the equivalent could have been viable in the case against officer Servin.

  129. Pteryxx says

    From Time, Transcript of Marilyn J. Mosby’s Statement on Freddie Gray also with video

    As the city’s Chief Deputy Prosecutor I’ve been sworn to uphold justice and to treat every individual within the jurisdiction of Baltimore city equally and fairly under the law. I take this oath seriously and I want the public to know that my administration is committed to creating a fair and equitable justice system for all. No matter what your occupation, your age, your race, your color or your creed. It is my job to examine and investigate the evidence of each case and apply those facts to the elements of a crime, in order to make a determination as to whether individuals should be prosecuted. This is a tremendous responsibility, but one that I saw and accepted when the citizens of Baltimore city elected me as the state’s attorney, and it is precisely what I did in the case of Freddie Gray.

    Once alerted about this incident on April 13, investigators from my police integrity unit were deployed to investigate the circumstances surrounding Mr. Gray’s apprehension. Over the course of our independent investigation, in the untimely death of Mr. Gray, my team worked around the clock; 12 and 14 hour days to canvas and interview dozens of witnesses; view numerous hours of video footage; repeatedly reviewed and listened to hours of police video tape statements; surveyed the route, reviewed voluminous medical records; and we leveraged the information made available by the police department, the community and family of Mr. Gray.

    The findings of our comprehensive, thorough and independent investigation, coupled with the medical examiner’s determination that Mr. Gray’s death was a homicide that we received today, has led us to believe that we have probable cause to file criminal charges.

    I’m excerpting parts of the statement of probable cause below, with the prosecutor’s step-by-step explanation of the events and what officers did at each stage. Bolds and some notes are mine.

    Warning for detailed descriptions of, well, callous indifference.

    Officer Miller and Nero then handcuffed Mr. Gray and moved him to a location a few feet away from his surrendering location Mr. Gray was then placed in a prone position with his arms handcuffed behind his back. It was at this time that Mr. Gray indicated he could not breath and requested an inhaler to no avail. Officer Miller and Nero then placed Mr. Gray in a seated position and substantially found a knife clipped to the inside of his pants pocket. The blade of the knife was folded into the handle.The knife was not a switchblade and is lawful under Maryland law. These officers then removed the knife and placed it on the sidewalk.

    Mr. Gray was then placed back down on his stomach at which time Mr. Gray began to flail his legs and scream as Officer Miller placed Mr. Gray in a restraining technique known as a leg lace. While Officer Nero physically held him down against him will while a BPD wagon arrived to transport Mr. Gray.

    Lt. Rice, Officer Miller and Officer Nero failed to establish probable cause for Mr. Gray’s arrest as no crime had been committed by Mr. Gray. Accordingly Lt. Rice Officer MIller and Office Nero illegally arrested Mr. Gray.

    […]

    At Baker Street, [the first ‘extra’ stop – Ptx] Lt. Rice, Officer Nero and Officer Miller removed Mr. Gray from the wagon, placed flexi-cuffs on his wrists, placed leg shackles on his ankles and completed required paperwork.

    Officer Miller, Officer Nero and Lt. Rice then loaded Mr. Gray back into the wagon, placing him on his stomach, head first onto the floor of the wagon. Once again Mr. Gray was not secured by a seatbelt in the wagon contrary to a BPD general order.

    Lt. Rice then directed Officer Goodson to transport Mr. Gray to the Central Booking & Intake Facility. Following transport from Baker Street, Mr. Gray suffered a severe and critical neck injury as a result of being handcuffed, shackled by his feet and unrestrained inside of the BPD wagon.

    […]

    Officer William Porter arrived on the scene at Dolphin Street and Druid HIll Avenue. [This is the third ‘extra’ stop – Ptx] Both Officer Goodson and porter proceeded to the back of the wagon to check on the status of Mr. Gray’s condition. Mr. Gray at that time requested help and indicated that he could not breathe. Officer Porter asked Mr. Gray if he needed a medic at which time Mr. Gray indicated at least twice that he was in need of a medic. Officer Porter then physically assisted Mr. Gray from the floor of the van to the bench however despite Mr. Gray’s appeal for a medic, both officers assessed Mr. Gray’s condition and at no point did either of them restrain Mr. Gray per BPD general order nor did they render or request medical assistance.

    […]

    Officer Goodson arrived at North Avenue [the fourth stop since first picking up Gray – Ptx] to transport the individual arrested at the location of North Avenue and Pennsylvania Avenue at which time he was again met by Officer Nero, Miller and Porter. Once the wagon arrived, Officer Goodson walked to the back of the wagon and again opened the doors to the wagon to make observations of Mr. Gray.

    Sgt. Alicia White, Officer Porter and Officer Goodson observed Mr. Gray unresponsive on the floor of the wagon. Sgt. White who is responsible for investigating two citizen complaints pertaining to Mr. Gray’s illegal arrest spoke to the back of Mr. Gray’s head. When he did not respond, she did nothing further despite the fact that she was advised that he needed a medic. She made no effort to look or assess or determine his condition.

    Despite Mr. Gray’s seriously deteriorating medical condition, no medical assistance was rendered or summoned for Mr. Gray at that time by any officer.

    After completing the North Avenue arrest and loading the additional prisoner into the opposite side of the wagon containing Mr. Gray, Officer Goodson then proceeded to the Western District Station where contrary to the BPD general order, he again failed to restrain Mr. Gray in the wagon for at least the fifth time.

    At the Western District Police Station the defendant arrested at North Avenue was unloaded, escorted and secured inside of the police station prior to attending to Mr. Gray.

    By the time Officer Zachary Novak and Sgt. White attempted to remove Mr. Gray from the wagon, Mr. Gray was no longer breathing at all. A medic was finally called to the scene where upon arrival, the medic determined Mr. Gray was now in cardiac arrest and was critically and severely injured.

    Mr. Gray was rushed to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma where he underwent surgery. On April 19, 2015, Mr. Gray succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced dead. The manner of death deemed homicide by the Maryland Medical Examiner is believed to be the result of a fatal injury that occurred while Mr. Gray was unrestrained by a seatbelt in the custody of the Baltimore Police Department wagon.

    I’ve seen comments elsewhere suggesting there are no witnesses or video showing the police van being driven in a reckless or wild manner. To that I say, when a handcuffed and shackled person is laid face down on the floor with their head towards the front wall, it wouldn’t take wild driving or excessive speed to cause them to crash into the wall and receive injuries. A sudden stop from 25 miles per hour or less might do it. It’s practically a setup to get the person hurt.

    I’ve also seen it suggested that the officers drove a short ways after first picking up Freddie Gray, and *then* stopped to cuff and shackle him, place him belly down, and fill out paperwork, to get away from the citizens taking video. That seems plausible, and horrific, to me.

  130. Pteryxx says

    Shaun King at Daily Kos: Updated route of Baltimore Police van proves they were deliberately off course with Freddie Gray

    Newly released evidence now shows that Freddie Gray was deliberately taken far outside of the 2 minute route to the police station. Mind you, the only person to not yet give a statement to the police is the driver of this van.

    After driving one city block from where they arrested Freddie, the police van pulled over. Police claim that this is where they shackled his legs. They are now just four blocks away from the precinct in a drive that would’ve taken them about 90 seconds.

    This is the exact moment where the Baltimore Police decided that they were going to critically injure or kill Freddie Gray.

    As you will see below, the driver of the van, just four blocks away from the precinct, decided not to drive those four blocks and to instead drive Freddie Gray far outside of the path to the police station on stops that were not previously reported by police.

    Image link to a street map with overlays of each stop: (image)

  131. Pteryxx says

    The Atlantic from April 27: Freddie Gray, Rough Rides, and the Challenges of Improving Police Culture

    A rough ride. Bringing them up front. A screen test. A cowboy ride. A nickel ride.

    Police say that intentionally banging a suspect around in the back of a van isn’t common practice. But the range of slang terms to describe the practice suggests it’s more common that anyone would hope—and a roster of cases show that Freddie Gray is hardly the first person whose serious injuries allegedly occurred while in police transit. Citizens have accused police of using aggressive driving to rough suspects up for decades in jurisdictions across the country. Though experts don’t think it’s a widespread practice, rough rides have injured many people, frayed relationships, and cost taxpayers, including Baltimore’s, millions of dollars in damages.

    […]

    Once police caught Gray, a friend saw one officer with his knee on Gray’s neck and another bending his legs back. In video of the arrest, a bystander shouts that Gray’s legs are broken and he needs help. He was then placed in the van and driven away. Police now say he should have received medical attention at the scene. Because the investigation didn’t start for several days, they also missed opportunities to gather crucial evidence, like a surveillance tape from a store that was taped over.

    That’s why the van, and the alleged “rough ride,” remains central. While medical professionals said the level of damage to Gray’s spinal cord—which was 80 percent severed, with a crushed voice box—was the sort of injury that usually only happened in a serious car accident, Dr. Ali Bydon, a Johns Hopkins neurosurgeon, told the Sun that it could have happened progressively, so that the fact that Gray could stand when he got into the van proves nothing. “It can be a progressive, cumulative loss of function if the spinal cord is unstable and unprotected,” he said. “You don’t need tremendous force to follow up on further injury to the spine—a force you and me can take because we have stable necks, but that an unstable neck cannot withstand.”

    Once Gray was in the van, he was handcuffed. Apparently because he was “irate” during the ride, officers stopped and shackled his legs, too. The one thing they didn’t do was buckle his seat belt. Not only does that sound like common sense, it’s also department policy—and BPD admits it was violated. A lawyer for one of the six officers involved in the Gray case, all of whom have been put on desk duty with pay, implied that the policy was frequently ignored. “Policy is policy, practice is something else,” Michael Davey told the Associated Press. “It is not always possible or safe for officers to enter the rear of those transport vans that are very small, and this one was very small.”

    […]

    As one might expect, it’s hard to know how common this practice is, and there are no good tallies. There are multiple ways a suspect could be injured, including while being apprehended, and the accounts of police and suspects about what happened may vary. (The Bureau of Justice Statistics found about 688 arrest-related deaths per year from 2003 to 2009, with 60 percent ruled homicides.) The multiplicity of slang terms is one metric. “Bringing them up front” refers to jamming on the breaks so a prisoner flies forward. “Screen tests” are the same, so that a prisoner rams into the screen between the front seat and the passenger area of a van or cruiser.

    […]

    Baltimore starts out with some advantages over a town like Ferguson in responding to this kind of anger against officers—the department has a more representative (though still not fully representative) force, and it has elected leaders who are open about the problems between police and citizens. But Ferguson’s department had just 54 officers when the Justice Department investigated it. Baltimore has nearly 3,000 officers. Even if rough rides are only a tiny element of the police culture, it will take a cultural shift to root them out, the sort of change that marches and national attention can’t effect on their own.

    See also Shaun King: Had you ever even heard of police doing rough rides before Freddie Gray? They’re everywhere. and the New York Times: Freddie Gray’s Injury and the Police ‘Rough Ride’

    In Baltimore, they call it a “rough ride.” In Philadelphia, they had another name for it that hints at the age of the practice — a “nickel ride,” a reference to old-time amusement park rides that cost five cents. Other cities called them joy rides.

    The slang terms mask a dark tradition of police misconduct in which suspects, seated or lying face down and in handcuffs in the back of a police wagon, are jolted and battered by an intentionally rough and bumpy ride that can do as much damage as a police baton without an officer having to administer a blow.

  132. Pteryxx says

    From CityLab via DailyKos: How Baltimore’s curfew is hurting businesses and service workers

    Sinai Hospital in Northwest Baltimore received no credible threats in the wake of violent clashes between residents and police on Monday. So there were no National Guard soldiers or armored vehicles stationed out front, like there were at Johns Hopkins Hospital in East Baltimore.

    But it was far from business as usual at Sinai. Things were too quiet, according to an emergency-room nurse who was preparing for another overnight shift on Wednesday evening.

    “Emergency care is primary care for a lot of people in Baltimore,” says the nurse, who spoke anonymously because she was not authorized to speak for the hospital. “People who didn’t feel like they were in a critical emergency probably didn’t come into the hospital last night. But I’m sure there are people who thought, ‘I’m in pain, I’m having trouble breathing.’ ”

    […]

    “We had a rehearsal dinner scheduled on Friday for 40 people. It’s completely canceled,” says Tommy Bruce, a host at City Cafe, a popular Mount Vernon restaurant. “The wedding was actually moved out of Baltimore city as a result of the curfew. That was probably $1,000 in revenue that we lost right there.”

    It’s not just Camden Yards that’s empty this week. Late-night carryouts and high-octane night clubs are shuttered. The Baltimore Comedy Factory is closed all weekend. The major downtown cineplex at Harbor East isn’t scheduling any evening screenings of The Avengers: Age of Ultron over the film’s sure-to-be-blockbuster opening weekend.

    Venues across town have been forced to shuffle schedules, cancel events, and send staff home.

    “Obviously for a small, independently run venue, this is a huge financial blow to us,” says Sarah Werner, owner of Metro Gallery, a music venue that was forced to cancel all its shows for the week. “We are trying to add more shows to our May calendar to make up for the lost revenue.”

    […]

    “With a curfew, you will do more damage financially to our bars and restaurants than rioters will do,” writes Liam Flynn, proprietor of Liam Flynn’s Ale House, a Station North tavern not far from the CVS burned on Monday night, in an open letter to the mayor. “We have insurance for vandalism, not loss of revenue.”

    For Hong’s part, the Thames Street Oyster House is stopping its dinner service at 7:30 p.m. While the restaurant could stay open later, Hong says he’s concerned that his workers get home on time—no mean feat, given bus-service interruptions and road closures, especially in West Baltimore. Plus the hassle could be a problem for some workers.

    “The mayor stated that, if you are stopped in violation of the curfew, you would be required to show an ID and a letter from your employer stating that you are traveling to or from work. I’m sure this is true across the service industry,” Hong says, “but some of the staff might not have IDs that they can just pull out, whether it’s due to immigration status or other concerns.” (Hong notes that the Thames Street Oyster House is extremely strict about hiring only workers who are legally eligible for employment.)

    […]

    A bartender by the name of Beazly made the same complaint at Brewer’s Art, a brewpub in Midtown, right after an early last call of 8:30 p.m. He says he’s pulling in about one-fifth of what he usually makes. Over the weekend, that will add up.

    “It’s Thursday going into a weekend. It’s April going into May. And it’s the end of the month,” says Hong, who has offered to reduce his own salary proportionate to the time he’s losing. “Rent is due, and for people in the service industry, this weekend’s when you make rent.”

    […]

    “People who come in with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or congestive heat failure? We see them a day too late, they go to the ICU,” the nurse at Sinai says. “If we don’t see them for three days or four days, it could have a disastrous impact.”

  133. Pteryxx says

    Open Democracy: The problem with wanting ‘peace’ in Baltimore

    Peace disgusts me.

    Let me clarify.

    We all want peace. Even in the prison system, where I often work with people who have committed serious acts of violence and who are very comfortable using violence — people want peace in their lives.

    But calls for people to be “peaceful” in the face of the most recent police killing infuriate me. The calls for “peace” that act as a euphemism for “stop protesting” sickens me. When law enforcement and politicians tell people to protest “peacefully” as a way of saying “stop being so mad,” it repulses me. The gross and dangerous misunderstanding that people have of the concept of “peace” disgusts me.

    In 1956, a young woman named Autherine Lucy became the first black student enrolled in the University of Alabama. From the first moment she stepped foot on campus, there was violence. People rioted. And in response, the school expelled her, blaming her for inciting the violence. The next day, with Autherine expelled from campus, the riots stopped. The local newspaper ran a headline that read, “Things are quiet in Tuscaloosa today. There is peace on the campus of the University of Alabama.”

    And that peace disgusts me.

    People too often associate “peace” with quiet, with calm, with candles and kumbaya. People too often understand “peace” simply as the absence of tension. And that is a problem.

    In a sermon he gave in response to the incident, Marin Luther King Jr. described this peace as a “negative peace.” A false peace, the simple absence of violence that came at the expense of justice.

    It is this understanding of peace that allows people to justify going to war to create peace. “If we just kill all the bad people, then we will have peace.” It is this understanding of peace that allows us to justify mass incarceration to create peace. “If we just lock up all the bad people, then we will have peace.” And it is this understanding of peace that allows people to demand “peace” from the Black Lives Matter movement. “If the protesters would just stop yelling, we would have peace.”

    And it’s true, if all we want is the quiet, calm, polite “negative peace.” If all the protests stopped, Baltimore would be quieter and calmer than it has been recently. If we simply arrested all the protesters, Baltimore would be “peaceful.” But as King reminded us, “This is the type of peace that all men of goodwill hate. It is the type of peace that is obnoxious. It is the type of peace that stinks in the nostrils of the Almighty God.”

    […]

    The actions that the protesters have been engaged in are a response to that violence. The violence of police brutality. The violence of poverty. The violence of structural racism. People are fed up, and their actions are not violent as much as they are actually a cry for peace — the positive peace that only comes about through justice. It is the deep yearning and desire for peace and justice that is moving people into the streets.

    Former Baltimore Ravens star Ray Lewis recently implored the protesters to “stop the violence.” Ironically, that’s exactly what the protesters are trying to do. They are the warriors fighting for peace in a society that seemingly doesn’t honor the value of their lives. They are the ones who are sick of the violence.

    […]

    The biggest misunderstanding that exists of nonviolence is that it means simply to “not be violent.” You can watch someone get beaten and killed right in front of you and not do anything to help, and you would be “not violent.” You can watch police get away with murder after murder and not take a stand, and you would be “not violent.” However, true nonviolence is about taking a stand against violence and trying to transform unjust situations. A riot, as inarticulate as it may be, is an attempt to transform unjust situations. It is the cry of a people who have been unheard for generations. And it’s time we listen.

  134. rq says

    I’m home and about to dump days-old stuff on this link, so be prepared. I hope I won’t be repeating too much, and I will try to avoid duplicates, but as always, at least some repetition is inevitable and, I believe, even beneficial (even the repetition arising from same-story-different-source situations).
    As it is, I’m experiencing a mild case of guilt for being away from the thread for so long, and again, many thanks to those posting here and the other current Baltimore thread. ♥ Apologies for being lax, but here I am again.

  135. rq says

    A note on media: Dear Fox News: Stay away from our truck. Says ABC (see photo). Heh.

    Baltimore riots: Whole Foods under fire for handing out free sandwiches to National Guard The organic grocery chain faced scathing attacks from some of its customers after publishing a photograph on its Market Harbor East Facebook page showing sandwiches being delivered to law enforcement teams on the ground in Baltimore.

    A caption above the photo, which has since been deleted from the account, added: “We teamed up with Whole Foods Market Mt. Washington to make sandwiches for the men and women keeping Baltimore safe. We are so thankful to have them here and they’re pumped for Turkey & Cheese.” […]

    Customers threatened to boycott the brand with the hashtag #boycottwholefoods for feeding enforcement officers when children were prevented from going to school that day. Many come from low-income families and may rely heavily on the meals served while they are in school.
    Possible repost. I think I have a couple more articles on this, only the titles will appear.

    In praise of the libraries of Baltimore, and how you can help: the link within – Baltimore Libraries Stay Open For Their Communities

    This is a brief reminder that libraries are there for communities when communities need their libraries.

    In the spirit of Ferguson library and public libraries everywhere, all locations of the Enoch Pratt Free Library system, which serves the city of Baltimore, opened their doors to the public yesterday despite being in close proximity to protests stemming from the death of Freddie Gray.

    Many thanks to all the libraries in Baltimore for their hard work and dedication so that people of all ages can use their services and have a safe place to go.

    I suppose librarians are braver than all those municipal government workers who were let off early, huh? Go librarians!!!

    AND very important: Baltimore isn’t the only city in unrest (As no doubt many of you know), and things have been happening in Ferguson, as well. So, interspersed with Baltimore, I give you Ferguson.
    Resistance…
    R &R portable toilet on fire
    From Wednesday night.

  136. rq says

    Wow, there’s a blockquote fail in the above comment re: Whole Foods. None of that commentary is mine.

    If a portapotty & a sign are the only other casualties tonight, I think we all can live with that. Crowd almost gone. That was Ferguson.

    #JosephKent was kidnapped by Baltimore law enforcement officers on live television. I’m fairly sure I got that posted up a few days ago? Filmed on national TV, nary a remark? He was in custody for a while and was released. He appears later in the story again. 1/2 Re: #JosephKent As a service to the community I can confirm that Mr. Kent is at CBIF awaiting processing. Report is he is ok and safe.

    Michigan Cops Want In On That Whole ‘Beating Unarmed Black Guy’ Civil Unrest – that’s the Wonkette.

    It’s difficult to keep track of all the unarmed black men receiving treatment on a scale of illegal-to-lethal at the hands of American law enforcement. But hopefully you remember Floyd Dent. He is the retired auto worker who was pummeled by police officers following a routine traffic stop in Inkster, Michigan. In addition to the dash-cam video showing Officer William Melendez using his fists to protect and serve all over Dent’s head, new video has emerged purporting to show the manly and tough Inkster police officers guffawing and fist-bumping about the savage beat down they just gave the 57-year-old man. […]

    After the uniformed thugs beat, choked, Tasered, and mocked him, Dent was charged with assault, cocaine possession, and obstructing a police officer. Thankfully, these charges have since been dropped, and Inkster’s interim police chief resigned in the wake of this mess. Melendez is now facing felony assault charges. This is great except that over the course of his career, the terrible officer has shown roach-like resilience in his ability to weather 12 lawsuits, including a 2003 indictment for planting evidence. While with the Detroit Police Department, Melendez’s “aggressiveness” earned him the nickname “Robocop,” although his behavior clearly does not harken back to the heroic cyborg with the tortured soul and unyielding adherence to the rule of law. Maybe things changed in Robocop 3. I don’t know.

    At this point, none of Melendez’s cohorts have been charged or lost their jobs. So rest easy, Inkster.

    The media will only show you what they want to show you. There’s a link in Russian within, plus added photos of people cleaning up after all the protests.

    And Chris Rock weighs in. Rand Paul blames the #BaltimoreRiots on poor parenting. Of course he’d know, his son was just arrested for assault.

  137. rq says

    Oh, and a note on the media that just appeared today. But that’s for the very end.

    Whole Foods & Five Guys come under fire for tone-deaf police stunt Salon link.

    Orioles Executive on Baltimore Unrest: It’s Inequality, Stupid. I believe he is quoted above either directly here or via the All that needs to be said thread, so here for the record.

    Black Lives Matter Protesters Stock Forever 21 With ‘Never 21’ T-Shirts

    Posing as employees at Forever 21 Union Square, a group of Black Lives Matter protestors managed to clothe the front-window mannequins in “Black Lives Matter/Never 21” T-shirts on Saturday afternoon. Protesters also dropped a banner with the same message across the store’s second floor windows, and stocked several clothing racks with “Black Lives Matter” T-shirts.

    The action was carried out by a group of anonymous protesters who go by the name The Never 21 Project. According to a statement issued by the group, their goal was to draw attention to the number of “young black lives that have been lost to police violence before ever reaching 21-years-old, who were never afforded a true childhood… by the police.” […]

    Never 21 stresses that their action was not an attack on Forever 21. Rather, they see this as an opportunity for a huge company to stand behind Black Lives Matter. However, one participant acknowledged a bit of negative feedback. “Someone online wondered where the proceeds were going,” she explained. “They thought Forever 21 had made the shirts themselves, and were selling them for profit.” However, “Once people realized that it was a culture jam, they were more positive than I expected.”

    °With video.

    That moment when researching the history of BPD’s dirty tricks and you come across a familiar name. Your father’s. Ta-Nehisi Coates uncovers family history in amongst the police brutality.

    Oh yeah, this happened: There will be no fans allowed at today’s afternoon @Orioles game due to #BaltimoreUprising, thought to be a first in MLB history.

    And keep in mind: despite the unrest in Baltimore, and hopefully all the raising of awarenesses and consciousnesses, killings still happen: Hector Morejon, Unarmed Teen Shot, Killed By Police, Cried For His Mother: ‘Mommy, Mommy, Please Come’

    Hector Morejon, the youngest of five children, made that plea for help after he was shot by a Long Beach, California, police officer, who allegedly thought the 19-year-old was in possession of a firearm Thursday afternoon.

    The teen, who Lucia Morejon’s attorney says was unarmed, directed the cries for help toward his mother when she saw him in an ambulance directly after the shooting.

    His final words to his mother came, the attorney alleges, after police denied Lucia Morejon access to her son before the ambulance drove away.

    “He was reaching for her — reaching out to her for help,” lawyer Sonia Mercado told The Huffington Post. “She identified herself as his mother, expecting to ride with him to the hospital, but they refused to let her in.”

    The chilling words — “Mommy, Mommy, please come, please come” — are the same words Lucia Morejon hears when she closes her eyes today, five days after her son’s death, Mercado said.

    “It’s a tough thing to live with as a parent,” said Mercado.

    Mercado said Lucia Morejon is so distraught by her son’s death that she is unable to speak about it and has asked Mercado and her associate, R. Samuel Paz, to speak on her behalf.

    “She is deeply in shock,” Mercado said.

    According to the Long Beach Police Department, the shooting occurred after officers were dispatched to a vacant residence in the 1100 block of Hoffman Avenue on Thursday, to investigate a report of trespassing and vandalism.

    When the officers arrived, they allegedly looked through an open window and saw Hector Morejon standing inside the residence.

    “The officer observed [Morejon] turn towards him, while bending his knees, and extending his arm out as if pointing an object which the officer perceived was a gun,” Long Beach police said in a Friday press release.

    “At this point, an officer involved shooting occurred,” the release continued.

    Morejon, who was in critical condition when he was admitted to a local hospital, was pronounced dead shortly after arrival.

    According to police, “a weapon was not recovered from the scene.”

  138. rq says

    Book recommendation: @deray this book is great: Why Civil Resistance Works. The Strategic Logic of Nonviolent Conflict. By Maria J. Stephan and Erica Chenoweth.
    And in case anyone wonders, non-violent =/= peaceful or non-disruptive.

    Questioning of Garner Protesters in New York Renews Concerns About Police Practices

    Last December, as people arrested during protests related to the death of Eric Garner waited to be released from Police Headquarters in Manhattan, an officer removed a 28-year-old woman from a holding cell there.

    The woman, Leighann Starkey, a doctoral student who lives in Harlem, said recently that she was escorted to a separate area where she was asked by two detectives how she knew about the demonstrations, what social media she used to keep track of them and whether she was part of a protest group. One detective, she said, asked whether she had ties to terrorists.

    Another protester held that night, Christina Wilkerson, said officers told her she would not be released until she had been questioned; she stayed in custody for about 12 hours. Ms. Wilkerson, a social worker who lives in East Flatbush, Brooklyn, added that detectives asked who employed her, whether colleagues had attended the demonstrations and who had organized them.

    “It started to feel like an interrogation,” Ms. Wilkerson, 30, said. “I wondered whether they would continue monitoring me.” […]

    In 2003, the judge overseeing the Handschu settlement rebuked the Police Department when it emerged that Intelligence Division detectives had been using a document called the Demonstration Debriefing Form to record where arrested antiwar protesters went to school, their membership in organizations and their involvement in past protests. Police officials maintained that the questioning had been lawful but said that the department had stopped using the form and had destroyed a database derived from it.

    Some civil liberties lawyers say the recent questioning appeared to be substantially similar to the questioning in 2003, with detectives in both instances focusing on political involvement rather than criminal behavior.

    “When the police investigate political affiliations and political activities, that poses a serious threat to First Amendment rights,” the associate legal director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, Christopher Dunn, said. “The N.Y.P.D. should stop this immediately.”
    Continue reading the main story

    Lawrence Byrne, the Police Department’s deputy commissioner for legal matters, said the questioning, which did not involve the Intelligence Division, had been conducted in accordance with the consent decree and department rules.

    He added that the questioning began in late November, during protests connected to events in Ferguson, Mo., after a demonstrator in Times Square splattered Police Commissioner William J. Bratton with fake blood and detectives began seeing threats against officers on social media.

    “The Detective Bureau began a process of interviewing defendants arrested during the protests,” Mr. Byrne said, “in an attempt to obtain information about the specific acts of violence, vandalism and threats directed at police officers, as well as the general threat environment relating to such acts.”

    Police departments across the country have long sought to quietly gather information about those who they believe may be dangerous or disruptive, but federal court settlements in the 1970s and 1980s in cities like New York, Chicago and Memphis restricted some efforts after lawsuits argued that cataloging lawful behavior and subjecting people to special scrutiny because of political or religious activity violated the Constitution and deterred free speech and association. […]

    It is not uncommon for detectives to ask people who have been arrested about a specific investigation or about continuing criminal activity in their neighborhood. But Eugene O’Donnell, a lawyer and a former police officer who teaches at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in Manhattan, said the questions described by the protesters seemed “to go beyond ordinary criminal debriefing or ordinary arrest processing” and raised concerns about why the Police Department was gathering information from protesters and how it would be used.

    For years, such issues have been discussed within the context of the Handschu case, which has sometimes reflected changing perceptions of how to address issues of safety and surveillance.

    The lawsuit asserted that the Police Department’s Special Services Division, or Red Squad, had violated the rights of political activists in the 1960s and 1970s by using wiretaps, undercover officers and provocateurs to monitor and disrupt their actions. The consent decree created guidelines that allowed the investigation of political groups only when there was specific information about criminal activity.
    Continue reading the main story
    Continue reading the main story
    Continue reading the main story

    In 2003, after police officials argued that detectives needed greater latitude to investigate terrorism, Judge Charles S. Haight Jr. of Federal District Court in Manhattan, as overseer of the Handschu settlement, relaxed the guidelines.

    Soon afterward, the New York Civil Liberties Union learned that the debriefing form had been used to question antiwar protesters. Lawyers later said the detectives also questioned protesters about topics like their political leanings and their views on Israel and Palestine. The questioning revealed “an N.Y.P.D. in some need of discipline,” wrote Judge Haight, who modified the consent decree to ensure that lawyers could seek to hold the city in contempt of court if the police violated people’s rights.

    Some of those questioned in December said they were disturbed that detectives were gathering information related to a movement protesting actions by police officers. […]

    Ms. Pierre, 28, from Harlem, said detectives also asked if she had helped organize the Dec. 3 protests and wanted to know when and where the next demonstrations would take place.

    “What we were being asked had nothing to do with what we were being charged with,” she said. “It was like they were trying to find out where their problem was coming from so they could stifle it.”

    Baltimore protester Joseph Kent ‘kidnapped by police’ on live TV

    Joseph Kent, a 21-year-old student at Morgan State University who rose to local prominence during the Michael Brown protests, was seen on live television standing with his hands in the air alongside a line of riot gear-clad police officers just before 11 p.m. on Tuesday. Moments later, a National Guard humvee rolled up and a swarm of officers swallowed Kent. The vehicle blocked the camera’s view of the arrest. […]

    “They drove the vehicle up and when it got close enough to create a wedge they ran out an grabbed him, pinned him against that and arrested him,” CNN anchor Chris Cuomo said. He also told viewers Tuesday night that police had earlier shot pepper spray at the young protester as he approached their line in the street.

    “He told all the media, you need to disperse, and then as he was walking back and forth the humvee came and they used it as an opportunity and he’s been taken into custody.” […]

    A local attorney, Stephen Beatty, who said he would offer Kent his services pro bono, tweeted early Wednesday morning that Kent was safe and at Baltimore Central Booking.

    “As a service to the community I can confirm that Mr. Kent is at CBIF awaiting processing. Report is he is ok and safe,” he said. “Due to large numbers of arrests, processing is slow. He is not even in system yet. More will be known in about five hours. I do not yet rep him although I will gladly if he wants me to. But everyone breathe. No longer in [Baltimore Police Department] hands. [Correctional officers] have him. Safer,” he said.

    Hours later, Beatty tweeted that he had spoken with Kent, who is “healthy and positive.”

    Beatty tweeted that Kent was a “free man” Thursday morning.

    David Simon on Baltimore’s Anguish

    David Simon is Baltimore’s best-known chronicler of life on the hard streets. He worked for The Baltimore Sun city desk for a dozen years, wrote “Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets” (1991) and with former homicide detective Ed Burns co-wrote “The Corner: A Year in the Life of an Inner-City Neighborhood”1 (1997), which Simon adapted into an HBO miniseries. He is the creator, executive producer and head writer of the HBO television series “The Wire” (2002–2008). Simon is a member of The Marshall Project’s advisory board. He spoke with Bill Keller on Tuesday.
    “The Corner: A Year in the Life of an Inner-City Neighborhood”1″The Corner: A Year in the Life of an Inner-City Neighborhood” by David Simon and former Boston homicide detective Ed Burns, 1997

    BK: What do people outside the city need to understand about what’s going on there — the death of Freddie Gray and the response to it?

    DS: I guess there’s an awful lot to understand and I’m not sure I understand all of it. The part that seems systemic and connected is that the drug war — which Baltimore waged as aggressively as any American city — was transforming in terms of police/community relations, in terms of trust, particularly between the black community and the police department. Probable cause was destroyed by the drug war. It happened in stages, but even in the time that I was a police reporter, which would have been the early 80s to the early 90s, the need for police officers to address the basic rights of the people they were policing in Baltimore was minimized. It was done almost as a plan by the local government, by police commissioners and mayors, and it not only made everybody in these poor communities vulnerable to the most arbitrary behavior on the part of the police officers, it taught police officers how not to distinguish in ways that they once did.

    Probable cause from a Baltimore police officer has always been a tenuous thing. It’s a tenuous thing anywhere, but in Baltimore, in these high crime, heavily policed areas, it was even worse. When I came on, there were jokes about, “You know what probable cause is on Edmondson Avenue? You roll by in your radio car and the guy looks at you for two seconds too long.” Probable cause was whatever you thought you could safely lie about when you got into district court.

    Then at some point when cocaine hit and the city lost control of a lot of corners and the violence was ratcheted up, there was a real panic on the part of the government. And they basically decided that even that loose idea of what the Fourth Amendment was supposed to mean on a street level, even that was too much. Now all bets were off. Now you didn’t even need probable cause. The city council actually passed an ordinance that declared a certain amount of real estate to be drug-free zones. They literally declared maybe a quarter to a third of inner city Baltimore off-limits to its residents, and said that if you were loitering in those areas you were subject to arrest and search. Think about that for a moment: It was a permission for the police to become truly random and arbitrary and to clear streets any way they damn well wanted.

    How does race figure into this? It’s a city with a black majority and now a black mayor and black police chief, a substantially black police force.

    What did Tom Wolfe write about cops? They all become Irish? That’s a line in “Bonfire of the Vanities.” When Ed and I reported “The Corner,” it became clear that the most brutal cops in our sector of the Western District were black. The guys who would really kick your ass without thinking twice were black officers. If I had to guess and put a name on it, I’d say that at some point, the drug war was as much a function of class and social control as it was of racism. I think the two agendas are inextricably linked, and where one picks up and the other ends is hard to say. But when you have African-American officers beating the dog-piss out of people they’re supposed to be policing, and there isn’t a white guy in the equation on a street level, it’s pretty remarkable. But in some ways they were empowered. Back then, even before the advent of cell phones and digital cameras — which have been transforming in terms of documenting police violence — back then, you were much more vulnerable if you were white and you wanted to wail on somebody. You take out your nightstick and you’re white and you start hitting somebody, it has a completely different dynamic than if you were a black officer. It was simply safer to be brutal if you were black, and I didn’t know quite what to do with that fact other than report it. It was as disturbing a dynamic as I could imagine. Something had been removed from the equation that gave white officers — however brutal they wanted to be, or however brutal they thought the moment required — it gave them pause before pulling out a nightstick and going at it. Some African American officers seemed to feel no such pause.

    What the drug war did, though, was make this all a function of social control. This was simply about keeping the poor down, and that war footing has been an excuse for everybody to operate outside the realm of procedure and law. And the city willingly and legally gave itself over to that, beginning with the drug-free zones and with the misuse of what are known on the street in the previous generation as ‘humbles.’ A humble is a cheap, inconsequential arrest that nonetheless gives the guy a night or two in jail before he sees a court commissioner. You can arrest people on “failure to obey,” it’s a humble. Loitering is a humble. These things were used by police officers going back to the ‘60s in Baltimore. It’s the ultimate recourse for a cop who doesn’t like somebody who’s looking at him the wrong way. And yet, back in the day, there was, I think, more of a code to it. If you were on a corner, you knew certain things would catch you a humble. The code was really ornate, and I’m not suggesting in any way that the code was always justifiable in any sense, but there was a code.

    In some districts, if you called a Baltimore cop a motherfucker in the 80s and even earlier, that was not generally a reason to go to jail. If the cop came up to clear your corner and you’re moving off the corner, and out of the side of your mouth you call him a motherfucker, you’re not necessarily going to jail if that cop knows his business and played according to code. Everyone gets called a motherfucker, that’s within the realm of general complaint. But the word “asshole” — that’s how ornate the code was — asshole had a personal connotation. You call a cop an asshole, you’re going hard into the wagon in Baltimore. At least it used to be that way. Who knows if those gradations or nuances have survived the cumulative brutalities of the drug war. I actually don’t know if anything resembling a code even exists now.

    LOTS more at the link. So much more. I encourage everyone to read it. Here’s the ending bit:

    When you say, end the drug war, you mean basically decriminalize or stop enforcing?

    Medicalize the problem, decriminalize — I don’t need drugs to be declared legal, but if a Baltimore State’s Attorney told all his assistant state’s attorneys today, from this moment on, we are not signing overtime slips for court pay for possession, for simple loitering in a drug-free zone, for loitering, for failure to obey, we’re not signing slips for that: Nobody gets paid for that bullshit, go out and do real police work. If that were to happen, then all at once, the standards for what constitutes a worthy arrest in Baltimore would significantly improve. Take away the actual incentive to do bad or useless police work, which is what the drug war has become.

    You didn’t ask me about the rough rides, or as I used to hear in the western district, “the bounce.” It used to be reserved — as I say, when there was a code to this thing, as flawed as it might have been by standards of the normative world — by standards of Baltimore, there was a code to when you gave the guy the bounce or the rough ride. And it was this: He fought the police. Two things get your ass kicked faster than anything: one is making a cop run. If he catches you, you’re 18 years old, you’ve got fucking Nikes, he’s got cop shoes, he’s wearing a utility belt, if you fucking run and he catches you, you’re gonna take some lumps. That’s always been part of the code. Rodney King5 could’ve quoted that much of it to you.

    But the other thing that gets you beat is if you fight. So the rough ride was reserved for the guys who fought the police, who basically made — in the cop parlance — assholes of themselves. And yet, you look at the sheet for poor Mr. Gray, and you look at the nature of the arrest and you look at the number of police who made the arrest, you look at the nature of what they were charging him with — if anything, because again there’s a complete absence of probable cause — and you look at the fact that the guy hasn’t got much propensity for serious violence according to his sheet, and you say, How did this guy get a rough ride? How did that happen? Is this really the arrest that you were supposed to make today? And then, if you were supposed to make it, was this the guy that needed an ass-kicking on the street, or beyond that, a hard ride to the lockup?

    I’m talking in the vernacular of cops, not my own — but even in the vernacular of what cops secretly think is fair, this is bullshit, this is a horror show. There doesn’t seem to be much code anymore – not that the code was always entirely clean or valid to anyone other than street cops, and maybe the hardcore corner players, but still it was something at least.

    I mean, I know there are still a good many Baltimore cops who know their jobs and do their jobs some real integrity and even precision. But if you look at why the city of Baltimore paid that $5.7 million for beating down people over the last few years, it’s clear that there are way too many others for whom no code exists. Anyone and everyone was a potential ass-whipping – even people that were never otherwise charged with any real crimes. It’s astonishing.

    By the standard of that long list, Freddie Gray becomes almost plausible as a victim. He was a street guy. And before he came along, there were actual working people — citizens, taxpayers — who were indistinguishable from criminal suspects in the eyes of the police who were beating them down. Again, that’s a department that has a diminished capacity to actually respond to crime or investigate crime, or to even distinguish innocence or guilt. And that comes from too many officers who came up in a culture that taught them not the hard job of policing, but simply how to roam the city, jack everyone up, and call for the wagon.

    In 179 NYPD-involved deaths, only 3 indicted — EXCLUSIVE How’s that for police privilege?

    A Daily News investigation found that at least 179 people were killed by on-duty NYPD officers over the past 15 years. Just three of the deaths have led to an indictment in state court. In another case, a judge threw out the indictment on technical grounds and it was not reinstated.

    Only one officer who killed someone while on duty has been convicted, but he was not sentenced to jail time.

    The analysis of the police-involved deaths begins with the 1999 slaying of unarmed Amadou Diallo in a hail of bullets and ends with last month’s shooting death of Akai Gurley, who police say was hit by a ricocheting bullet fired by a rookie cop in a darkened housing project stairwell in Brooklyn. Gurley was also unarmed.

    The News found that since 1999:

    Roughly 27% of people killed by cops were unarmed.
    Where race was known, 86% were black or Hispanic.
    Twenty-one people were killed — three of them by off-duty cops — in 2012, the highest during the 15-year span.

    […]

    The News’ analysis was based on information compiled by organizations such as the Prison Reform Organizing Project and the Stolen Lives Project, the NYPD’s annual firearms discharge reports, press reports, and court documents. The News only included deaths that involved an active member of the force and were a direct result of the officer’s actions. So, cases where individuals died from swallowing drugs during an arrest or hitting a tree during a car chase, for example, were not included.

    The News found 222 deaths total during the 15-year span — 43 of which involved off-duty officers, some of whom bravely stepped in when they saw trouble, others who were embroiled in personal disputes or driving drunk. The News was only able to identify 10 convictions covering 14 of those off-duty deaths, and one case that is ongoing.

    Patrick Lynch, head of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, pointed out that during the same time period, nearly 80 officers have been killed in the line of duty, a number that includes cops who heroically died in the Sept. 11 terrorist attack and from related health complications.

    “When there is a life-or-death situation on the street, be it an armed robbery, a homicidal maniac on the street or someone driving a vehicle in a dangerous and potentially deadly way, it is New York City police officers who step in and take the risk away from the public and put it on themselves,” Lynch said in a statement. “Our work has saved tens of thousands of lives by assuming the risk and standing between New Yorkers and life-threatening danger.”

    The NYPD declined to comment for this article or provide its own internal statistics on officer-involved deaths, and the information has not been submitted to the FBI since 2006.

    This and that else at the link.

    Maybe some of you saw it. The photo (was there video?) of a mother pulling her son out of the crowd of protestors and giving him what-for. People cheered (mostly white people). Saw it described, too, as repurposing the Angry Black Woman trope – and also, that she was angry not that he was protesting, but scared that he could be killed or arrested or beat by cops. Anyway.
    We Celebrated That Mother in Baltimore. Now, Are We Willing to Face Our Own Hypocrisy?

    Tonight, as I scan the news coverage coming out of Baltimore, another mother—not unlike my own—is being heralded as a hero. She is, for many, a rose blooming from the concrete. The video captured shows her striking her son repeatedly about the head and shoulders. We can sense her desperation, her disappointment. We can feel her fears.

    Mothering sons and daughters, I know something about that. I know something about bad, immature choices that can sometimes open unfortunate pathways to the criminal justice system or worse. I remember hanging with the “wrong crowd” myself as I came of age and being snatched off a corner by the nape of my neck. I know firsthand about the diminishing options when the only thing standing between your child and the streets is you.

    My mother shot a man for abusing me. Her then-fiancé put me in a bath of scalding hot water, leaving scars I can still see and feel some 40 years later. Like I said, she would do anything for us.

    But I wonder now, with jail cells and graveyards packed with people who faced similar discipline, if it had the societal payoff we intended. The hard data tells another story. Children who are subjected to corporal punishment are no more likely to refrain from bad behavior than those who are not. In fact, studies show it has the opposite impact, and that they seek out more crafty ways to cloak unwanted conduct.

    That is no indictment on the mother from Baltimore or my own. It does, however, speak to our collective hypocrisy.

    As a society, we have supported public policies that create deep pockets of poverty and need. We built interstate highways that cut off entire communities, producing dead-end streets and drug traps. We permitted institutions to crumble without investment, and then wonder why families fall by the wayside. We redlined whole cities, allowing predatory payday loan, title pawn, and check cashing stores to flourish. Today, they are more prevalent than liquor stores and churches.

    We burn bridges to meaningful opportunity then blame the people we isolate when they fail to embrace the “American Dream.” When families struggling on the margins cry out for help, we turn a blind eye. We stand safely beyond the walls of containment we erected and cast moral aspersions to assuage our own complicity. That is the enduring legacy of Jim Crow, segregationist policies that kept people locked up and locked out.

    From the comfort of our living rooms, or from behind a computer keyboard, we watch the unrest unfolding in cities like Ferguson and Baltimore. Why can’t they be like us, we ask, with no small irony. Why can’t they be like Dr. King?

    We are the arbiters of their rage. We decide what, if anything, they have to be angry about. We decide when they can march and whether it will be on the street or the sidewalk. We castigate the lawlessness, the broken windows and vandalized squad cars. We call them “savages” and “thugs,” believing we would be better—more moral—given similar circumstances. Why would they burn their own community, we beg to know.

    On the one hand, we lift up and celebrate the non-violent legacy of Dr. King. On the other, we want to know why aren’t there more mothers, like the one in the video, willing to beat their children into submission. Forgive me cable pundits, if I am not able to hear you talking out of both sides of your neck.

    My children are grown now– educated, law abiding, and out meeting the world on their own terms. I was swift with discipline and sometimes, I admit, too much. I count myself lucky. The wind blew in just the right way, in just the right moments.

    My parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and anyone else within earshot, raised me with strong hands. But there is, I should tell you, no man alive today in my immediate family who was born before 1986. For every one of them lost, to the grave or to a prison, there is a weeping mother who mourns for him.

    I do wonder what the response might have been if that mother had been kicking a dog rather than whooping her son. I wonder if it would have turned, snarling, and bitten her or tucked that anger inside until it bit someone else.

    I wonder if we understand the few choices we left her with.

  139. rq says

    6 Maps That Show How Deeply Segregated Baltimore Is

    Protests erupted in Baltimore this week following the fatal arrest of 25-year-old Freddie Gray, who died on April 19 after sustaining a severe spinal cord injury while in police custody.

    The city is deeply segregated, and areas with high percentages of black residents also generally have high unemployment rates. Almost 20 percent of Baltimore families live below the poverty level, and the median family income is $41,385.
    Here are a few maps that show how divided the city of Baltimore is today:

    It’s not graphs, but it’ll do.

    ‘Mom smacks kid’ is the Baltimore version of Ferguson’s ‘Kid hugs cop’. Ref. the last article comment above.

    Critics question delay in calling out the Guard – yep, some wanted it earlier! And now they have so much of it.

    It was nonetheless clear Tuesday that the two powerful politicians had viewed Guard intervention quite differently — the new Republican governor eager to marshal troops and the Democratic mayor reluctant to appear as though she were quashing protesters.

    “We didn’t think it was appropriate to come in and take over the city without the request of the mayor,” Hogan told reporters as he explained why it took hours after violence erupted to activate the National Guard. Once he got the mayor’s call, he said, “it was about 30 seconds before we completely activated all of the resources that we had to bear.”

    Rawlings-Blake dismissed the critique from Hogan — and a chorus of national experts and others in Baltimore — that she may have waited too long to ask for help as outrage over the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray boiled over into violent mayhem.
    lRelated
    Hogan speaks to the press at Western District police station

    The Baltimore Sun
    Hogan speaks to the press at Western District police station

    See all related
    8

    “We responded very quickly to a very difficult situation,” she said. “It’s understandable to armchair quarterback and second-guess, but there is a very delicate balancing act that you have to do in order to respond but not over-respond.”

    A week of peaceful protests about Gray’s death while in police custody first turned violent Saturday evening, but on Monday a confrontation between teenagers and police quickly flared out of control.

    “They just outnumbered us and outflanked us,” police Commissioner Anthony W. Batts said later. “We needed to have more resources out there.”

    Reminder: outnumbered and outflanked by high school students. Anyway, this is old news.

    On Baltimore city councilman Carl Stokes saying “just call them n******”. Text attached. Post-racial America.

    Ferguson activist perfectly schools Wolf Blitzer: “You are suggesting broken windows are worse than broken spines” . That again. Because it’s bloody fantastic.

    Joseph Kent: Internet up in arms over ‘kidnapped’ Baltimore protester, article within.

    The hideous white hypocrisy behind the Baltimore “Hero Mom” hype: How clueless media applause excuses police brutality

    Baltimore’s “Hero Mom” has a name. It’s Toya Graham.

    And the woman lionized nationwide for beating her 16-year-old son on camera, and dragging him away from Monday night’s riots, doesn’t feel at all like a hero.

    “I don’t. I don’t,” Graham told CBS “This Morning” on Wednesday. “My intention was just to get my son and have him be safe.” Later in the interview, Graham confesses, “I just lost it.” (Watch the whole thing at the end of this post.)

    Her moment of losing it made her a hero to much of white America – and not just to the right. Coast to coast, the media is hyping Graham as “Hero Mom” and her on-camera beating as “Tough Love.” It’s not just Fox News or the “New York Post,” whose tabloid “Send in the Moms” front page this time reflects rather than rebukes the mainstream media. And that’s heartbreaking.

    The debate over the moment Graham says she “lost it” is complex. There’s a parallel black debate going on that, as always when it comes to racial issues, is richer and more nuanced. But anyone white who’s applauding Graham’s moment of desperation, along with the white media figures who are hyping her “heroism,” is essentially justifying police brutality, and saying the only way to control black kids is to beat the shit out of them.

    I’m aware that a lot of African Americans are lauding Graham, too. This piece isn’t directed at them. Whether they applaud or critique Graham’s corporal punishment, most black people debating the issue acknowledge that the desperate public beating came from centuries of black parents knowing they have to discipline their children harshly, or else white society will do it for them – and they may not survive it.

    The hypocrisy of the white mainstream applauding Graham is sickening. Let’s be honest: many white folks are reflexive critics of the greater frequency of corporal punishment in the black community. Witness the media horror at Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson beating his young son. If Graham beat her child like that in the aisles of CVS, you can be sure somebody would call CPS. […]

    For the most part, the CBS team ignored the big social issues behind Graham’s confrontation with her son. Graham didn’t. Like other Baltimore teens, Graham told the table, “he doesn’t have the perfect relationship with the police officers in Baltimore city…But two wrongs don’t make a right.” Nobody followed up on the young man’s “relationship” with police.

    Graham also shared that she recently lost her job. Nobody asked about that. When the church-going single mother of six confessed that the first thing she thought, when she saw herself on television, was “Oh my God, my pastor is gonna have a fit,” Norah O’Donnell reassured her: “The police commissioner of Baltimore said “We need more moms like you.”

    In the interview’s closing moments, Gayle King (who is African American) did bring the conversation around to the “relationship between the community and the police,” and the killing of Freddie Gray. Graham was eloquent.

    We haven’t received any information about what happened to this young guy. It seemed like he was harmed…We can’t talk to the police. The news keeps showing how he was dragged to the paddywagon…as a mother, that was just devastating to see.

    It sure was.

    I don’t fault CBS for interviewing Graham. She’s a “newsmaker,” and I’d talk to her in a heartbeat. But the way the network hyped its “get” falls into the category of white media applauding a black woman for beating up her son. As though that’s the only way to discipline a black child.

    These weren’t segments exploring the heartbreaking desperation of black inner city mothers, faced with an eternal “Sophie’s Choice” when it comes to their kids. They weren’t looking at the lack of options for teens in Sandtown-Winchester, or the history of Baltimore cops acting “in loco parentis” and beating the shit out of young black men, sometimes just for sport.

    Not a word of this is intended to criticize Toya Graham. I cannot say to her, “Ma’am, I have a better way to keep your son safe.” But when I watch that video, I don’t merely see a loving mother disciplining her son. I see a desperate mother being forced to wield the club of white violence, “in loco” white cops. As a mother, the footage of cops dragging an agonized Freddie Gray into custody was indeed “devastating to see.” So was the footage of Graham beating her son, with the approving gaze of white media.

    I’d forgotten how much of this reading puts me on the edge of tears.

  140. rq says

    Whoops, 159 in moderation. But take courage! I’m almost half-way done with the archived tabs, and then I only have to find what I’ve missed since yesterday, and then everything is all caught up!

    This is old news. And not much of an apology. Or, really, anything else. I wanted to clarify my comments on “thugs.” When you speak out of frustration and anger, one can say things in a way that you don’t mean.

    You can feel the tide turning among Black people. You see it in the CNN interviews with @deray and Carl Stokes. People are focused.

    Most Of The 235 Baltimore Protesters Arrested Monday Remained Jailed For Days. Yah yah yah that’s from Wednesday or so. Still old news.

    Most of the 235 protesters — 34 of them juveniles — who were arrested in Monday night’s riots in Baltimore remain in jail as of Wednesday morning, without being formally charged or having a bail hearing, officials told BuzzFeed News.

    The court system and state’s attorney’s office were closed Tuesday due to the violence, leaving nearly all of the demonstrators in Baltimore’s Central Booking and Intake Facility, a spokesperson for the facility told BuzzFeed News. One court was open Wednesday.

    Katie D’Adamo, a lawyer with the Office of the Public Defender, told BuzzFeed News that the adults are being held in tiny cells and have not been able to shower. The juveniles are being held in a separate facility across the street, she said.

    Rochelle Ritchie, director of communications for the state’s attorney’s office, said only deputies, directors, and the state’s attorney worked through Monday night and on Tuesday. She said “some” got formally charged in court on Tuesday but didn’t specify how many.

    But D’Adamo said that none of the protesters got a court hearing until Wednesday morning, starting at the John R. Hargrove Sr. Courthouse about six miles from central booking. About 93 people so far have been charged, Ritchie said.

    At the court, defendants appeared via video link. The court was steadily hearing cases by Wednesday afternoon.

    State law in Maryland reads that people who are arrested have to have a court appearance within 24 hours, the central booking spokesperson said. D’Adamo said the relevant law is 4-212 (f): “When a defendant is arrested without a warrant, the defendant shall be taken before a judicial officer of the District Court without unnecessary delay and in no event later than 24 hours after arrest.”

    Baltimore City Police Captain Eric Kowalcyzk said in a press conference Wednesday afternoon that 111 people have yet to be charged and that the police department has 48 hours to do so before releasing them.

    D’Adamo said she believes those laws may have been usurped by the State of Emergency declared by Gov. Larry Hogan on Monday evening. A spokesperson for the governor didn’t immediately return a request for comment.

    Again, the media. Controlling the Narrative: A Case Study within Baltimore

    Exactly why have I gone on for four paragraphs about Sleepers in a post about Baltimore? Because I want you to understand the greatest power there is, not just in situations like this, but in any situation you can imagine. That is the ability to start and stop the story wherever you want. It’s called “framing the narrative” and it’s not just a catchy buzz phrase that the token black interviewee says when they get asked about a racial incident or that lets a writing blogger shoehorn in the occasional commentary on current events. […]

    A lot of people are going to blog about Baltimore in the next few days. A lot already have. (We’re writers; when shit works us up, we write it out.) Most of them are going to do a much better job cataloguing the injustices that led to the powder keg of anger or pointing out the breaking news. Many will attempt to draw the focus towards the thousands protesting peacefully. Some will share poignant images of a community that is grieving, and calling for justice. Some will point out that it was drunk sports fans who sparked the initial violence.

    And of course others will try to frame the narrative in a different way. They don’t want you to see that stuff above. They want to frame this story for you by starting and stopping it where it suits them (at best because peaceful protests “aren’t news,” but some due to an agenda to validate their bigotry). They will point their cameras only when they see violence. They will ignore any calls for non-violence or attempts by protestors to calm flash points. They will clutch their pearls at the horrible treasonous image of protesters throwing rocks at riot police, but edit out the part where riot police provoked them by throwing rocks first. They will ignore police brutality. They will ignore what started that violence and chalk their analysis up to “lack of education,” “lack of leadership,” or among the less charitable, “‘those people’ are just thugs and animals.”

    Mostly though they will start the story half way through, like I did with the Sleepers DVD. They will frame the narrative in an incomplete way so that the story you get is of random sociopaths striking out against the innocent for no particular reason. They will start the story with a riot. Or if they’re “balanced” they will start the story with Freddie Gray and what was almost certainly a nickel ride that killed him and provoked a protest that became a riot.

    But even these narratives are framed in a way that disregards the background that led to the powder keg, and insinuate that destruction is happening in a contextual vacuum. They ignore the top down violence that has been going on for decades (for centuries, really) where on a horrifyingly regular basis, unarmed black people are extrajudicially killed by agents of the state in a way that simply does NOT happen to whites with such statistical regularity. They ignore Baltimore’s particularly egregious history with police brutality that is disproportionally doled out on Blacks. They ignore the eighteen months of cell phone camera coverage of blacks being shot in the back despite holding BB guns, shot within seconds of police arriving, despite being a child with a toy, shot in the back while running away, choked to death while begging to breathe, and an avalanche of police reports that turn out to be completely false when video footage surfaces.

    The words you pick are another way to control the narrative.
    They ignore whatever doesn’t suit their narrative.

    I hope if I’ve taught you nothing else on this blog, it is that controlling the narrative is power. It is absolute power. You decide who is good, who is bad, who’s off the rails, and who is being noble. You get to decide who is “reasonable” and who is “too angry.” That is the power to shape reality. It’s why publishing is whitewashed. It’s why e-publishing is so exciting. Facts and truth are entirely different creatures and you can decide what truth you want people to see by disseminating facts with discretion.

    So watch closely in the coming weeks as attempts to control the narrative unfurl in their typical modus operandi.

    I read further and I realize that Tony may have posted this link either here or elsewhere (or both) so I will cite no further, but it is a good link to read, and to keep in mind when reading media stories (and which media stories, not just which media stories – if you get what I mean).

    Here’s a list, a long list, a painful list. And at the same time it is a short list, and a list that is far too long. PLEASE DON’T FORGET THE WOMEN!

    Tanesha Anderson (37) was slammed against the pavement by police officers. She was apparently disturbing the peace in the neighborhood.
    Duanna Johnson (43) was tortured, then shot in the head by police officers. She was transgender.
    Rekia Boyd (22) was shot in the head by a police officer after someone “threatened” said officer…with a cell phone.
    Aiyana Stanley-Jones (7) was shot in the head while sleeping during a police raid. This was for a reality show, apparently.
    Tarika Wilson (26) and her 14-month old son were shot by police moments after they broke into her house. A companion was suspected of dealing drugs.
    Miriam Carey (34) was killed by police officers while trying to protect her daughter. It was apparently a traffic incident, and she wanted to protect the baby after confronting guns.
    Tyisha Williams (19) was shot 27 times by cops, minutes after her family called 911, worried about her not waking up. She had a flat tire during an evening with her friends and was waiting in a locked car for help.
    Kendra James (21) was shot while trying to flee from a police officer. She was wanted for failing to appear in court.
    Shelley Frey (27) was shot in the neck during a police chase on suspect of shoplifting. The police officer feared for his safety because of the position he was in, even though he could’ve easily shot a tire instead.
    Shereese Francis (30) was suffocated by police and then put into cardiac arrest. She was mentally ill.
    Alesia Thomas (35) was beaten to death during a struggle with a police officer. She’d been arrested because her children were left outside a police station.
    Darnesha Harris (17) was shot several times after crashing into three parked cars and a bystander (who suffered moderate injuries).
    Mackala Ross (13) and her mom Delores Epps (53) were killed in a car by a speeding police officer with no siren.
    Robin Taneisha Williams (21) was killed when a state trooper who was driving drunk crashed into her car.

    ‘We call it Mount Ghetto:’ Colorado HVAC company won’t service ‘colored’ neighborhood. No, you’re not contributing to the racial climate at all!!! Assholes.

    A heating and cooling company that claims to serve the entire Denver region refuses service homes in a racially diverse neighborhood it refers to as “Mount Ghetto,” a local Fox affiliate reports.

    A concerned employee at Mile High Heating and Cooling in Westminster, Colorado alerted the “Problem Solvers” at FOX31 Denver to the company’s racist service policies. To investigate the claim, the reporting team sent a producer to apply for an “appointment setter” position Mile High happened to be advertising at the time.

    A manager at the company, who FOX31 Denver refers to only as “Andrea,” hired the news producer to book appointments at “one of Denver’s premier residential and commercial HVAC companies” almost immediately. Within an hour, Andrea was training the reporter on how to cold call around the region to identify new customers.

    Andrea gave the producer a paper schedule of which zip codes to concentrate calls on in the coming days. The producer asked why one certain zip code — the one for Denver’s Montbello neighborhood — had the words “do not call” written under it on the list.

    “We call it Mount Ghetto,” Andrea explained. She further elaborated that Montbello is a “colored neighborhood.”

    Meanwhile, the reporter she’d just hired was filming the entire conversation.

    The Problem Solvers had enough evidence to conclude Mile High Heating and Cooling didn’t seek out customers in Montbello. But would the company provide service to a home in that neighborhood if someone called and asked it to?

    The answer, apparently, is probably not.

    In cahoots with FOX31 Denver, grandmother and Montbello homeowner Pam Jiner called Mile High and asked the company for help with a broken furnace. An employee asked Jiner for her zip code and informed her they would call her back with details in a few minutes. But no one from the Westminster heating and cooling company ever called Jiner back.

    A Problem Solver then called Mile High Heating and Cooling asking for the same service, using the same name, but citing a different zip code. A dispatcher booked her appointment immediately.

    Jiner found the zip code servicing disparity “beyond offensive.”

    Jiner’s neighbor Duane Topping shares her opinion, and describes the neighborhood’s diversity as a strength rather than a weakness. “Those stereotypes are born of ignorance,” Topping says. “I’ve grown up with all of these people in this neighborhood, so this is a family. We don’t care how much money you make, we don’t’ care what color you are, we don’t care what religion you are.”

    “Saddened and stunned by what [they] found,” FOX31 Denver reporters went in full news regalia to Mile High’s offices to ask some follow up questions. When Andrea saw the reporters, she ran away and camped out in her office, thinking the investigators would eventually go away.

    When she came out an hour later, however, the news team was still there.

    “When you refer to colored people, what color are you referring to?” a journalist inquired of Andrea.

    Of course, she isn’t racist. And neither is the company. It’s a business decision made for economic reasons.

    And James Baldwin. James Baldwin Tells Us All How to Cool It This Summer

    Q. What would you say ought to be done to improve the relationship of the police with the black community?

    BALDWIN : You would have to educate them. I really have no quarrel particularly with the policemen. I can see the trouble they’re in. They’re hopelessly ignorant and terribly frightened. They believe everything they see on television, as most people in this country do. They are endlessly respectable, which means to say they are Saturday-night sinners. The country has got the police force it deserves and of course if a policeman sees a black cat in what he considers a strange place he’s going to stop him; and you know of course the black cat is going to get angry. And then somebody may die. But it’s one of the results of the cultivation in this country of ignorance. Those cats in the Harlem street, those white cops; they are scared to death and they should be scared to death. But that’s how black boys die, because the police are scared. And it’s not the policemen’s fault; it’s the country’s fault.

    Q. In the latest civil disorder, there seems to have been a more permissive attitude on the part of the police, much less reliance on firearms to stop looters as compared with last summer when there was such an orgy of shooting by the police and the National Guard.

    BALDWIN: I’m sorry, the story isn’t in yet, and furthermore, I don’t believe what I read in the newspapers. I object to the term “looters” because I wonder who is looting whom, baby.

    Q. How would you define somebody who smashes in the window of a television store and takes what he wants?

    BALDWIN: Before I get to that, how would you define somebody who puts a cat where he is and takes all the money out of the ghetto where he makes it? Who is looting whom? Grabbing off the TV set? He doesn’t really want the TV set. He’s saying screw you. It’s just judgment, by the way, on the value of the TV set. He doesn’t want it. He wants to let you know he’s there. The question I’m trying to raise is a very serious question. The mass media-television and all the major news agencies-endlessly use that word “looter”. On television you always see black hands reaching in, you know. And so the American public concludes that these savages are trying to steal everything from us, And no one has seriously tried to get where the trouble is. After all, you’re accusing a captive population who has been robbed of everything of looting. I think it’s obscene.

    Q. Would you make a distinction between snipers, fire bombers and looters?

    BALDWIN: I’ve heard a lot of snipers, baby, and then you look at the death toll.

    Q. Very few white men, granted. But there have been a few.

    BALDWIN: I know who dies in the riots.

    Q. Well, several white people have died.

    BALDWIN: Several, yeah, baby, but do you know many Negroes have died?

    Q. Many more. But that’s why we’re talking about cooling it.

    BALDWIN: It is not the black people who have to cool it, because they won’t.

    Q. Aren’t they the one’s getting hurt the most, though?

    BALDWIN: That would depend on the point of view. You know, I’m not at all sure that we are the ones who are being hurt the most. In fact I’m sure we are not. We are the ones who are dying fastest. […]

    Q. Do you feel that there’s a conscious understanding of American imperialism by…

    BALDWIN: The Americans are not imperialists. According to them, they’re just nice guys. They’re just folks.

    Q. But we are talking about a form of imperialism…

    BALDWIN: We’re talking about the very last form of imperialism, you know—Western imperialism anyway— the world is going to see.

    Q. But do you feel the under class of black people, given an insufficient education, understands the specifies of this imperialism you describe?

    BALDWIN: We understand very much better than you think we do, and we understand it from letter we get from Vietnam.

    Q. Is there any white man who can…

    BALDWIN: White by the way is not a color, it’s an attitude. You’re as white as you think you are. It’s your choice.

    Q. Then black is a state of mind too?

    BALDWIN: No, black is a condition.

    Q. Who among the white community can talk to the black community and be accepted?

    BALDWIN: Anybody, who doesn’t think of himself as white. […]

    Q. Do you think the riots can be considered in another light than simply an outburst against the system? Are they possibly also, consciously or unconsciously, a struggle to bring to a culture purification by blood?

    BALDWIN: Well, that refers back to Thomas Jefferson, I think, who said, “I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just.”

    Q. He also said that the tree of liberty should be watered with blood…

    BALDWIN: The blood of tyrants. We call it riots, because they were black people. We wouldn’t call it riots if they were white people.

    Q. What does the death of Martin Luther King signify?

    BALDWIN: The abyss over which this country hovers now. It’s a very complicated question and the answer has to be very complicated question and the answer has to be very complicated too. What it means to the ghetto, what it means to the black people of this country, is that you could kill Martin, who was trying to save you, and you will face tremendous opposition from black people because you choose to consider, you know, the use of violence. If you can shoot Martin, you can shoot all of us. And there’s nothing in your record to indicate you won’t, or anything that would prevent you from doing it. That will be the beginning of the end, if you do, and that knowledge will be all that will hold your hand. Because one no longer believes, you see—I don’t any longer believe, and not many black people in this country can afford to believe— any longer a word you say. I don’t believe in the morality of this people at all. I don’t believe you do the right thing because you think it’s the right thing. I think you may be forced to do it because it will be the expedient thing. Which is good enough.

    I don’t think that the death of Martin Luther King means very much to any of those people in Washington. I don’t think they understand what happened at all. People like Governor Wallace and Mister Maddox certainly don’t. I would doubt very much if Ronald Reagan does. And that is of course where the problem lies, with the institutions we mentioned earlier. But to the black people in this country it means that you have declared war. You have declared war. That you do intend to slaughter us, that you intend to put us in concentration camps. After all, Martin’s assassination–whether it was done by one man or by a State Trooper, which is a possibility; or whether it was a conspiracy, which is also a possibility; after all I’m a fairly famous man too, and one doesn’t travel around—Martin certainly didn’t without the government being aware of every move he made— for this assassination I accuse the American people and all its representatives.

    For me, it’s been Medgar. Then Malcolm. Then Martin. And it’s same story. When Medgar was shot they arrested some lunatic in Mississippi, but I was in Mississippi, with Medgar, and you don’t need a lunatic in Mississippi to shoot a cat like Medgar Ever, you now, and the cat whoever he was, Byron de la Beckwith, slipped out of the back door of a nursing home and no one’s ever heard from him since. I won’t even discuss what happened to Malcolm, or all the ramifications of that. And now Martin’s dead. And every time, you know, including the time the President was murdered, everyone insisted it was the work of one lone madman; no one can face the fact that this madness has been created deliberately. Now Stokely will be shot presently. And whoever pulls that trigger will not have bought the bullet. It is the people and their representatives who are inciting to riot, not Stokely, not Martin, not Malcolm, not Medgar. And you will go on like this until you will find yourself in a place from which you can’t turn back, where indeed you may be already. So, if Martin’s death has reached the conscience of a nation, well then it’s a great moral triumph in the history of mankind, but it’s very unlikely that it has.

    Q. Some people have said that the instant canonization by white America is the cop-out…

    BALDWIN: It’s the proof of their guilt, and the proof of their relief. What they don’t know is that for every Martin they shoot there will be ten others. You already miss Malcolm and wish he were here. Because Malcolm was the only person who could help those kids in the ghetto. The only person.

    Q. I was just about to say, we white people…

    BALDWIN: … wished that Malcolm were here? But you, the white people, no matter how it was done actually, technically, you created the climate which forced him to die.

    Q. We have created a climate which has made political assassination acceptable…

    BALDWIN: … which made inevitable that death, and Medgar’s and Martin’s. And may make other deaths inevitable too, including mine. And all this in the name of freedom.

    Q. Do you think “cooling it” means accepting a culture within a culture, a black culture as separate?

    BALDWIN: You mean, white people cooling it?

    Q. Yes.

    BALDWIN: White people cooling it means a very simple thing. Black power frightens them. White power doesn’t frighten them. Stokely is not, you know, bombing a country out of existence. Nor menacing your children. White power is doing that. White people have to accept their history and their actual circumstances, and they won’t. Not without a miracle they won’t. Goodwill won’t do it. One’s got to face the fact that we police the globe–we, the Americans, police the globe for a very good reason. We, like the South African black miners, know exactly what they’re protecting when you talk about the free world.

    Q. Are there some viable black institutions that…

    BALDWIN: Why does a white country look to black institutions to save it?

    I must add, which I didn’t before, that this interview is from the ’60s. Which makes this next fragment make a lot more sense:

    Q. What kind of President should we have? Would a black President help?

    BALDWIN: You’re going to need somebody who is willing, first of all to break the stranglehold of what they call the two-party system. John Lewis was right on the day of the March on Washington, when he said we can’t join the Republican Party— look who that is made up of. We can’t join the Democratic Party— look who’s in that party. Where’s our party? What we need is somebody who can coalesce the energies in this country, which are now both black and white, into another party which can respond to the needs of the people. The Democratic Party cannot do it. Not as long as Senator Eastland is in it. I name him, to name but one. I certainly will never vote for a Republican as long as Nixon is in that party. You need someone who believes in this country, again, to begin to change it. And by the way, while we’re on this subject, on of the things we should do is cease protecting all those Texas oil millionaires who are one of the greatest menaces any civilization has ever seen. They have absolutely no brains, and a fantastic amount of money, fantastic amount of power, incredible power. And there’s nothing more dangerous than that kind of power in the hands of such ignorant men. And this is done with consent of the federal government.

    Q. Are there any natural allies for the black people?

    BALDWIN: We’re all under the same heel. I told you that before. We are all under the same heel. That’s why everyone was so shocked when Fidel Castro went to Harlem. They think Negroes are fools, as Langston Hughes put it once. Second-class fools as that.

    Q. You feel that any people who are oppressed outside the United States are natural allies for the black Americans?

    BALDWIN: Yes, From Cuba… to Angola. And don’t think the American government doesn’t know that. This government which is trying to free us is also determined we should never talk to each other. […]

    Q. So that when we come to you with the question, How do we cool it? All we’re asking is that same old question, What does the Negro want?

    BALDWIN: Yes. You’re asking me to help you save it.

    Q. Save ourselves?

    BALDWIN: Yes. But you have to do that.

    Q. Speaking strictly, from your point of view, how would you talk to an angry black man ready to tear up the town?

    BALDWIN: I only know angry black men. You mean, how would I talk to someone twenty years younger than I?

    Q. That’s right.

    BALDWIN: That would be very difficult to do. I’ve tried, and I try it, and I try it all the time. All I can tell him, really, is I’m with you, whatever that means. I’ll tell you what I can’t tell him. I can’t tell him to submit and let himself be slaughtered. I can’t tell him that he should not arm, because the white people are armed. I can’t tell him that he should not let anybody rape his sister, or his wife, or his mother. Because that’s where it’s at. And what I try to tell him, too, is if you’re ready to blow the cat’s head off—because it could come to that—try not to hate him, for the sake of your soul’s salvation and for no other reason. But let’s try to be better, let’s try—no matter what it costs us— to be better than they are. You haven’t got to hate them, though we do have to be free. It’s a waste of time to hate them.

  141. rq says

    Onwards! Things from here on in might get a bit backwards or temporally mixed up, as I didn’t arrange things as chronologically as I would have liked. And I kept some protest photos and such, just to show, but generally speaking I tried to be judicious in my selection of links so as not to overload…
    Joseph Kent, Baltimore man arrested on live TV, is released. But we knew that already (CNN link).

    Towson students going in. Recruiting for the 545 action at Penn Station #BaltimoreUprising

    Baltimore shows police killings America’s real state of emergency (CBC – I’ll be fishing there later, too, to see what comes up).

    Baltimore crackled with violence and rage this week. The governor declared a state of emergency and called in the National Guard after rioting erupted following the funeral of Freddie Gray, yet another black man who died in police custody.

    The times really haven’t changed so much. Gordon Lightfoot once wrote a famous song about another governor who did the same thing 48 years ago in Detroit.

    The public conversation isn’t much different, either.

    Liberals are worrying about what triggered the rioting (“…And they really know the reason, and it wasn’t just the temperature and it wasn’t just the season …”).

    Conservatives are pointing out the shameful looting and the rocks and fire, telling us we should be grateful we have brave police to stand between us and anarchy.

    Turning the tables

    But the reality the modern surveillance society is providing us is impossible to ignore.

    Just as the authorities use technology to collect unprecedented data on the citizenry, the citizenry is constantly crowdsourcing video evidence about the authorities, and it’s ugly.

    It used to be the cop’s word against the perp’s. Now it’s the cop’s word against clear video evidence, and the cop still usually prevails.

    In Baltimore, as is most often the case these days, bystanders recorded Freddie Gray’s takedown by police on their smartphones. Sometime afterward, his spine was nearly severed. He perished in hospital.

    But it’s improbable that anyone will answer for the killing — that’s what it was, after all — in a court of law.

    A recent investigation by the Washington Post and Bowling Green State University stated that of the “thousands of people” shot dead by police in America during the last decade, only 54 officers have been charged.

    And most of those who were charged were acquitted.

    The series examined cases ignored by the national media: a lot of them unarmed people shot at point-blank range. The officers involved always claimed they feared for their lives; juries almost always took their word, even when the victim was shot from behind, execution-style.

    The system doesn’t really want to document police crime; governments are for obvious reasons reluctant to keep statistics on such shootings (“not necessarily considered an offence”) and police close ranks. […]

    Stinson, a former officer himself, suggested that many of these police shootings are really “crimes of passion.”

    “They are used to giving commands and people obeying. They don’t like it when people don’t listen to them, and things can quickly become violent when people don’t follow their orders.”

    Today, though, even the conservative voices that have for so long defended law enforcement are wavering.

    Take some time and browse the libertarian Cato Institute’s online National Police Misconduct Reporting Project[link within].

    It’s a scholarly work, and evidence gathered is weighed carefully; in fact, the last full year for which they have issued a definitive report is 2010.

    That report identified 4,861 formal incidents of police misconduct involving 6,613 law enforcement officers and 247 civilian fatalities for that year alone.

    If just a fraction of those fatalities were criminal, then the inescapable conclusion is that more people have been murdered by police in America in the last 10 years than by terrorists.

    Of course, we are told, we don’t know how many terrorists have been thwarted by vigilant behind-the-scenes enforcement.

    Well, true. But given the minuscule number of prosecutions, let alone convictions, neither do we know how many of the people who are supposed to be guarding us have gotten away with murder.

    Another from CBC: Baltimore Orioles game to be 1st in MLB history without fans. Somehow I’m not realyl weeping.

    Across the street from Frederick Douglass High School in Baltimore. Yep, just across from the school. Of course, it’s right by Mondawmin mall, too.

    The acquittals of the four #LAPD officers who beat #RodneyKing happened at 3:15p on Apr. 29, 1992. #LosAngeles #SouthLA #NeverForget
    Keep that in mind as people celebrate charges against the six officers.

  142. rq says

    More old news: Latest on police-custody death: More protests in Ferguson. Just an update from April 30.

    Baltimore Residents Urged To Stay Indoors Until Social Progress Naturally Takes Its Course Over Next Century. Yep, that’s the Onion.

    Illinois teen admits plan to loot Ferguson, sell dozens of stolen guns to protesters.

    Dakota R. Moss, 19, and a juvenile used a stolen truck on Nov. 29 to ram their way through a fence outside the Buchheit farm and home store in Centralia, his plea documents say. They broke in and over a period of 80 minutes took 39 rifles, pistols and shotguns and at least 1,000 rounds of ammunition.

    They armed themselves with stolen guns “to use in the event that store personnel or police interrupted the burglary,” the documents say. They allegedly talked about taking the stolen guns to Ferguson to sell and loot stores, and also tried to find gun buyers locally.

    Note headline: they call him a teen. He’s fucking 19. Which means ‘teen’ is, yes, accurate. But how many black boys get labelled as adults when they’re 16, 17? This falls under #CrimingWhileWhite.

    Police in Baltimore fire pepper balls directly at press https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DVcoeI2YiF0&feature=youtu.be&a … No command to disperse can be heard in video. Yep, you can see the video at the link. Freedom of the press, indeed.

  143. rq says

    Amnesty International USA: Baltimore Police Must Exercise Restraint During Protests

    Following protests over the death of Baltimore resident Freddie Gray in police custody, Amnesty International USA Executive Director Steven W. Hawkins issued the following statement:

    “The police-related death of another young unarmed black man has understandably sparked anguish and protests in the streets of Baltimore this week. While we await the findings of a prompt, impartial and independent investigation into the death of Freddie Gray, we call on the Baltimore Police to exercise restraint during the protests, to prioritize non-violent means and only use force when absolutely unavoidable, in a manner designed to minimize injury.

    “The right to protest and peacefully assemble must be protected by law enforcement, not inhibited by intimidation and excessive force. Officers have the right to defend themselves and a duty to protect the safety of the public, but when confronting violence they must work in accordance with international standards governing the use of force. Large-scale use of tactics like tear gas and smoke bombs should not be used to quell acts of violence by a minority when the majority of protesters are non-violent. Such tactics will only lead to an escalation that places everyone at greater risk.

    “In too many cases, state laws governing the use of lethal force are overly broad and unclear, as they are in Missouri, or nonexistent, as they are in Maryland. There must be a statewide review of police policies to ensure that cases like Freddie Gray’s will not be repeated.”

    And Amnesty again: Amnesty International USA Sends Human Rights Observers to Baltimore.

    Amnesty International USA is sending a human rights observer delegation to Baltimore today to observe police and protester activity in the wake of the death of Freddie Gray in police custody. The delegation will be monitoring compliance with human rights standards for the policing of protests. […]

    On April 28, Amnesty International USA sent a letter to the Baltimore Police Department to express concern over the death of Freddie Gray and the use of tear gas at protests demanding accountability for his death.

    For a list of best practices on the policing of protests with respect for human rights, as identified by Amnesty International, please see the following: http://www.amnestyusa.org/pdfs/GoodPracticesForLawEnforcementForPolicingDemonstrations.pdf

    Gov suspends timely due process in criminal arraignments, citing executive privilege. #BaltimoreUprising @KeeganNYC There’s a link-within-the-link with text letter attached re: this. Executive privilege.

    .@wale w local gang leaders. “we could turn 1 of roughest cities in America & turn it into something positive”

    Protesting in a “PoliceState”: How to Stay Safe When Exercising Your Rights, pictures attached.

  144. rq says

    Anti-Oppression Clippy is back! That’s the one about quoting MLK out of context.

    Here’s Why I Need People To Stop Bringing Up Freddie Gray’s Arrest Record

    We’re sick and we’re tired, and so we fight. Protests in Baltimore began in the aftermath of Freddie’s funeral on Monday, but protests of a different kind have popped up on Facebook feeds and across the internet: people are protesting the idea that Freddie Gray was an innocent young man whose life ended prematurely and unjustly, and they are protesting this because… he had an arrest record.

    Listen.

    The word “innocent” has the strict legal definition it holds in the context of judicial proceedings, but it is also a word that has meaning in common conversation. Freddie Gray may have been arrested in the past, and indeed he was, mostly on drug charges related to marijuana, but in the context of dying at 25 at the hands of police, I am comfortable calling him both innocent and a victim.

    I said up front that I’m not a lawyer, but what I am, and what Freddie Gray was before he was killed, is black in America. Comparatively speaking, I enjoyed the relative geographic luxury of growing up in New York versus Freddie’s neighborhood of Sandtown-Winchester, the area of Baltimore where he lived his entire life. [..]

    I will not entertain conjecture or levy judgement about the details of Freddie Gray’s life that may have led to his arrests in the past, but since they are a matter of public record and are now being trumpeted as evidence of his lesser status by people who could only ever have seen him as less than, I will say this:

    If selling drugs deemed one deserving of death, a healthy amount of folks would be shot on sight, and if using illegal substances made a human being expendable, millions more of us would be gone. Myself included.

    Self-medication is real regardless of economic status, but there is a link between substance abuse and poverty. Also, survival by means that may be outside the law when avenues within the law are closed to you is very real for many people. I say this not to belabor the point of Freddie Gray’s arrests in a scurrilous way, but to remind those who do that they have no idea who he was outside of a rap sheet, nor can they even begin to understand why that rap sheet even exists.

    In more vulgar parlance, you don’t know Freddie Gray’s life so keep his fucking name out of your mouth unless it’s to pay your respects.

    The causality of that link between poverty and substance abuse, or associated illegal or illicit enterprises, is what the residents of ivory towers and the riders of high horses get consistently wrong. There is no inherent defect associated with being born black, poor, or both, but rather structural barriers in place in our country that must be broken down. With force.

    To look at Freddie Gray’s arrests, (not all of them prosecuted or convicted), and see only a “criminal” or a “thug” (light code for nigger) is to deny the context in which they took place, and context always matters. […]

    Inquiring minds who trust the police want to know, If you’re innocent, why would you run?

    If you’re black and innocent and have watched law enforcement officers avoid indictment and be hailed as heroes after forcefully taking black lives with impunity even when caught on camera, why wouldn’t you run?

    Regardless of the actual legal crime in question, we don’t get justice or taken alive; we face the death penalty daily for the perceived crime of being black in America.

    So when there is an actual criminal record to point to, too many will reach as far as they can to shine a light on it. But how many arrests does it take until a life doesn’t matter? What’s the secret formula? Is it two felonies and a misdemeanor? Would three arrests of any type but no jail time do the trick, or do we need to get into double digits? How about a thousand parking tickets? How many violations does it take to make someone a walking target for those who swore to protect and to serve?

    Even if each arrest had been completely justified and legally sound, which is highly doubtful, I see no record of a capital offense, so how dare anyone bring up his record as though it even remotely mitigates his death while in police custody?

    Freddie Gray’s death was, best case scenario, a highly suspicious and tragic loss while in the custody of law enforcement. At worst, it was an execution, extreme corporal punishment carried out illegally by the very enforcers of the law.

    @deray #BalitmoreUprising For the attached text. Teacher discusses Freddie Gray only when lone black student is not present. And the result is about what you would expect. *sigh*

    Ferguson! Shots, warnings of tear gas and protest return to Ferguson

    Police and protesters returned to West Florissant Avenue Tuesday night.

    People came together near the former Original Reds BBQ in Ferguson around 8 p.m., as demonstrations continued in Baltimore over the death of Freddie Gray. […]

    But while the early days of the demonstrations in Ferguson may have been intense, there were few gunshot injuries then. At least two people were shot Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning. A man was shot in the leg early on and the Post-Dispatch reported that police quickly took a suspect into custody. Around midnight, as most of the protesters were leaving the area, there were reports on Twitter of at least two volleys of gunfire, with one person shot.

    During the demonstrations, officers — reportedly from Ferguson, St. Louis County and the Highway Patrol — moved against those who had blocked the streets. At one point, according to photos and video on Twitter, protesters linked arms and faced off against the police.

    During the course of the night and early morning, police announced an unlawful assembly and said tear gas would be used. The announcement was apparently in accordance with a court decision requiring warning before the use of chemical agents.

    It was after the warnings, as much of the crowd was said to be dispersing, that the second person was shot. Reports of someone “emptying a clip” or “shooting into the air” were seen several minutes before tweets went out about more shots and a person hit.

    And it’s the end of April. Summer is still ahead.

    Even the City of Ferguson thought last night was August all over again… Attached picture of a letter sent out, with the date as Tuesday, August 28. …

    Why is America celebrating the beating of a black child? Because this is what America does.

    It’s not surprising that a black mother in Baltimore who chased down, cursed and beat her 16-year-old son in the middle of a riot has been called a hero. In this country, when black mothers fulfill stereotypes of mammies, angry and thwarting resistance to a system designed to kill their children, they get praised.

    “He gave me eye contact,” Toya Graham told CBS News. “And at that point, you know, not even thinking about cameras or anything like that — that’s my only son and at the end of the day, I don’t want him to be a Freddie Gray. Is he the perfect boy? No he’s not, but he’s mine.”

    In other words, Graham’s message to America is: I will teach my black son not to resist white supremacy so he can live.

    The kind of violent discipline Graham unleashed on her son did not originate with her, or with my adoptive mother who publicly beat me when I was a child, or with the legions of black parents who equate pain with protection and love. The beatings originated with white supremacy, a history of cultural and physical violence that devalues black life at every turn. From slavery through Jim Crow, from the school-to-prison pipeline, the innocence and protection of black children has always been a dream deferred.

    The problem is that Graham’s actions do not assure that her son, and legions like him, will survive childhood. Recall the uncle who in 2011 posted a video recording of himself beating his teenage nephew for posting gang messages on Facebook. Acting out of love and fear for his life, he whipped the teen, but months later he was found dead anyway.

    Praising Graham distracts from a hard truth: It doesn’t matter how black children behave – whether they throw rocks at the police, burn a CVS, join gangs, walk home from the store with candy in their pocket, listen to rap music in a car with friends, play with a toy gun in a park, or simply make eye contact with a police officer – they risk being killed and blamed for their own deaths because black youths are rarely viewed as innocent or worthy of protection.

    If there were an easy way to keep black children safe from police, out of prisons, morgues and graves, we would not have spent the past three years in an almost endless cycle of grieving the loss of young black people: Trayvon Martin, Renisha McBride, Rekia Boyd, Jordan Davis, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Freddie Gray and . . . and . . . and . . . The list is too long to fit into my word count.

    This celebration of Graham reflects a belief that black youths are inherently problematic, criminal and out of control. The video also supports the idea that black fathers are absent, suggesting that all we need is an angry black mom to beat the “thug” out of an angry young man – and everything will be fine.

    What is so disturbing is that white supremacy is let off the hook. A militarized and racist police force is not the problem. Systemic racism — from the War on Drugs to racial profiling, from hyper segregation to community divestment — is not the issue. The message becomes: Black children’s behavior is the true enemy of peace.

    This distracting conversation turns the spotlight back to black youth. If only Freddie hadn’t run; if only his parents had beaten him; if only he was perfect, maybe he would still be with us. And the praise of Graham reflects a belief shared across race lines that beating black children is the only way to keep them safe from the dangers of a racist society, or from stepping out of line. Rather than embracing her son Michael, rather than hearing and seeing his pain and assuring him that she’s got his back, Graham beat and shamed him in front of the world.

    The public shaming and devaluing of black children has a long heritage. On Nov. 8, 1893, the Anderson Intelligencer, a South Carolina newspaper, reported that a black boy was caught stealing a lunch that had been left inside of a horse buggy. The locals tied the boy up in a stall and called his mother. Upon her arrival, the 200-pound mom was told of the trouble her son made. She then exclaimed, “Dar now, told you so, tank de good Lord I dun got you dis time. I bin trying to git hold of you for six munts and you git away from me ebery time. Bit I got you now, tank de Lord.”

    The mother asked for a whip or cowhide, but was given a buggy trace. She stripped her son’s pants, bent him over a cross bar and beat him. The reporter noted, “Those licks and those yells were awful to hear and awfuller to behold.” And then the mother “lynched him while other humane gentlemen looked on and approved. That darkey will never steal another lunch from that stable nor any other stable.”

    While Graham did not literally lynch her son Michael, she metaphorically strung him up for the world to see — in hopes of keeping him alive. We can all appreciate the pain and fear in her cry that “I don’t want my son to be a Freddie Gray.” This is every black mother’s cry heard over hundreds of years in America. From the plantation moms who whipped their kids so white masters and overseers wouldn’t more harshly do the same, to the parents during Jim Crow who beat their children to keep them safe from the Klan and lynch mobs, these beatings are the acts of a people so desperate and helpless, so terrorized and enraged, that heaping pain upon their children actually seems like a sane and viable act of parental protection. […]

    Where is celebration of moms whose children have been at the forefront of peaceful protests? Where is the celebration of black mothers and fathers who have been organizing against police violence, against food injustice, and against the violence and looting in Baltimore and beyond? The history of the civil rights movement is one of parents and children joining together on the front lines of the struggle for justice, not one of black parents beating their children. Yet this is the image captivating the nation.

    What’s most tragic is that Graham said that she unleashed on her son after making eye contact with him on the street. Tragically, Freddie Gray’s offense that led to his killing was that he made eye contact with police. A look from and the mere presence of black bodies leads to violence and death, and that is the real crime, which no amount of shaming or corporal punishment will fix.

  145. rq says

    Anti-Oppression Clippy is back! That’s the one about quoting MLK out of context.

    Here’s Why I Need People To Stop Bringing Up Freddie Gray’s Arrest Record

    We’re sick and we’re tired, and so we fight. Protests in Baltimore began in the aftermath of Freddie’s funeral on Monday, but protests of a different kind have popped up on Facebook feeds and across the internet: people are protesting the idea that Freddie Gray was an innocent young man whose life ended prematurely and unjustly, and they are protesting this because… he had an arrest record.

    Listen.

    The word “innocent” has the strict legal definition it holds in the context of judicial proceedings, but it is also a word that has meaning in common conversation. Freddie Gray may have been arrested in the past, and indeed he was, mostly on drug charges related to marijuana, but in the context of dying at 25 at the hands of police, I am comfortable calling him both innocent and a victim.

    I said up front that I’m not a lawyer, but what I am, and what Freddie Gray was before he was killed, is black in America. Comparatively speaking, I enjoyed the relative geographic luxury of growing up in New York versus Freddie’s neighborhood of Sandtown-Winchester, the area of Baltimore where he lived his entire life. [..]

    I will not entertain conjecture or levy judgement about the details of Freddie Gray’s life that may have led to his arrests in the past, but since they are a matter of public record and are now being trumpeted as evidence of his lesser status by people who could only ever have seen him as less than, I will say this:

    If selling drugs deemed one deserving of death, a healthy amount of folks would be shot on sight, and if using illegal substances made a human being expendable, millions more of us would be gone. Myself included.

    Self-medication is real regardless of economic status, but there is a link between substance abuse and poverty. Also, survival by means that may be outside the law when avenues within the law are closed to you is very real for many people. I say this not to belabor the point of Freddie Gray’s arrests in a scurrilous way, but to remind those who do that they have no idea who he was outside of a rap sheet, nor can they even begin to understand why that rap sheet even exists.

    In more vulgar parlance, you don’t know Freddie Gray’s life so keep his fucking name out of your mouth unless it’s to pay your respects.

    The causality of that link between poverty and substance abuse, or associated illegal or illicit enterprises, is what the residents of ivory towers and the riders of high horses get consistently wrong. There is no inherent defect associated with being born black, poor, or both, but rather structural barriers in place in our country that must be broken down. With force.

    To look at Freddie Gray’s arrests, (not all of them prosecuted or convicted), and see only a “criminal” or a “thug” (light code for n*gg*r) is to deny the context in which they took place, and context always matters. […]

    Inquiring minds who trust the police want to know, If you’re innocent, why would you run?

    If you’re black and innocent and have watched law enforcement officers avoid indictment and be hailed as heroes after forcefully taking black lives with impunity even when caught on camera, why wouldn’t you run?

    Regardless of the actual legal crime in question, we don’t get justice or taken alive; we face the death penalty daily for the perceived crime of being black in America.

    So when there is an actual criminal record to point to, too many will reach as far as they can to shine a light on it. But how many arrests does it take until a life doesn’t matter? What’s the secret formula? Is it two felonies and a misdemeanor? Would three arrests of any type but no jail time do the trick, or do we need to get into double digits? How about a thousand parking tickets? How many violations does it take to make someone a walking target for those who swore to protect and to serve?

    Even if each arrest had been completely justified and legally sound, which is highly doubtful, I see no record of a capital offense, so how dare anyone bring up his record as though it even remotely mitigates his death while in police custody?

    Freddie Gray’s death was, best case scenario, a highly suspicious and tragic loss while in the custody of law enforcement. At worst, it was an execution, extreme corporal punishment carried out illegally by the very enforcers of the law.

    @deray #BalitmoreUprising For the attached text. Teacher discusses Freddie Gray only when lone black student is not present. And the result is about what you would expect. *sigh*

    Ferguson! Shots, warnings of tear gas and protest return to Ferguson

    Police and protesters returned to West Florissant Avenue Tuesday night.

    People came together near the former Original Reds BBQ in Ferguson around 8 p.m., as demonstrations continued in Baltimore over the death of Freddie Gray. […]

    But while the early days of the demonstrations in Ferguson may have been intense, there were few gunshot injuries then. At least two people were shot Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning. A man was shot in the leg early on and the Post-Dispatch reported that police quickly took a suspect into custody. Around midnight, as most of the protesters were leaving the area, there were reports on Twitter of at least two volleys of gunfire, with one person shot.

    During the demonstrations, officers — reportedly from Ferguson, St. Louis County and the Highway Patrol — moved against those who had blocked the streets. At one point, according to photos and video on Twitter, protesters linked arms and faced off against the police.

    During the course of the night and early morning, police announced an unlawful assembly and said tear gas would be used. The announcement was apparently in accordance with a court decision requiring warning before the use of chemical agents.

    It was after the warnings, as much of the crowd was said to be dispersing, that the second person was shot. Reports of someone “emptying a clip” or “shooting into the air” were seen several minutes before tweets went out about more shots and a person hit.

    And it’s the end of April. Summer is still ahead.

    Even the City of Ferguson thought last night was August all over again… Attached picture of a letter sent out, with the date as Tuesday, August 28. …

    Why is America celebrating the beating of a black child? Because this is what America does.

    It’s not surprising that a black mother in Baltimore who chased down, cursed and beat her 16-year-old son in the middle of a riot has been called a hero. In this country, when black mothers fulfill stereotypes of mammies, angry and thwarting resistance to a system designed to kill their children, they get praised.

    “He gave me eye contact,” Toya Graham told CBS News. “And at that point, you know, not even thinking about cameras or anything like that — that’s my only son and at the end of the day, I don’t want him to be a Freddie Gray. Is he the perfect boy? No he’s not, but he’s mine.”

    In other words, Graham’s message to America is: I will teach my black son not to resist white supremacy so he can live.

    The kind of violent discipline Graham unleashed on her son did not originate with her, or with my adoptive mother who publicly beat me when I was a child, or with the legions of black parents who equate pain with protection and love. The beatings originated with white supremacy, a history of cultural and physical violence that devalues black life at every turn. From slavery through Jim Crow, from the school-to-prison pipeline, the innocence and protection of black children has always been a dream deferred.

    The problem is that Graham’s actions do not assure that her son, and legions like him, will survive childhood. Recall the uncle who in 2011 posted a video recording of himself beating his teenage nephew for posting gang messages on Facebook. Acting out of love and fear for his life, he whipped the teen, but months later he was found dead anyway.

    Praising Graham distracts from a hard truth: It doesn’t matter how black children behave – whether they throw rocks at the police, burn a CVS, join gangs, walk home from the store with candy in their pocket, listen to rap music in a car with friends, play with a toy gun in a park, or simply make eye contact with a police officer – they risk being killed and blamed for their own deaths because black youths are rarely viewed as innocent or worthy of protection.

    If there were an easy way to keep black children safe from police, out of prisons, morgues and graves, we would not have spent the past three years in an almost endless cycle of grieving the loss of young black people: Trayvon Martin, Renisha McBride, Rekia Boyd, Jordan Davis, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Freddie Gray and . . . and . . . and . . . The list is too long to fit into my word count.

    This celebration of Graham reflects a belief that black youths are inherently problematic, criminal and out of control. The video also supports the idea that black fathers are absent, suggesting that all we need is an angry black mom to beat the “thug” out of an angry young man – and everything will be fine.

    What is so disturbing is that white supremacy is let off the hook. A militarized and racist police force is not the problem. Systemic racism — from the War on Drugs to racial profiling, from hyper segregation to community divestment — is not the issue. The message becomes: Black children’s behavior is the true enemy of peace.

    This distracting conversation turns the spotlight back to black youth. If only Freddie hadn’t run; if only his parents had beaten him; if only he was perfect, maybe he would still be with us. And the praise of Graham reflects a belief shared across race lines that beating black children is the only way to keep them safe from the dangers of a racist society, or from stepping out of line. Rather than embracing her son Michael, rather than hearing and seeing his pain and assuring him that she’s got his back, Graham beat and shamed him in front of the world.

    The public shaming and devaluing of black children has a long heritage. On Nov. 8, 1893, the Anderson Intelligencer, a South Carolina newspaper, reported that a black boy was caught stealing a lunch that had been left inside of a horse buggy. The locals tied the boy up in a stall and called his mother. Upon her arrival, the 200-pound mom was told of the trouble her son made. She then exclaimed, “Dar now, told you so, tank de good Lord I dun got you dis time. I bin trying to git hold of you for six munts and you git away from me ebery time. Bit I got you now, tank de Lord.”

    The mother asked for a whip or cowhide, but was given a buggy trace. She stripped her son’s pants, bent him over a cross bar and beat him. The reporter noted, “Those licks and those yells were awful to hear and awfuller to behold.” And then the mother “lynched him while other humane gentlemen looked on and approved. That d*rkey will never steal another lunch from that stable nor any other stable.”

    While Graham did not literally lynch her son Michael, she metaphorically strung him up for the world to see — in hopes of keeping him alive. We can all appreciate the pain and fear in her cry that “I don’t want my son to be a Freddie Gray.” This is every black mother’s cry heard over hundreds of years in America. From the plantation moms who whipped their kids so white masters and overseers wouldn’t more harshly do the same, to the parents during Jim Crow who beat their children to keep them safe from the Klan and lynch mobs, these beatings are the acts of a people so desperate and helpless, so terrorized and enraged, that heaping pain upon their children actually seems like a sane and viable act of parental protection. […]

    Where is celebration of moms whose children have been at the forefront of peaceful protests? Where is the celebration of black mothers and fathers who have been organizing against police violence, against food injustice, and against the violence and looting in Baltimore and beyond? The history of the civil rights movement is one of parents and children joining together on the front lines of the struggle for justice, not one of black parents beating their children. Yet this is the image captivating the nation.

    What’s most tragic is that Graham said that she unleashed on her son after making eye contact with him on the street. Tragically, Freddie Gray’s offense that led to his killing was that he made eye contact with police. A look from and the mere presence of black bodies leads to violence and death, and that is the real crime, which no amount of shaming or corporal punishment will fix.

  146. rq says

    Food Station. Organized Struggle. #BaltimoreUprising Does this get into mainstream media?
    #BaltimoreUprising See photos of peaceful protest.
    .@MayorSRB This mayor stands by while the governor suspends due process for those arrested. #BaltimoreUprising Attached letter reads:

    On April 27th, 2015, I declared by Executive Order 01.01.2015.16 that a State of Emergency exists in Baltimore City. By virtue of the authority vested in me by Title 14 of the Public Safety Article, including Section [numbers], I am suspending the effect of Maryland Rule [number], which requires individuals arrested without warrants to be taken before a Judicial Officer of the District Court within twenty-four (24) hours of arrest. This exercise of my authority is necessary to protect the public safety and to address the more than 200 arrests that were made by Baltimore Police Department and other law enforcement officers during the civil unrest in Baltimore City. The suspension of Rule [number] will remain in effect for twenty-three (23) hours as it applies to each person subject to the rule, allowing for individuals to be taken before a judicial official of the District Court no later than forty-seven (47) hours following arrest.

    Tpyos and mistypings all mine, most likely. It was very tiny type.

    Protest. Penn Station. #BaltimoreUprising

    Grammar 101: Understanding Uprisings as Predicates of Racism

    We need to go back to the basics. We can’t understand the meaning of a sentence by only looking at the predicate, or verb. We have to know what the sentence is about—the “subject.” Similarly, our understanding of the uprisings in Baltimore, St. Louis, Oakland is thin and lacking if we don’t know what they are about. The “subject” is racism.

    Subject: the noun or pronoun that a sentence is about

    Racism destroys.

    Predicate: the verb or part of a sentence stating something about the subject

    Racism destroys.

    Direct object: a noun or pronoun that received the action of an action verb

    Racism unchecked incites riots.

    Subject complement: is linked to the subject by a linking verb

    Racism is destructive.

    Destruction is a byproduct of racism. Therefore, shaming individuals for being destructive fails to acknowledge the context. If my five year old has a tantrum, it does me little good to simply shame his behavior. Sure, that will quiet him and save both of us public embarrassment, but if I want to get to the root of the problem, I have to know what the tantrum is about. Did someone harm him? Taunt him? Does he need a nap? Only in the context of understanding the subject of his fit can I help. More dramatically, if we hear about a young man shooting his father, we could focus on throwing the book at him and trying him as an adult for his intentional act of murder. But that’s simply focusing on the predicate, the action. Might you feel differently about this young man if you knew the subject—or what it’s all about—is that his father violently abused him, his sister and his mother over the course of his lifetime, constantly threatening their lives if they told? You might at least understand the predicate—shooting his father—in a different way. The subject matters. It gives context, and if you allow it, provides clues on what the next sentence could or should be.

    In the context of the call for nonviolence in Baltimore Ta-Nehisi Coates brilliantly responds, “When nonviolence begins halfway through the war with the aggressor calling time out, it exposes itself as a ruse.” It’s simply dishonorable. And calling out this double standard does not excuse violence, but it certainly helps us understand where it is coming from.

    If you are outraged by the outrage, focus your energy on dismantling racism. It is unfair and inaccurate to only focus on instances of rioting and fail to name the context. The subject is racism. Honest conversation about why we have a culture of policing that so consistently uses excessive force towards Black bodies is linked to our country’s history of racism. The coded language we use to not talk about race is linked to our fumbled attempts to appear less racist yet still perpetuates racism. The media’s inability to see itself and the disparate way it covers violence on the basis of race is rooted in racism.

    Racism destroys. It destroys relationships, connection and progress. It has stunted the growth of our nation. And if we fail to learn the lessons now, we will be in this same predicament 40-50 years from now.

    It’s as basic as the grammar lessons we learned as children. We will be doomed to fumble with where things go and what they mean unless we acknowledge what they are about. At the present moment, too many are focused on the predicate and are missing, ignoring, or refusing to acknowledge the subject.

  147. rq says

    NY Times article here to which I may not go because I am not subscribed. About Freddie Gray’s autopsy report being given to Baltimore prosecutors.
    Also, getting to the point where the officers were charged, so again, warning for repeating information both on that, and Mosby. And so.

    The truth about Freddie Gray’s ‘pre-existing injury from car accident’

    Online reports are swirling that Freddie Gray had spinal surgery shortly before he died in police custody, and had collected a payout in a settlement from a car accident. Those reports — which raise questions about the injury that led to his death in April 19 — point to Howard County court records as proof.

    [photo caption]For reasons not yet known, a member of central booking videotapes people who are released from central booking as the sun sets. Over 100 people, some claiming to be held for up to three days, level claims of extreme conditions they experienced since being arrested during protests and uprisings since six officers confronted and then placed Freddie Gray into custody on April 12, eventually resulting in the death of the 25-year-old West Baltimore resident seven days later.[/caption]

    But court records examined Wednesday by The Baltimore Sun show the case had nothing to do with a car accident or a spine injury. Instead, they are connected to a lawsuit alleging that Gray and his sister were injured by exposure to lead paint.

    Paperwork was filed in December allowing Gray and his sister, Fredericka to each collect an $18,000 payment from Peachtree Settlement Funding, records show. In exchange, Peachtree would have received a $108,439 annuity that was scheduled to be paid in $602 monthly installments between 2024 and 2039.

    In her documents, Fredericka Gray checked “other” when asked to describe the type of accident. She also said that the date of the accident was “94/99” and that she was a minor when the case was settled.

    In his documents, Freddie Gray checked “work injury, medical malpractice and auto accident” as the type of accident. When asked to explain, he also wrote something that is unreadable. He also wrote something unreadable when asked if he was a minor when the case was settled.

    Both cases were filed at the same time by a New Jersey law firm.
    We have no information or evidence at this point to indicate that there is a prior pre-existing spinal injury. It’s a rumor. –

    A judge dismissed the case on April 2 when neither Gray nor his sister appeared in court, records show.

    Gray’s death has sparked more than a week of protests in Baltimore including some that turned violent and led to looting.

    Baltimore attorney William H. “Billy” Murphy, who represents the Gray family, confirmed that the Howard County case was connected to the lead paint lawsuit.

    Jason Downs, an attorney who is with Murphy’s firm and represents one of Gray’s relatives, said, “We have no information or evidence at this point to indicate that there is a prior pre-existing spinal injury. It’s a rumor.”

    A 2006 injury case listed in online Maryland court records lists Freddie Gray as a plaintiff, but Downs said that case involves his father, who shares the same name.

    As children, Gray and his two sisters were found to have damaging lead levels in their blood, which led to educational, behavioral and medical problems, according to a lawsuit they filed in 2008 against the owner of a Sandtown-Winchester home the family rented for four years.

    While the property owner countered in the suit that other factors could have contributed to the children’s deficits — including poverty and their mother’s drug use — the case was settled before going to trial in 2010. The terms of the settlement are not public.

    Baltimore imposes bail bonds of half a million dollars in legal crackdown. These numbers hae already been brought up in comparison with bail set for the officers, so I won’t quote in depth.

    Seddiq said alleged first-time offenders, including one minor, were being held unless they could pay an entire $10,000 bond in cash – practically unheard of in a city where defendants pay deposits upfront and use loans from bondsmen.

    The attorney said three of Baltimore city’s district courts – which would ordinarily have shared the load of cases – were closed for no apparent reason. She reacted angrily to Hogan’s unilateral interference in detention-without-charge rules.

    “The fact they have rescinded this rule, which was introduced specifically to protect citizens from being screwed over, is insane,” she said. “But it’s business as usual for Baltimore. The justice system in this city is broken. This situation to me is the story of how Baltimore works.”

    The vast majority of arrests on Monday night had not been accompanied by police reports meaning no charges had been placed, further complicating the processing the hundreds of people detained. The backlog has been exacerbated by the unexplained closure of three of the city’s four district courts. By around midday Wednesday only 22 of those arrested on Monday had presented for bail hearings, a criminal attorney said.

    The attorney said that the sheer volume of arrests had resulted in severe overcrowding at the Baltimore city detention center, where an entire floor had to be cleared to house those detained for rioting.

    Several public defenders in the city said they planned to challenge Hogan’s decision to overrule habeas corpus law, which states that suspects will “in no event” be held for longer than 24 hours.

    Six Baltimore police officers charged in Freddie Gray’s death (Baltimore Sun);
    Six Baltimore Police Officers Charged in Freddie Gray Death (Wall Street Journal).

    Beyond Hashtag Activism

    If you’ve heard of Joseph Kent, you probably only learned his name in the last couple of days. Late Tuesday night, a CNN camera caught a spooky video of Kent being arrested in Baltimore: As Kent walked in the street, a humvee drove between him and the camera, just as a line of police lunged at the young man. Then he wasn’t heard from again for 24 hours. Talib Kweli tweeted a demand to know where he was, and Kent’s name trended on Twitter. Dark conspiracy theories suggested he’d been kidnapped or disappeared.

    It turned out that Kent, a 21-year-old student at Morgan State University in Baltimore, was waiting in a holding cell in the city jail. The facility was so crowded with people swept up by police during unrest that he hadn’t been booked, which meant his name wasn’t in the jail’s system yet and so no one could find him. His attorney, Steve Beatty, was able to locate him Wednesday and to get him released on his own recognizance that night.

    Kent is, in fact, more easily recognizable in Baltimore. City Paper, the local alternative weekly, profiled him in November 2014, in a piece about how the aftermath of Michael Brown’s shooting in Ferguson, Missouri, was creating a new cohort of civic leaders. Reporter Baynard Woods recounted Kent maintaining peace during a tense situation, near the end of a march in Baltimore protesting a grand jury’s decision not to charge Officer Darren Wilson for Michael Brown’s death:

    “We been peaceful all day, and now everybody want to show your ass,” Joseph Kent, a 21-year-old student from Morgan State University, said from the center of the crowd near the end of Tuesday’s protests over the grand jury decision in Ferguson, Missouri. “We’re not here for that.”

    Kent says he was again trying to keep the peace when he was arrested Tuesday. His attorney, Steve Beatty, told me on Thursday that the only charge pending was for one count of violating curfew, a misdemeanor. “I’ve read it a couple times; I don’t even see a penalty in it,” he said. Beatty believes the media attention helped Kent get out of jail faster, noting that other people arrested in the protests had their bail set at unusually high levels—$500,000 or $750,000—in contrast to Kent’s release on self-recognizance.

    “I don’t think he’s ever been arrested before,” Beatty said. “He led the charge in keeping the Ferguson protests peaceful.” In fact, Kent was back out on the streets Thursday, leading a march from City Hall to the Penn North area.

    Kent’s role in the marches shows the way that Ferguson has created a new group of leaders across the country dedicated to civil rights and pushing back against police. While the national attention paid to Ferguson was astonishing, critics complained that it was little more than “hashtag activism”: People could express their support from the comfortable distance of a computer, retweeting sympathetic messages without ever having to buy in. And once the marches for Michael Brown died down, where would those people go? Would they simply lose interest and move on, leaving the movement to sputter?

    One of the most prominent activists to emerge from Ferguson was DeRay McKesson, at the time a school administrator in Minnesota who traveled to Ferguson to take part in protests and was also extremely active in social-media networking. (He has since quit his job and moved to St. Louis.) In an Atlantic interview with Noah Berlatsky, McKesson pushed back on the claim that what was happening was mere hashtag activism.

    “What is different about Ferguson, or what is important about Ferguson, is that the movement began with regular people,” McKesson said. “There was no Martin, there was no Malcolm, there was no NAACP, it wasn’t the Urban League. People came together who didn’t necessarily know each other, but knew what they were experiencing was wrong …. And Twitter allowed that to happen.”

    Even if it just seemed like people chatting online, that effort would pay dividends later, he argued: “Twitter has enabled us to create community. I think the phase we’re in is a community-building phase. Yes, we need to address policy, yes, we need to address elections; we need to do all those things. But on the heels of building a strong community.”

    The marches in Baltimore and elsewhere are at least preliminary vindication of that claim. McKesson, who is from the area and lived in Baltimore for years, has been in the city for the protests. […]

    As marchers took to the streets of other cities around the nation on Wednesday night, the names of the organizers were familiar as people who have been leading protests since Michael Brown’s death. In Boston, Brock Satter organized a march Wednesday night; he previously helped put together a Martin Luther King Day march and a New Year’s Eve die-in. Umaara Elliott, a New York teenager who co-organized Millions March NYC in December, was out marching Wednesday as well.

    These continuities suggest a real network of organizers around the country who can turn people out into the streets, not just inspire them to retweet. Sadly, there seems to be no end in sight to the deaths of young black men at the hands of the police, which will likely provide plenty of additional tests of the movement’s ability to cohere. As for Joseph Kent, his lawyer said he was planning national media interviews for Thursday evening, but his client wasn’t as excited about that as he was about getting back out on the protest lines.

    “You’d think for a 21-year-old kid, getting on TV would be his priority,” Beatty chuckled. Instead, he was out marching. “He remains resolved in his dedication to peaceful protest and he hopes other will follow his lead.”

    Side link there titled ‘Baltimore Riot Didn’t Have to Happen’. Might be of interest.

    May we protect Marilyn Mosby and her family for speaking against police and holding them accountable. Im SURE death threats will pursue.

  148. rq says

    168 in moderation. Some kind of record here.
    Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby Is an Instant Political Sensation

    Marilyn Mosby, the Maryland state’s attorney for Baltimore, announced Friday that her office had charged six police officers in Freddie Gray’s death. Mosby now becomes a, perhaps the, focal figure in the biggest ongoing news story in the United States, and the content and delivery of her speech announcing the charges—as well as her star-on-the-rise backstory—suggest she is eager for the challenge.

    Mosby, 35, was elected to her office and sworn in this January; she’s reportedly the youngest top major-city prosecutor in the United States. A Boston native, she met her husband—Baltimore City Councilman Nick Mosby, described Thursday as a rising star himself by NPR—as an undergrad at Tuskegee University in Alabama before attending Boston College Law School. She worked as an assistant state’s attorney in Baltimore from 2006 to 2011 before becoming a “field counsel” for Liberty Mutual insurance.

    This January a Baltimore magazine interview discussed Mosby’s belief in the importance of trust between law enfrcement officials and the communities they serve, a theme she also spoke about in her forceful and often eloquent Friday press conference. Here’s the full video thereof:

    After describing her office’s version of Gray’s treatment—in summary, she said officers negligently failed to buckle him in the police van in which he was being transported and then repeatedly ignored clear evidence of a medical emergency after he was hurt—Mosby began speaking more broadly, alluding to the common “no justice, no peace” chant of civil rights protesters.

    Her words:

    To the people of Baltimore and the demonstrators across America: I heard your call for “no justice, no peace.” Your peace is sincerely needed as I work to deliver justice on behalf of this young man. To those that are angry, hurt, or have their own experiences of injustice at the hands of police officers, I urge you to channel the energy peacefully as we prosecute this case.

    That “no justice, no peace” reference, not surprisingly, has already been criticized by a Fox News host. (On the other side of the aisle, the Huffington Post called her “objectively badass.”)

    Mosby also spoke about her family’s history in police work, perhaps as a response to potential pushback against her move to charge the officers—pushback that has already begun via a police union open letter that calls for the appointment of an independent special prosecutor in the case, noting Mosby’s connections to Gray family attorney William Murphy, who donated to her campaign and advised her during her transition into the prosecutor’s office.

    Her words:

    To the rank and file officers of the Baltimore city police department—please know that these accusations of these six officers are not an indictment on the entire force. I come from five generations of law enforcement. My father was an officer. My mother was an officer. Several of my aunts and uncles. My recently departed and beloved grandfather was one of the founding members of the first black police organization in Massachusetts. I can tell you that the actions of these officers will not and shoudl not in any way damage the important working relationships between police and prosecutors as we continue to work together to reduce crime in Baltimore.

    And she closed her remarks with a statement directed to “the youth of this city.”

    Said Mosby:

    To the youth of this city—I will seek justice on your behalf. This is a moment. This is your moment. Let’s ensure that we have peaceful and productive rallies that will develop structural and systemic changes for generations to come. You’re at the forefront of this cause. And as young people, our time is now.

    Much remains to be done in the case of Freddie Gray’s death, and the response by the accused, their attorneys, and their supporters will no doubt be substantial and immediate. For better or for worse, Marilyn Mosby’s time is now.

    I believe there’s a transcript available upstream, so I won’t be quoting much from her initial press conference anymore.

    The woman who just vowed to deliver justice to Baltimore.

    Lots of politicians promise change, but few deliver as aggressively as Mosby did just after taking office. She cleaned house of many of the city’s veteran prosecutors — part of her campaign vowed to end the comfy relationship between police and the prosecutor’s office. Those she didn’t fire, had already left, abandoning ship just after she was elected.

    She is black, and a woman. I wonder how many racist-misogynists she got rid of? (And no, this isn’t to say she is perfect, but initial signs point to ‘Positive’.

    these guys really just threatened Marilyn Mosby’s husband. Attached is an open letter from the Fraternal Order of Police, moaning about due process (uh, isn’t that what this is?), but the type is really small so I’m hoping for someone else’s sacrifice somewhere later in these tabs. But you can imagine.

    Morgan Freeman: Unrest in Baltimore exposed ‘the terrorism we suffer from the police’. I believe already seen elsewhere.

    And the killings go on.
    #AlexiaChristian, 26, killed by Atlanta police on 4/30.
    How can you shoot 3 shots at an officer in the front seat of a police car when #AlexiaChristian was handcuffed w/her hands2 the back? @deray

  149. rq says

    Man who shot Freddie Gray arrest video: “I finally made a difference”

    Kevin Moore, who shot video of Freddie Gray’s arrest, said he feels he “finally made a difference in the world.”

    Video at the link, unsure about a transcript.

    Audio interview: Exclusive: Activist DeRay McKesson Weighs In on Baltimore Arrests with Emma Bracy & Mtali Banda

    And the Baltimore Police Union (@FOP3) has started a GoFundMe for the officers who killed #FreddieGray, which got shut down, so they went to IndieGoGo.

    We are marching with heavy police escort #M1Chi #Mayday #Chicago May Day.

    Freddie Gray charges: what is ‘depraved heart murder’? Probable repost. So only this:

    The Legal Information Institute, part of Cornell University Law School, describes the charge as “killing someone in a way that demonstrates callous disregard for the value of human life.

    “For example, if a person intentionally fires a gun into a crowded room, and someone dies, the person could be convicted of depraved heart murder.”

    Another way of putting it is “wanton indifference to the consequences and perils” of a “reckless act”, as judge Charles Moylan Jr wrote in 1981. Moylan added that depraved heart murder “is just as blameworthy, and just as worthy of punishment, when the harmful result ensues, as is the express intent to kill itself”.

    “Wanton” is also the key word used by judge Alan Wilner in 1991, who wrote: “The conduct must contain an element of viciousness or contemptuous disregard for the value of human life which conduct characterizes that behavior as wanton.”

    Solidarity with #BaltimoreUprising from Greece. #FreddyGray @Nettaaaaaaaa @deray See photo.

  150. rq says

    Again, global reach – ‘Baltimore Is Here’: Ethiopian Israelis protest police brutality in Jerusalem





    Ethiopian Israelis took to the streets of Jerusalem on the evening of April 30 to protest police brutality and systemic racism. Haaretz reports that approximately 1,000 protesters gathered, principally from the Ethiopian Jewish community.

    The citizens condemned racism and police brutality toward the Ethiopian Jewish community, calling for the end of impunity for cops who harass them.
    – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2015/05/ethiopian-brutality-jerusalem#sthash.rUdpsi6K.dpuf





    Ethiopian Israelis took to the streets of Jerusalem on the evening of April 30 to protest police brutality and systemic racism. Haaretz reports that approximately 1,000 protesters gathered, principally from the Ethiopian Jewish community.

    The citizens condemned racism and police brutality toward the Ethiopian Jewish community, calling for the end of impunity for cops who harass them.

    A video released of a white Israeli police officer attacking a black Israeli soldier in Tel Aviv on April 26 angered many in the Ethiopian Israeli community, which is disproportionately targeted by Israeli police. The video shows officers pushing Demas Fekadeh, an Ethiopian Israeli soldier, to the ground and beating him.

    Zionist Union Member of Knesset Shelly Yachimovich remarked in a Facebook post “It wouldn’t be far-fetched to expect that if [Demas Fekadeh], the soldier who was hit, was a light-skin soldier, preferably with an Ashkenazi appearance, he would not have sustained harsh blows without consideration from police.”

    This is by no means an isolated incident. In March 2014, an Ethiopian Israeli by the name of Yosef Salamseh was in a public park with his friends when police approached him. They accused him of breaking into a house, a claim he adamantly denied. The cops then attacked him with a Taser gun, kicked him, handcuffed him, shackled his legs, threw him in a police car, and detained him in a nearby police station. His family later found him unconscious and tied-up. A few months later, he died. Police claimed it was a suicide.

    In the wake of the incident, Salamseh came to be known by many as “Israel’s Michael Brown,” referring to an 18-year-old black American man who was walking down the street with a friend in Ferguson, Missouri when white police officer Darren Wilson shot him nine times, three times in the head.

    Numerous journalists reported that the Ethiopian Jewish protesters in Jerusalem were chanting “Baltimore is here!”, connecting their struggle against racist brutality in Israel to the struggle of black Americans against racist brutality in the US.

    Civil unrest emerged in Baltimore on April 25, in response to the police killing of Freddie Gray, an innocent, unarmed black man who was arrested for looking at a police officer in the face and then running away. While in police custody, Gray’s voice box was crushed and his spine was 80% severed. Baltimore police later accused him of injuring himself, although video footage was released of cops pummeling Gray. In the video, Gray can be heard asking for his inhaler, as he had trouble breathing, and appears to be incapable of walking, because of the brutal beating he suffered. (Police also harassed and later arrested the man who captured the attack on camera.) A medical expert revealed that it is virtually impossible that Gray injured himself.

    Black Israelis have tied their own struggle to that of the Black Lives Matter movement in the US—a civil and human rights movement that emerged in response to the constant police murders of unarmed, innocent black Americans at the hands of white police—not just by drawing connections between Baltimore and Jerusalem, but furthermore by launching an Israeli offshoot of the “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” campaign.

    More at the link.

    Adverse Note to MLK on Political Cartoon. Hard to read, but handwritten note on a cartoon showing a police officer writing in his notebook while talking to Dr Martin Luther King Jr, who is saying that he plans to lead another non-violent protest tomorrow, with a giant mess of a city around them. The handwritten note added underlines the word non-violent and, from what I could decipher, was basically refusing to agree that MLK’s tactics were non-violent. So to all those asking for protestors to be more like the non-violent MLK? Newsflash: he wasn’t necessarily seen as non-violent back then.

    6 officers charged in Freddie Gray’s death (USA Today).

    Interlude: The classic miniseries Roots is getting a remake

    The black TV renaissance continues. A&E Networks announced yesterday that it is remaking Roots, the classic 1977 miniseries that traced a black family’s history from slavery on to the end of the Civil War. The eight-episode series, which has been in the works since 2013, will air simultaneously on The History Channel, A&E, and Lifetime in 2016.

    Roots became a cultural phenomenon when it first aired on ABC, and has since become on the most celebrated programs in history. Starring a mostly black cast, it launched the career of executive producer LeVar Burton, who played abducted slave Kunta Kinte before going on to play Geordie La Forge on Star Trek: The Next Generation. The series finale broke Nielsen viewing records for its time, and sequel efforts Roots: The Next Generation and Roots: The Gift were also well-received by viewers.

    The remake is being planned at a time and cultural climate when media aimed at black audiences is doing particularly well. Fox’s Empire, starring Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson, recently became a ratings juggernaut, the first show to grow its audience every week in 23 years. Shows like Scandal, How to Get Away with Murder, and Black-ish are all critical and ratings successes, and movies like 12 Years a Slave and Django Unchained prove that people will see efforts that tackle slavery head on. However, with remake fatigue already on the rise, it’s still uncertain how well the new Roots will do.

    Protests Continue After Officers Involved In Freddie Gray’s Arrest Face Charges

    Thirteen days of protests yielded the answers many had hoped for.

    Friday night, at least half a dozen people were arrested for violating the curfew.

    Christie Ileto has more.

    “Here we are as a proud city saying here we are, charging people who committed a crime and it’s actually happening now,” said one protester.

    The state’s attorney’s office slapped the six officers involved in Gray’s arrest with criminal charges; his death now a homicide.

    “They did a thorough investigation,” said Juan.

    Juan is one of Gray’s best friends.

    “No more sitting on your couch; no more getting paid. You murdered someone and you belong in jail,” he said.

    “We need to keep the pressure on because we need to have those officers convicted,” said Sharon Black, People’s Power Assembly.

    Marchers say the fight isn’t over. They looped the city, stopping at City Hall, the jail and Western Police District, arguing the curfew should be lifted and the National Guard should leave.

    “No one is burning down any buildings, rioting and going into stores. Everything is more peaceful,” said Taylor Lomax.

    But Baltimore is gearing up for one of its largest protests since Gray’s death.

    “I’m hoping everyone is just going to peacefully return to their lives and go home and get back to work and let the city get back to normal,” said Governor Larry Hogan.

    Concerns linger from the looting that swept parts of Baltimore last weekend and exploded on Monday into violence.

    “Right now, this is just one step, one step to the beginning,” said Juan.

    A first step to bring peace to a riot-torn city.

    There is a massive protest planned for Saturday; the curfew will still be in effect.

    Barricades as far as the eye can see. The police don’t want anyone taking over streets unless they say so. #MayDayNYC

  151. rq says

    I think I’m about half-way.
    May Day Marches Across US Incorporate Protests Against Police Brutality

    The death of Freddie Gray in police custody has already caused a massive ripple effect felt across the country. After protests erupted in Baltimore over the weekend, they spread to major cities across the US over the past week. Aside from Monday night’s riots and a few other isolated incidents, the protests have been largely peaceful.

    Now many organizers who have long-planned the traditional May Day marches are also incorporating the Black Lives Matter movement, which first came to prominence after the police shooting of unarmed Michael Brown last August.

    “It is important to support movements and struggles that stand up for people being singled out by the system,” Miguel Paredes, coordinator for the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, told the Associated Press. “Right now, immigrants share that distinction with African-American youth, that we are being targeted by the system.”

    In many ways, including police brutality protests into May Day demonstrations seems like a logical decision. International Worker’s Day has been celebrated since 1886, when a bomb blast in the middle of a Chicago labor demonstration caused a large riot. That event has been cited as a major factor in establishing the 8-hour workday, and Black Lives Matter protesters certainly hope that the protests of the past week could cause similarly monumental changes.

    Many May Day organizers recognize that the struggles faced by black minorities in inner cities are the same faced by many immigrant groups. Distrust of police and the US judicial system is a common thread.

    “This is one of these times where the savvy political move is also coherent political ideology,” professor of sociology and political science at University of California, Irvine, told the AP.

    Los Angeles isn’t the only city hosting the expanded marches. Many activists in New York will carry a banner reading “No police from Baltimore to Ayotzinapa,” taking the police brutality message even further, referencing the 43 students who went missing in Mexico last year.

    And protests continue in Baltimore. The announcement made Friday by Baltimore City’s State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby, stating that criminal charges have been brought against all six officers involved in the arrest of Freddie Gray, have filled many protesters with a sense of accomplishment.

    This man. Baltimore Man: When I Was A Marine I Was Called A Patriot, When I Fight For My People I’m A Thug

    A man, identifying himself as a Marine, yelled at law enforcement after the charges against six Baltimore City police officers were announced. Many members of the Baltimore City Police Department are veterans.

    “We gave our lives for this country,” the emotional man said to the police suited up in riot gear. “Look at you. Is this what it’s coming to, man? I love this fucking country, too. Just as much as you do. We’re fighting for a reason, man. I was willing to give my life for this country, man. Look at this community now, man.”

    “You’re the same people I went to war with,” he said.

    “I see that you are very emotional. You’re very emotional. Tell me and explain to me where that’s coming from,” a CNN reporter asked the man.

    “This is crazy. They tell me we are apart of this country, man. How can we be? How can we be part of this country? Look at this,” he told her.

    “I don’t believe anything until I see the end result,” the man said about the state’s attorney filing charges against six police officers. “We got to stop being pacified every time they throw us a bone where they want us to calm down, man. We need to wait for the end result to come in.”

    “I was willing to give my life for this country. Look at my community, man. Look around here. The same people who we go to war with coming to war on us.”

    “When I was in the Marine Corps, they called me a patriot. A marine. But now that I’m fighting for my people they call me a fucking thug. They called me a thug when I fight for my people,” the enraged man said.

    The man was later accosted by a resident of Sandtown, Baltimore (where Freddie Gray was arrested) when he said he was from Belvedere Square, Baltimore and was told to go home. Belvedere, while not nearly as impoverished as Sandtown, is also in the inner-city and is only a few blocks away.

    “I am Darren Wilson”: St. Louis and the geography of fear. Repost, worth a re-read re: the reaction of police to charges filed against the officers responsible for Freddie Gray’s death.

    Here’s A Timeline Of Unarmed Black People Killed By Police Over Past Year. And that’s just one year.

    When Michael Brown was shot to death by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, in August 2014, it awakened a movement that began with the previous killing of another black teenager, Trayvon Martin, who was shot in 2012 by neighborhood watch volulnteer George Zimmerman.

    Brown’s death was not the first of its kind since Martin’s; just a month prior, Eric Garner died after being placed in a chokehold by NYPD officers. Both deaths sparked protests across the country — protests that were renewed when grand juries declined to charge the officers involved in either case.

    The national outcry has cast light on similar cases from the past year, some leading to charges against the police officers involved, others not.

    Here’s a breakdown of when the killings happened and their outcomes.

    (Note: This list is not exhaustive.)

    From April 30 2014 to April 30 2015.

    People react to officers being charged. Neighbors shocked that Officer William Porter charged in Freddie Gray’s death

    On April 12, however, the two men’s paths crossed at Dolphin Street and Druid Hill Avenue in Gray’s part of town. That’s where Porter met the police van carrying Gray and helped the driver check on his passenger. Now Porter is among the six officers facing charges in Gray’s death.

    “This is unbelievable,” said Regina Bennett, who lives two doors down from Porter and has known him since he was about 10. “He is a good, humble kid. I have never seen him in trouble.”

    Court records show that Porter has no criminal record. He has worked for the Baltimore Police Department since 2012 and was earning a yearly salary of $44,104 — until he and the other officers were placed on unpaid leave Friday.

    Local police union President Gene Ryan defended Porter and the other officers, saying, “None of the officers involved are responsible for the death of Mr. Gray.”

    “Each of the officers involved is sincerely saddened by Mr. Gray’s passing,” Ryan said in a statement released by the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 3. “They are all committed police officers who have dedicated their careers to the Baltimore City Police Department.”

    Porter and his lawyer could not be reached for comment.

    And yes, they mention his police record (or possibility thereof). Want to guess his skin colour?
    Also, haven’t had a chance to check yet, but wondering which officer was charged with murder (and put that to a face and a skin colour, because it seems like it could be relevant). Because there was one.

    Marilyn Mosby Went Into Today’s Press Conference Unknown, Emerged A Champion Of Reform.

    If history is any indication, Mosby may face an extraordinary uphill battle going forward. When Bernalillo County District Attorney Kari Brandenburg recently filed charges against two police officers for the first time in recent memory over the shooting of an unarmed homeless man, police responded by excluding her from future investigations of police shootings. After Chicago prosecutors filed charges for the first time in 15 years against a cop for an on-duty shooting, a judge acquitted the officer in a bizarre ruling that reasoned the charges filed against the officer actually weren’t severe enough. If Mosby’s prosecution reaches a jury, she could face an audience with its own set of biases, as juries also tend to favor the police.

  152. rq says

    Two more men allege ‘rough rides’ in Baltimore police van

    Two more people came forward Friday and said Baltimore police gave them “rough rides,” purposefully tossing them around in the back of a transport van, causing them injuries.

    The men, Jacob Master Jr. of Baltimore and Patrick Hoey of Seattle, were put in the back of a police van in June 2012 as the result of a noise complaint, according to their lawyers at the Norman Law Firm in Dagsboro, Del.
    Freddie Gray not the first to come out of Baltimore police van with serious injuries
    Freddie Gray not the first to come out of Baltimore police van with serious injuries

    Neither man was strapped into the van, and during the ride they were “violently tossed around the interior of the police van” as an officer drove “maniacally” to a police station, according to a statement from the firm. “As a result, each man sustained injuries.” […]

    At least five other people or their families have alleged they were harmed in the back of a police van since 1997, with several winning judgments or settling with police. Three were paralyzed by the ride, according to a recent review by The Baltimore Sun.

    In one case, a 43-year-old plumber arrested for public urination was handcuffed and put in a van in good health but emerged a quadriplegic. He told his doctor he was not buckled into his seat and after a sharp turn he was “violently thrown around the back of the vehicle as [police officers] drove in an aggressive fashion,” according to a lawsuit.
    cComments

    @mimi.barron ..Sounds as if you have not yet evolved into being a Civilized Human Being. Your statement says a lot about your culture and upbringing. One more thing, the job of the Police is to protect LAW ABIDING citizens from non law abiding citizens.
    bhd2801
    at 8:09 AM May 02, 2015

    Add a comment See all comments
    5

    The man died two weeks later of pneumonia caused by his paralysis, and his family initially won a $7.4 million award after a jury agreed three officers were negligent. It was reduced to $219,000 by Maryland’s Court of Special Appeals because state law caps such payouts.

    In another case, Christine Abbott, 27, is suing city officers in federal court, alleging she got such a ride in 2012. Abbott was hosting a party at her Hampden home when two officers arrived to follow up on a noise complaint. According to her lawsuit in U.S. District Court, the officers began to argue with a guest for not putting out a cigarette while they spoke to him, and when Abbott tried to calm both sides, the officers threw her to the ground. According to the suit, officers cuffed Abbott’s hands behind her back, threw her into a police van, left her unbuckled and “maniacally drove” her to the Northern District police station, “tossing [her] around the interior of the police van.”

    A former city police officer testified five years ago, in a case that resulted in a death, that rough rides were an “unsanctioned technique” in which police vans are driven to cause “injury or pain” to unbuckled, handcuffed detainees.

    Police did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the new allegations, but officials have in the past denied that officers drove recklessly, sometimes claiming those in custody thrashed around or were belligerent.

    Party in the streets. #BaltimoreUprising Protestor response to the charges.

    In Baltimore, the Whole Damn System Is Guilty as Hell. This looks like a repost or posted by someone else, so only a small quote:

    In Baltimore, it’s easy to internalize the notion that no one outside of the city gives a fuck about you. You grow up feeling like where you’re from is second-rate and nobody makes it unless they leave. Our culture, outside of drugs and vacant houses, is widely unknown but we make our own unique club music, we like slapping Old Bay on everything, we eat chicken boxes—you know, regular, non-The Wire shit. So to be the center of international attention feels strange, especially when that attention could have been so easily avoided if police did not allegedly facilitate the death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man from West Baltimore. But since that did happen and since the people of Baltimore City decided to respond to that by taking to the streets in anger at not just Gray’s death but the whole rigged system, we are where we are: Images of looting replayed on cable news, solidarity protests all over the country, and blacks and whites in Baltimore doing their best to repair their communities.

    How is one supposed to act when their lives are decided for them before they’re born? How are we as black people supposed to react when we are murdered by police, then blamed for our own deaths? I grew up in East Baltimore and while I can’t claim to have suffered the exact hardships that Freddie Gray did, you can only do so much to escape the ills of inner city life as a black person in this town. […]

    So, what is actually being said when we publicly shun our people for acting on the frustrations bottled up from being oppressed? What is being said when a mother who beat her son on national television for defending himself is made into an overnight celebrity? If she had spanked her son on TV for anything other than him being a threat to the white supremacist structure, she would have been shamed if not hit with a charge. But because it paints what her son did as wrong, she’s being championed for it, even out on the cover of pro-authority rags like the New York Post.Just like black people have been rewarded for turning on one another since they were brought to this country.

    I don’t advocate the harm of innocent people but I do know that destroying people’s property—a.k.a. screwing with their money—is one way of forcing them to listen to you. None of the people who have tied themselves arguing for “nonviolent protest” this week gave a shit about Baltimore until someone set a cop car on fire.

    This morning, Gray’s death was ruled a homicide and the six officers involved in his death were handed charges ranging from second degree depraved heart murder to involuntary manslaughter to false imprisonment. I don’t know what the final outcome of Gray’s passing will be but I have a feeling that if justice is not brought down upon the officers involved in his death, no amount of scare tactics or projected embarrassment from within the black community will be able to limit what happened on April 27th to just one night of crying out.

    And here’s why GoFundMe shut down the fundraiser for the officers who killed #FreddieGray (h/t @soniamoghe) Violates the terms of service.

    Ferguson #BALTIMOREisRISING #BaltimoreUprising #Ferguson2Baltimore #BlackLivesMatter @OpFerguson @KWRose Now that is what one might call ‘police presence’. Mildly put.

    Protest line arms linked in front of riot line #BaltimoreCurfew

  153. rq says

    Sorry, forgot to clean up that blockquote there.

    Baltimore: Human Rights Observers Must Be Allowed to Observe Past Curfew – I think a couple of tweets on this upcoming, but they had their legal observer IDs taken away by police.

    Amnesty International USA is disappointed to learn that the City of Baltimore has revoked permission for our observers to continue to monitor the situation during the curfew. Yesterday, Amnesty International USA was issued badges to allow four of our observers to be out after curfew. Today we were told that the badges “have been made invalid due to counterfeits.” We call on the Mayor’s office to grant Amnesty and other legal and human rights observers permission to work during the curfew. Independent observation is crucial for ensuring respect for human rights and accountability for violations.

    Tonight, @baltimorepolice revoked the “peacekeeper passes” for human rights observers/legal observers #freddiegray #BaltimoreUprising

    Baltimore Teen Encouraged by Parents to Turn Himself in Is Held on $500,000 Bail, Faces Life in Prison. Yuh, that’s the one whose bail is bigger than that of officers committing far more serious crimes.

    Allen Bullock, the 18-year-old seen in photos smashing in a police car with a traffic cone, turned himself in after being encouraged by his parents. But now he is being held on $500,000 bail, an amount his parents cannot afford, The Guardian reports.

    Bullock faces charges of rioting and malicious destruction of property, among other criminal counts, after turning himself in at the Baltimore City Juvenile Justice Center with his stepfather, Maurice Hawkins, at his side.

    According to Hawkins, who saw footage of his stepson on Saturday, the teen agreed to turn himself in after his stepfather told him that the police would “find him, knock down our door and beat him” if he didn’t, The Guardian notes.

    However, no good deed goes unpunished, and Hawkins now believes that they are making an example of the teen. “By turning himself in, he also let me know he was growing as a man and he recognized what he did was wrong,” Hawkins told The Guardian on Wednesday. “But they are making an example of him, and it is not right.”

    “As parents, we wanted Allen to do the right thing,” Bullock’s mother, Bobbi Smallwood, said. “He was dead wrong, and he does need to be punished. But he wasn’t leading this riot. He hasn’t got that much power.”

    Hawkins noted that the proposed amount is higher than that placed on some accused murderers in the city. “Who could afford to pay that?” the stepfather asked.

    “If they let him go, he could at least save some money and pay them back for the damage he did,” his mother agreed.

    I wonder if that sentence with ‘accused murderers’ is a subtle stab at the officers at all.
    The Guardian on the same: Baltimore rioter turned himself in – but family can’t afford $500,000 bail .

    It’s about to get crazy in Dallas! A woman named Olinka was harassed and assaulted by the police.. #DallasToBaltimore She was a protestor and activist. With flyers. Now charged with 2 felonies.

    BREAKING NEWS: Protesters have taken over Seattle Plaza in what has been a violent day. #MayDaySea

    I know these are just small glimpses into the May Days of other cities, but that’s all I have right now.

  154. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    My biggest complaint about PINAC?

    They aren’t bigger.

    Once again, they get the right story at the right time:

    A man wearing a Fuck the Police t-shirt said fuck the curfew, defiantly refusing to leave the streets after a city-wide curfew remained in effect in Baltimore Saturday night, prompting an aggressive cop to run up to him and unleash a cloud of pepper spray in his face.
    But the man remained standing, his arms by his side, his face dripping with oleoresin capsicum as more cops rushed up to arrest him, including one cop who grabbed his dreadlocks and yanked him backwards down on the street.

    Man in dreads, standing quietly, doing nothing, pepper sprayed and thrown down and arrested because he doesn’t like that the response of authority to outrage at cops’ killings is curfew.

    Oh, and because he’s black:

    in a white, trendy neighborhood in North Baltimore called Hampden, several protesters also defied the curfew by refusing to vacate the streets at 10 p.m., according to the Baltimore Sun.
    But they were met with much less hostility.

    A group of about 50 mostly white protesters stood on a corner in Hampden on Saturday just as the citywide 10 p.m. curfew went into effect because, they said, they knew they’d be treated differently than black protesters in poorer parts of the city.

    They were right.

    Racism, I cordially invite you to fuck off forever.

  155. rq says

    Charged Baltimore officers post bail, but we knew that already.

    Police brutality, life expectancy and voting, intersection! Black lives matter: premature deaths skew US election results

    Dead men cast no votes. A new study has found that the premature death of millions of black voters in the US has affected the outcome of several elections.

    “We are talking here about deeply entrenched biases and prejudices in the operation of the economic, political and socio-cultural system which place blacks at a severe and systematic disadvantage,” says Chik Collins of the University of the West of Scotland in Paisley, UK. “It is a very well-founded challenge to the claims of America to be a ‘decent’ – let alone a ‘democratic’ – society.”

    This week saw protests in Baltimore and across the US touched off by the death of Freddie Gray, an African American man who died of a spinal cord injury sustained in police custody. His death has now been ruled a homicide and six police officers involved will face criminal charges.

    Overall, in the US, the mortality rate for blacks, across age and gender, is almost 18 per cent higher than the rate for whites.

    But while Gray’s and other high-profile killings make the headlines, the far greater cause of premature death in African Americans is stress-related disease, says Arline Geronimus of the Stanford University Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences in Palo Alto, California. For example, the diabetes rate for black people is almost twice as high as for whites, and blacks have higher rates of cancer and heart disease.

    “People have tabloid images of why there are so many black excess deaths, but those are only a small part,” Geronimus says.

    When one demographic group dies at a faster rate than another, it skews the makeup of the electorate in favour of the group with the better survival rates. Geronimus and her colleagues wondered what effect this difference might have on US politics.

    To find out, the team looked at the 35-year period between 1970 and 2004, and asked how the outcomes of elections in this period, including the 2004 presidential contest between John Kerry and George W. Bush, might have been different if the mortality rate of black and white people had been equal.

    Using cause of death data from the US Centers for Disease Control, Geronimus and colleagues calculated that if blacks died at the same rate as whites, 5.8 million African Americans would have died between 1970 and 2004. The actual number of black deaths over that timespan was 8.5 million, meaning that African Americans had 2.7 million “excess deaths”, compared with whites.

    Of those 2.7 million, Geronimus and colleagues calculated that 1.74 million would have been able to vote in the 2004 elections, of whom 1 million would have actually voted.

    The researchers then looked at how this extra million might have influenced elections if they had voted in line with actual black voters. African Americans tend to vote overwhelmingly for the Democratic party, so that party’s presidential candidate, John Kerry, missed out on around 900,000 votes. Kerry’s Republican opponent, George W. Bush, lost around 140,000.

    The missing black voters alone would not have been enough to change the result – Bush was elected with a majority of more than 3 million votes. But the story is different at state level, especially if another cause of lost black votes is taken into account.

    In 2006, Joe Manza of New York University and Christopher Uggen of the University of Minnesota estimated that 1.95 million voting-age African Americans were unable to vote in 2004 due to the fact that they had been convicted of a felony. A 2013 Pew Research Center study found that black men were six times as likely as white men to be incarcerated in 2010 – an increase from 1960, when black men were incarcerated five times as often as white men. This disenfranchisement meant that around 15 per cent of voting-age African Americans were excluded from the 2004 national election.

    Geronimus and her colleagues estimated that seven senate and 11 gubernatorial election results between 1970 and 2004 would have been reversed had their hypothetical survivors been able to vote. These were close elections in which the margin of victory was less than a third of the number of estimated hypothetical survivors in the state. Accounting for people disenfranchised by felony convictions would have likely reversed three other senate seats. In at least one state, Missouri, accounting for just excess deaths or felony disenfranchisement would not have been sufficient to reverse the senate election – but both sources of lost votes taken together would have.

    To think about and consider carefully.

    Again on perspective and framing the narrative: Is It An ‘Uprising’ Or A ‘Riot’? Depends On Who’s Watching

    Two years ago, University of Southern California sociologist Karen Sternheimer wrote “Civil Unrest, Riots and Rebellions: What’s the Difference?” for the Everyday Sociology Blog.

    While the 1992 crisis was often called a riot, Sternheimer wrote that it had elements of all three terms: “Civil unrest often occurs when a group strives to gain attention for something they feel is unjust.” When the jury declared “not guilty” for the officers on trial, there was disbelief.

    “People felt angry enough to disrupt the social order,” Steinheimer continued, “because many felt like the justice system had severely let them down.”

    Over time, black communities in LA and Ferguson, Mo., had come to believe they were occupied by hostile police departments that didn’t resemble their civilian populations and focused their policing on containment and suppression, rather than protecting and serving. In LA, the last straw was the exoneration of the officers despite clear video evidence of the abuse: Parts of the city burned in a matter of hours. Fifty-five people died and property damage reached $1 billion.

    “Riots are characterized by unruly mobs, often engaging in violence and mayhem,” Sternheimer wrote.

    Jack Schneider, an assistant professor in the education department at the College of the Holy Cross, noted at the Huffington Post last year that throughout American history, white citizens were lauded when they rose up against perceived tyranny. Actions that came to be known as Shay’s Rebellion and Bacon’s Rebellion were called rebellions; participants were considered patriots. “When blacks become involved, however,” Schneider wrote, an uprising isn’t a rebellion. It’s a riot. Harlem, Watts, Chicago, or more recently, Ferguson.”

    These have been characterized as “resistance to authority or control,” Schneider added. The assumption by those in power is those instances of civil unrest were hooliganism, not “simmering resentment and honest anger” to oppressive conditions.

    Need a clear example of how perspective can cloud the media mirror? Here’s this, from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, after a student riot in 2011 that left windows smashed and cars flipped:

    “More than 10,000 students rallied Wednesday night in anger after Penn State University trustees announced that longtime football coach Joe Paterno had been fired.”

    What was a riot became a rally.

    Riots can also start out as one thing and morph into something else. Ferguson protests were largely peaceful until an aggressive police response infuriated many marchers. What started as a demonstration against police brutality and racism became, some said, a demonstration of police brutality. […]

    Resistance, Hill said, “looks different ways to different people.” And, he added, it’s not something that can be neatly contained or scheduled. “You can’t tell people where to die-in, where to resist, how to protest.” While many in and on the media were referring to the Baltimore demonstrators as rioters, Hill refused. “I’m calling these uprisings,” he insisted, “and I think it’s an important distinction to make.”

    Baltimore, Hill said, is one in a series of cities where people pushed back against “the state violence that’s been waged against black female and male bodies forever.” Just as the media are covering the flames when cities are burning, Hill told Lemon, they should also be looking at root causes behind the fires. Riot, unrest, rebellion, uprising — what we call them is not a to-may-to, to-mah-to argument. The words may describe the same event, but they mean very different things.

    Tucker Carlson’s Site: ‘Sexy’ Baltimore Prosecutor Flashed ‘Crazy Girl Eyes’. I think Lynna covered this on the All That Needs to Be Said thread, which should be checked for a few updates, by the way.

    At least 53 arrested in Friday’s Freddie Gray protests

    Baltimore police arrested at least 53 people during peaceful protests Friday, the day charges were brought against the six officers involved in the arrest of Freddie Gray.

    Fifteen of the arrests were made for curfew violations outside City Hall, where more than 100 people remained outside on the lawn past 10 p.m. to protest. Most ran away when hundreds of officers marched through carrying shields, mace, batons and zip-tie handcuffs; the stragglers were detained.

    If police arrested anyone Friday night at Pennsylvania and W. North avenues, another of the more than week-long protest gathering points, “they haven’t been processed yet,” a department spokesman said.

    “Protest-related arrests” made up the other 38, though on a mostly peaceful day of marching and celebrating over the unexpected charges being brought, it wasn’t clear what charges those people faced.

    Police did not take questions at their final briefing Friday just before midnight.

    The six officers face manslaughter and other charges in the death of Gray a 25-year-old man who suffered a fatal spinal cord injury in police custody.

    Baltimore Activists Recount How Police Unions Crushed Accountability Reforms– which they tried in Ferguson, too.

    Police unions play a significant role in Maryland politics, from campaign endorsements to influence peddling. According to public records, the largest police associations, including the Baltimore Fraternal Order of Police, donated $1,834,680 to state politicians over the last decade and retained several of most prominent lobbyists in the state.

    The Maryland State FOP organized its members to show up in force during the hearing on the police reform bills. The Facebook page for the group shows officers packing the legislative room when the reform bills were debated.

    “It was not a level playing field, we’re not the FOP, we don’t have the same type of strong relationship with the delegates, the state legislators,” said Farajii Muhammad, one of the organizers of the reform effort.

    “Our people said that the committee leadership was worried about the police reaction,” explained Thomas Nephew, an activist with the Montgomery County Civil Rights Coalition, who was present at the March 12th hearing. “One of the legislative leaders said something like, if these bills go through, the cops will riot in the streets, which really tells you something.”

    The police were simply more organized and had better relationships with the lawmakers, Nephew said.

    A coalition including Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, the ACLU, the NAACP and members of Maryland’s faith community pushed for changes to the “Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights,” a law that critics say sets a standard that makes investigating and disciplining police misconduct nearly impossible.

    “We’re still going to have this fight,” said Muhammad in an interview over the phone. Muhammad, who has organized community efforts in Freddie Gray’s neighorhood and has worked with the American Friends Service Committee, says he is working on building a diverse coalition to force discussion of the issue.

    “I think it’s a shame, it’s an absolute shame, given the nature of this issue, what we’re seeing right now in Baltimore and all across this country, that in a state like Maryland, we’re still using a very old era way of thinking,” said Muhammad. […]

    Judiciary member Del. Brett Wilson is a prosecutor. Del. John Cluster, another member of the committee, is a retired police officer who called for a new law this year that would hire 900 additional cops in Maryland to place an armed officer in every school in the state. Custer, who was honored as the legislator of the year by the Baltimore County FOP in 2014, is also chairman of Maryland Correctional Enterprises. The MCE is a state-owned company that manages Maryland’s prison labor, a workforce that manufacturers Maryland flags and furniture for the legislature and University of Maryland, College Park.

    But activists are not giving up hope.

    “This tragedy has brought triumph in uniting people together, street organizations, Muslims and Christians, various neighborhoods,” said Muhammad. “There’s a new level of awareness, of consciousness right here in Baltimore.”

  156. rq says

    Ha, Crip Dyke, I’m still getting to that part of my tabs. But yes, the Mayor of Baltimore rescinded the curfew after a serious racial disparity in curfew enforcement was noticed and broadcast publicly over twitter and elsewhere.

    Cops Shut Down CNN Broadcast; Reporter: “Are We Under Martial Law?” They shut down CNN.

    Baltimore police shut down Miguel Marquez’s live shot as he attempted to cover the arrest of Freddie Gray protesters, leading the CNN reporter to ask officers, “Are we under martial law?” in the face of law enforcement who demanded he “comply.”

    As he signed off, an exasperated Marquez—who appeared close to being arrested himself—announced that “I think that the First Amendment still applies in Baltimore, and tonight police are changing that rule.”

    If they’re shutting off CNN, then…

    Several Marches Convene At Saturday’s ‘Victory’ Rally For Freddie Gray

    Ten thousand people are expected to come into Baltimore today to rally for justice for Freddie Gray, the 25-year-old man who died in police custody.

    After Friday’s announcement that the six police officers, involved in Gray’s arrest when he allegedly received his critical injuries, were charged celebrations began in the streets of Penn-North — the area where Monday’s violent riots started and the place where Gray was initially taken into police custody.

    “To the people of Baltimore and the demonstrators across America, I heard your call for ‘No Justice, No Peace,’ your peace is sincerely needed as I work to deliver justice on behalf of this young man,” City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby said Friday during her announcement of the charges.

    But protestors said Friday — there was still more to do — and that they were continue to rally until justice is done.

    “Right now, this is just one step, one step to the beginning,” said Juan — a friend of Gray’s Friday.

    Gray’s stepfather, Robert Shipley, said the family was happy the officers were charged, and he reiterated a plea to keep all public demonstrations peaceful.

    “We are satisfied with today’s charges; they are an important step in getting justice for Freddie,” Shipley said. “But if you are not coming in peace, please don’t come at all.”

    The family lawyer, Billy Murphy, said the charges are “a first step but not the last,” adding that Baltimore now has an opportunity to set an example for cities across the nation grappling with police brutality.

    “The overwhelming number of people who have protested over the days didn’t know Freddie personally, but the people of Philadelphia, New York, Cincinnati, and in numerous cities and towns are expressing their outrage that there are too many Freddie Grays,” Murphy said. “If Freddie Gray is not to die in vain, we must seize this opportunity to reform police departments throughout this country, so there are no more days and times like this.”

    Here’s an interesting video put out by organizers today featuring Nina Simone singing #Baltimore, vimeo link: #BlackSpring — Baltimore by Nina Simone
    History, repetition, wow.

    QUESTION: Are the 3 men who arrested #FreddieGray included in the mugshots? Doesn’t quite look like it to me.

    @deray Support for LGBT & Queer folk who are subjected to violence by the police and vigilantes.

  157. rq says

    That video at vimeo features a clip of an officer throwing a rock back at a protestor – and I can’t tell if it’s from this year or from the ’60s.

    Memorial shrine for Vonderrit Myers, more than six months later #Ferguson #BlackLivesMatter

    Atlanta police fatally shoot handcuffed woman after gunfight inside patrol car – I mentioned this earlier.

    Atlanta police shot and killed a handcuffed black woman on Thursday after she fired on two officers from inside a patrol car, the city’s police department said.

    The woman had been arrested and was in the back of the vehicle in downtown Atlanta around 5 p.m. local time, Atlanta Police Sergeant Gregory Lyon said in an email.

    She then fired on the officers, who were also black, sitting in the front of the car, Lyon said. The officers returned fire. The woman was taken to a local hospital where she later died, he said.

    The shooting comes as protests reignite in cities around the United States over police use of lethal force against minorities, especially of unarmed black men.

    The woman’s name was not being made public pending notification of next of kin, police said.

    Cuffed. She shot at the officers. I have some questions.

    Baltimore protesters breathe sigh of relief after officers charged in Freddie Gray’s death

    Rage turned to relief in Baltimore Friday when the city’s top prosecutor charged six police officers with felonies ranging from assault to murder in the death of Freddie Gray.

    State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby said Gray’s arrest was illegal and unjustified and that he neck was broken because he was handcuffed, shackled and placed head-first into the back of a police van where his calls for medical attention were repeatedly ignored as he bounced around the van.

    The announcement comes less than a day after receiving the police department’s criminal investigation and official autopsy results. Her detailed description of the evidence supporting probably cause to charge all six officers with felonies took some by surprised because of the swiftness of the announcement.

    Mosby said the police did not have a reason to stop or chase Gray. They falsely accused him of having an illegal switchblade when in fact it was a legal pocketknife. The van driver and the other officers failed to strap him down with a seatbelt, a direct violation of department policy.

    Mosby did not indicate whether there was any indication the driver deliberately drove erratically, causing Gray’s body to strike the van’s interior. In 2005, a man died of a fractured spine after he was transported in a Baltimore police van in handcuffs and without a seatbelt. At a civil trial, an attorney for his family successfully argued police have given him a “rough ride.”

    The officers missed five opportunities to help an injured and falsely imprisoned detainee before he arrived at the police station no longer breathing, Mosby said. Along the way, “Mr. Gray suffered a severe and critical neck injury as a result of being handcuffed, shackled by his feet and unrestrained inside of the BPD wagon,” she said.

    I guess a recap.

    They’re looking into their pasts. Guns Confiscated in 2012 From Lieutenant Charged in Freddie Gray’s Death

    One of the officers charged Friday in the death of Freddie Gray was taken to a hospital in 2012 and had his guns seized after he allegedly made alarming comments to the mother of his son, according to a sheriff’s department incident report.

    Lt. Brian Rice, 41, one of three Baltimore police officers who first made “eye contact” with Gray before his arrest, was charged Friday with involuntary manslaughter, assault, misconduct in office and false imprisonment.

    Records filed by the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office indicate that in April of 2012, officers were called to Rice’s Carroll County house by another Baltimore police officer, identified in the document as Karyn Crisafulli, who had been romantically involved with Rice and was the mother of his then 6-month-old child.

    Crisafulli contacted the sheriff’s office because she was “concerned” after Rice had insisted that she bring their child to his house and when she didn’t, he threatened to commit an act of some kind in his laundry room which alarmed her, the report said. The act is redacted in the report.

    A history of violence?

    Toronto Police Headquarters. 5pm. #TDotToBMore #BaltimoreUprising #FreddieGray Good. Needs more Canadian cities.

    1,000’s At #Baltimore City Hall
    #BaltimoreUprising 4 #FreddieGray
    Live 3:05pm Saturday 04.02.15
    – I think the date there is wrong, but you get the idea.

  158. rq says

  159. rq says

    So Ferguson hired a lawyer a while ago, remember? Here’s the engagement letter. Check out how much they’re paying. Webb engagement letter with Ferguson – that is, how much taxpayers are paying.
    Article on the same: A look into Ferguson’s pricey pick to negotiate DOJ settlement

    In the days following a Department of Justice report accusing Ferguson’s police and municipal court of widespread abuses, the city made a series of conciliatory moves. Three employees involved in racist emails were forced out. The city manager stepped down. So did the police chief and municipal judge.

    Less than a month later, on March 27, a City Council that’s been grappling with declining revenues voted unanimously in a closed meeting to hire one of the nation’s most distinguished and highest-paid trial lawyers to navigate what could be a prolonged and expensive reform process.

    His name is Dan K. Webb.

    The city of Ferguson is paying him $1,335 an hour. […]

    Webb’s private clients have included tobacco giant Philip Morris, Microsoft and the New York Stock Exchange. He also has defended some of Illinois’ more notable politicians, including former Gov. George Ryan, as well as one of the nation’s most notorious sheriff’s departments. [Albuquerque?] […]

    Webb’s fee will be in addition to expenses and the fees for any lawyers or paralegals in his firm who may work on the case, according to an engagement letter between the city and Webb’s firm Winston & Strawn.

    Webb’s hourly rate is nearly double the highest billing rate in Missouri in 2014, which, according to Missouri Lawyers Weekly, was $700 an hour.

    The city fought to keep the engagement letter secret. For two weeks, it refused to release a copy of the letter to the Post-Dispatch, arguing that it was privileged communication that could reveal the city’s litigation strategy. After the Post-Dispatch argued that it was illegal to keep the document secret under the state’s open records law, the city council voted in a closed meeting Thursday night to release it. Still, the city did not turn over the letter, which was partially redacted, until just before 5 p.m. Friday.

    Webb will play a key role in working with the Justice Department, which spent seven months investigating Ferguson’s police department and municipal court after the death of Michael Brown. The department concluded that the police shooting of Brown was justified, but said the city had tolerated a culture of police brutality while pressuring the police chief and court officials to increase traffic enforcement and fees without regard to public safety.

    Now it’s up to the two sides to negotiate an agreement for reforming the police department and municipal court. Then, if the process plays out as it has elsewhere, the city will pay for a federal monitor to ensure that Ferguson keeps its promises.

    In other places, the process has taken years and has cost police departments across the country millions.

    Ferguson is already reeling from financial setbacks, and has had to dip into its reserves.

    More at the link, but this waste of money is atrocious, considering where it could be spent. In improving the community, rec centres, educational items, etc. …

    Nice #BlackSpring march in #Cleveland in support of #MalissaWilliams #TimothyRussell #TamirRice #TanieshaAnderson

    Re-claiming the QT on W. Florissant #BlackSpring #BlackSpringStL #Ferguson #ABanks

    Exclusive look inside the Freddie Gray investigation

    The scene on Thursday was part of a high-stakes police investigation — and came as Baltimore was reeling from protests that brought thousands of marchers, and some violence, to city streets. International attention was focused on the city, and many residents were protesting alleged police brutality and calling for criminal charges.

    The Baltimore Sun was granted exclusive access to the task force and monitored the investigation for days. The Sun agreed not to publish details about the investigation until Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby decided whether to prosecute any of the officers involved in the Gray incident, though reporters continued to use other sources for information. On Friday, she announced charges against six officers.
    Exclusive access inside the Freddie Gray investigation

    Baltimore Sun crime reporter Justin George got exclusive behind the scenes access of the Baltimore Police investigation into the death of Freddie Gray. (Baltimore Sun video)

    Mosby’s announcement came just a day after police provided her with a lengthy report on their probe, but prosecutors had conferred with police from time to time, and Mosby said she also used an independent team of investigators. Her announcement Friday took members of the police task force by surprise.

    Officers assigned to the task force had been working for two weeks to complete an investigation that might otherwise have taken months. They canvassed West Baltimore for witnesses and mapped out the locations of security camera footage. To recreate Gray’s 45-minute ride in a police van, plainclothes officers rolled a $250,000 laser imaging system on a tripod down potholed roads and cracked sidewalks, ready to tell residents who questioned them that they were city surveyors.

    At least 30 members of the Police Department were pulled onto the task force, including staff from the crime lab, Force Investigation Team, Internal Affairs, Homicide, and automobile CRASH team. Each brought with them an expertise to help answer the questions a volatile city desperately needed: how Gray sustained the severed spine and other injuries that led to his death on April 19, a week after his arrest.

    They all realized the importance of their investigation and that they were part of a pivotal moment in Baltimore history. There were no days off.

    “As I’ve said before,” Col. Garnell Green told the task force Thursday morning. “What happens … rests on our shoulders.” […]

    Investigators tried to determine what had happened during the foot and bicycle chase that preceded the takedown of Gray. Did he fall? Had Gray been in a fight prior to the arrest? Was the Internet rumor about an insurance settlement for a car accident true (it was not). When was he sitting and when was he “prone,” without a seat belt, in the van?

    Task force members continued to investigate all possibilities even though they felt confident that Gray had suffered a “catastrophic injury” while being taken from the arrest at Gilmor Homes to the Western District police station. They discovered that the van’s video camera was broken and that one of the officers during the transport said Gray had “jailitis” — a faked illness — when he complained about his condition.

    And they spent many hours retracing the actions of Officer Caesar R. Goodson, Jr., the wagon driver. Goodson, the investigators said, had heard Gray ask for medical help a number of times — a key factor in the charges Mosby would bring against him. Still, there were gaps along the route where no video or witness statements existed.

    The investigators sought to understand why Goodson had made a stop that was discovered in a review of video camera footage. All they could determine was that Goodson looked into the back of the van, but did not touch Gray. But they wondered: Were there other stops? […]

    Late last week, Brandford, the homicide commander, said he felt “confident” about where his investigation was pointing, but he never locked onto an explanation for Gray’s spine injury. He left open the possibility that Gray was beaten or handled too roughly.

    “We’re still going strong as far as this task force is concerned. We have to fight fatigue,” he told his team. “I feel confident we have a solid case here but we still have things to do.”

    On Friday, more remained. The task force was planning to go full-bore straight through the weekend, feeding supplemental reports to Mosby’s office, and the investigation was to remain active indefinitely, according to Brandford.

    “Important that the state’s attorney continue to get things as we collect them,” Brandford told his tired members Friday morning.

    Then his cellphone rang. He stepped into the hall and didn’t return.

    Minutes later, task force members found out why: Mosby was holding a news conference on the steps of the nearby Baltimore War Memorial. From a flat-screen television in Green’s office, they watched a live broadcast.

    They stood motionless as Mosby began speaking. A lieutenant wearing a suit and bow tie rested his left hand on a leather chair; Green stood in uniform against the wall, hands behind his back. As Mosby read off the charges — including second-degree depraved-heart murder, the most serious, against Goodson — stunned looks crossed their faces.

    They had not expected the state’s attorney’s office to act so soon.

    Later on Friday, Mosby said the charges were the result of prosecutors working 12- and 14-hour days alongside police investigators. She also said prosecutors had been working on a “parallel investigation” that included using city sheriff’s deputies.

    “This was not something that was quick, fast and in a hurry,” she said. “We reviewed hundreds of hours of camera footage and statements. This is something we worked really hard to get to the bottom of.”

    Still, plenty of items remained on the police task force’s checklist. Members soon were back to their investigation.

    Etc.

  160. rq says

    More #ShutItDownATX photos, courtesy @John_J_Anderson!
    #MayDay #FreddieGray #Austin

    LIVE BLOG: Day Of Prayer & Peace, re: Saturday.

    Another day of peaceful demonstrations in Baltimore as people continue to rally for justice. A rally and march to City Hall turned into a block party at the site of the riots Monday in the Penn-North community of Baltimore.

    After the Baltimore city state’s attorney Marilyn Mosby announced charges against all six officers in the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray, many celebrated what they call the “first step” to justice for Gray.

    Although the officers have been charged, they were release on bond on Friday.

    – On Saturday night the curfew remained in place and several people protested the curfew, but were arrested
    – Gov. Larry Hogan has called for a day of “prayer and peace.”
    – Another march is planned for Sunday at 3 p.m. It’s being lead by local religious leaders.
    – It’s possible the curfew may end Sunday.

    We’ll continue to cover any Freddie Gray protests and the investigations into his death here. Follow along and join the discussion by tweeting at us @cbsbaltimore.

    Reclaiming the old QT. #BlackSpringSTL

    #tdot2bmore heading to the US Consulate #BlackLivesMatter But honestly, they don’t even need to go that far – the Toronto PD will do.

    My favorite shot of the protest earlier today. “With Justice Comes Peace” #BaltimoreDispatch

    Handing out diapers and toiletries at Gilmore Homes. #Baltimore #BaltimoreUprising Yes, that happened, too.

  161. Pteryxx says

    rq #175 – protester Joseph Kent was indeed snatched by police last week, then released, and has now been arrested again as of last night: Twitter link referencing this story in the Guardian: Freddie Gray: legal volunteers among those arrested after defying Baltimore curfew

    On Saturday night two volunteers, who identified themselves as belonging to the National Lawyers Guild, were seen by the Guardian being arrested alongside four street medics outside the Baltimore City Correctional Center.

    One of the legal observers was wearing a bright green cap emblazoned with her organisation’s name – caps which have proven useful for protesters seeking legal advice during this past week.

    As police were seen handcuffing the volunteers, a seventh man walked past and was apprehended, after one officer with a handheld stun gun asked him where he was going. The man had said he lived in the neighborhood and was on his way home.

    The arrests happened less than 10 minutes after the start of the curfew.

    […]

    The arrests outside the building on Greenmount Avenue stood in contrast to the police’s treatment of curfew-defiers in Hampden, a predominantly white neighborhood in northern Baltimore.

    Earlier in the day, a group of activists had called for a “silent curfew protest” which they said was intended to highlight the police’s differing treatment of protesters based on race, and to expose the police’s “anti-black racism, an institutionalized practice of the police force and government”. They were mostly white.

    […]

    “The last thing I want to do is put someone in handcuffs,” a white police officer told the crowd, before issuing a last warning and asking them to “please leave”. According to several accounts on social media, this was the officer’s third warning to the group.

    Also among those arrested on Saturday night was Joseph Kent, the 21-year-old activist who was seen last week getting “kidnapped” live on television. Kent’s lawyer, Steve Beatty, confirmed on Twitter that his client had arrived at Baltimore central booking station. It was the second arrest for the Morgan State University student in connection with the Freddie Gray protests.

  162. rq says

  163. rq says

    $1,000,000,000 Lawsuit Claims Empire Story Was Stolen From an Ex-Gangster

    The makers of Fox hit show Empire are being sued on allegations they have been doing what empire builders have been known to do since the dawn of man: stealing.

    Ron Newt, author of the book and script “Bigger Than Big,” has filed a $1 billion lawsuit in California against the Fox network’s Rupert Murdoch, Empire, Lee Daniels, Danny Strong, Terrence Howard and Malcolm Spellman alleging copyright infringement and plagiarism, according to documents filed on April 15, 2015, according to Entertainment Weekly.

    Newt, known as “Gangsta Pimp” back in the day, alleges that the Empire team stole his story, and he outlines the similarities, including the fact that he and Lucious Lyon, played by Terrence Howard, wear the “same style” of coats. Further, he says that Lucious’s ex-wife, Cookie, played by Taraji P. Henson, and Newt’s wife, “China Doll,” have the “same look” when sporting hats, EW writes.

    The story line also cuts close to Newt’s tale, the suit alleges, including claims that Lucious killed four drug dealers. In chapter 7 of Newt’s book, four drug dealers are killed, writes the entertainment news site. And someone shoots a longtime friend in both works.

    The suit alleges that problems began when Newt met Howard at the Four Seasons Hotel and they discussed “Bigger Than Big,” the story of Newt’s life as a “ghetto player,” the report says.

    A Fox representative did not respond to EW’s request for comment.

    Donations being given to @FOP3. #BaltimoreUprising #FTP – but it was fake money, and the people ‘donating’ are a group of people that shut fundraisers down. I think this was an action to show police readiness in accepting donations for colleagues charged for crimes.

    Why isn’t the curfew being enforced in predominately white neighborhoods like it is in black ones? @MayorSRB #BaltimoreUprising This question will not be answered, but rather illustrated, in coming tweets.

    Nuevas protestas contra el racismo en Baltimore, article in Spanish.

    Interlude: Music! 5 Ben E. King Classics That Aren’t ‘Stand by Me’

    Within the pantheon of classic rhythm and blues, the Drifters stand out as one of the few outfits that helped to define the sound — that irresistible synthesis of doo-wop, gospel, blues, and soulful harmony. At the center of the group was Ben E. King, the brilliant musician and singer from North Carolina behind the hit 1961 ballad “Stand by Me,” which, years later, would inspire the Rob Reiner film of the same name. The song, King’s biggest single, is universally adored for its sweeping string arrangements, bass line, lyrical sentiment, and, of course, King’s stunning vocals. King wrote it for the Drifters before a series of legal conflicts led to his departure and a fortuitous solo release. As the fourth-most-played song of the 20th century, it’s what King, who passed away at the age of 76 from natural causes today, is best known for, but his influence is much greater than that one song. Here are five other Ben E. King efforts beyond “Stand by Me” that deserve a listen.

    #RestInPower #BlackLivesMatter @RiseUpGeorgia – they organized a motorcade because the neighbourhood isn’t pedestrian friendly. Cyclists joined, too.

  164. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Head of Baltimore PD Union is so committed to avoiding the fact that Freddie Gray is fucking DEAD that he doesn’t even notice that speaking in euphemisms result in lying his ass off:

    Not one of the officers involved in this tragic situation left home in the morning with the anticipation that someone with whom they interacted would not go home that night …

    Ha. Ha. Ha.

    Nice one, Mr Ryan.

    Meanwhile, it might be useful to notice that the quote comes from a letter demanding the recusal of Mosby, the state’s attorney whose office is responsible for prosecuting the case. Why?

    Because
    1. She knows the victim’s attorney.
    2. She has talked to the victim’s attorney and the victim’s family during the course of her participation in the Freddie Grey case.
    3. She’s married to a politician.

    He has “full faith in [her] professional integrity,” but being married to a politician is an insurmountable conflict of interest.

    I see. That says quite a lot about Ryan’s definition of “professional integrity”. As confirmed elsewhere in the same letter:

    None of the officers involved are responsible for the death of Mr. Gray. To the contrary, at all times, [sic – excessive comma force is Ryan’s] each of the officers diligently balanced their obligations to protect Mr. Gray and discharge their duties to protect the public.

    Yeah, that’s what we’re worried about, Ryan. That’s what we’re worried about.

    Read the whole letter on its original letterhead here.

    …and, just for cynicism’s sake, I’ll leave this here without drawing any conclusions about the credibility of Ryan’s defense of the officers. No conclusions at all.

    Retired miami cop gets lots of current and former cops testifying to his good character.

    Despite video evidence that a former Miami police officer … molested a 7-year-old girl,[Crip Dyke: which, btw, also constitutes child pornography and led to conviction for same] not to mention a conviction for downloading hundreds of child porn videos, Juan Roman still has a stellar reputation among several of his former co-workers.

    After all, many of them wrote “character” letters on his behalf, asking for leniency,

    Yeah, he’s been convicted, but while waiting for sentencing a number of cops insist he’s one of their best and brightest, a bright moral beacon in a sea of midnight blue.

    :puke:

  165. rq says

    @WeCycleAtlanta leading the way! #RestInPower #BlackSpring
    Today. #RestInPower
    Photos from Georgia.

    WATCH: Unprovoked Baltimore cop pepper sprays passive protester wearing ‘F*ck the police’ t-shirt, as per CD above.

    Deputy police commissioner of internal affairs retiring – article from April 15.

    In Baltimore, Rodriguez created a Force Investigation Team to investigate all incidents in which police interactions resulted in death or serious injury.

    Under his direction, the department posted all use-of-force investigations on its website. However, the agency has been slow to release final reports of the incidents as promised; it has posted fewer than 10 final reports out of nearly 40 investigations listed since 2014.

    Police say complaints of discourtesy and excessive force have fallen by more than 40 percent in the past two years.

    When allegations of police misconduct or abuse surfaced, Rodriguez was most often called upon to address them at news conferences. That included this week, when a man was critically injured during his arrest near Gilmor Homes in West Baltimore.

    Rodriguez’s departure comes amid a federal review of the Police Department’s policies and procedures. Batts requested the review after The Baltimore Sun found that the city had paid $5.4 million in the past five years to settle hundreds of cases of alleged police brutality.

    The Justice Department meeting is open to the public. It is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. in Room 109 of the Coppin State University Physical Education Complex.

    Baltimore City Council member Brandon M. Scott said Rodriguez struck the right tone when he addressed misconduct or abuse investigations, but said his words did not add up to the level of transparency that police had pledged.

    “Switching the way they handled those kinds of incidents and changing the way they got out in front of them is what they did a great job of,” Scott said. “Unfortunately, with what’s still in place, the problem I have is that there’s not enough information being shared.”

    Scott said he hopes Rodriguez’s replacement is someone from the department’s ranks who “understands Baltimore.”

    There’s a lot to understand in Baltimore right now.

    Solidarity with #BaltimoreUprising from Madrid, Spain. #MayDay #BlackLivesMatter @Nettaaaaaaaa

    We are strong, we are loud, and we take up space #BlackSpring #TDOT2BMORE

  166. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Awwwww, mayor, you’re so transparent there’s a real risk that your constituents won’t even see your blackness.

    Under the curfew, residents were ordered to stay home from 22:00 until 05:00, and officials had been expected to keep it in place for another day.
    But on Sunday morning, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said she did not want to maintain it any longer than was necessary.
    “My goal has always been to not have the curfew in place a single day longer than was necessary,” the mayor wrote on her Twitter account. “I believe we have reached that point today.”

    Oh, you mean the point when the press first starts reporting on the racist disparity in enforcement? That point?

  167. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    What do the cops want?

    To get back their familiar unaccountable power, you know, that power that creates the aura of fear that for so long guaranteed instant civilian obedience!

    When do they want it?

    Now!

    Two officers approached the group about 10 minutes before the curfew went into effect and chatted with them about other neighborhood events having gone well and about respecting their First Amendment rights.

    One officer said police are “worn out,” and want things to “go back to normal” like everyone else.

    A protester said the recent protests have been about the fact that what’s normal in Baltimore isn’t what people want at all, and suggested the officer was “missing the point.”

    A-hem.

  168. rq says

    N.Y cop under investigation for racist Facebook post, fellow officers turned him in – which, I suppose, is encouraging.

    According to LoHud, police officer Brad DiCairano is under investigation for an image posted to his social media account.

    The post showed side-by-side photos of African-Americans on a van during last year’s protests in Ferguson, Missouri, next to a picture of baboons swarming a car driven by a white woman.

    Beneath the photo a caption read: “What can I say?”

    The picture comparing black people to baboons was posted on Wednesday as protests raged in Baltimore over the death of Freddie Gray. The account has since been shut down and Police Chief Christopher McNerney called the officers lapse in judgment “disturbing”.

    “I am very troubled and disappointed by this,” McNerney said. “Members of this department are held to the highest standard and we take all allegations of misconduct very seriously. I want to assure the members of the public and the men and women of this department that we will investigate this swiftly and appropriately.”

    DiCairano, who is currently on vacation, is already on limited duty due to a work-related injury. When he returns he faces having his responsibilities further limited as the department conducts an internal investigation.

    He joins a long list of first responders from the Lower Hudson Valley who have come under scrutiny for posting offensive images online and forwarding racist emails.

    After the racially disparate application of the curfew is exposed, @MayorSRB ends it immediately. #BaltimoreUprising

    Freddie Gray Went to an “Apartheid School”

    Many of the protesters venting their frustrations over the April 12 death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man who sustained fatal injuries while in Baltimore police custody, are equally fed up with the systemic failures that keep African Americans marginalized in Baltimore and elsewhere.

    Consider the city’s public schools. President Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and even Orioles execs have spoken out about inequality in Baltimore, touching on problematic trends in the neighborhood schools Gray and his peers attended. And while we don’t know much about Gray’s time in high school (apart from the fact he played football), we were able to dig up some facts about his alma mater, Carver Vocational-Technical High School, and some of the other schools around the Mondawmin Mall, where rioting first broke out.

    Demographics

    As of September 2014, 917 students were enrolled at Carver—98 percent black, 1 percent white. This lack of racial diversity qualifies Carver as an “apartheid school”—one where white students make up 1 percent or less of the student body, according to UCLA’s Civil Rights Project.
    Nearby Frederick Douglass High, the closest school to the mall, is also an apartheid school, and has the same percentage breakdown as above. Same with Maryland Academy of Technology and Health Sciences, a charter school near the mall.
    Apartheid schools, as you might expect, tend to have large numbers of low-income students. In 2011, the most recent year for which data was available, 79 percent of Carver’s kids qualified for free and reduced lunch. At Frederick Douglass, 83 percent did. This, according to the Civil Rights Project, “highlights the double segregation of students by race and class.”

    ACADEMICS

    In 2011, nearly half of Carver’s teachers missed more than 10 days of school. At Walt Whitman, a mostly white school in Bethesda, with few low-income students, only 9 percent did.
    Carver now offers Advanced Placement classes—which it didn’t when Gray attended—and students have fared poorly. In 2014, out of 73 AP exams taken by Carver students only one student did well enough—scoring a 3 out of 5—to earn college credit. In the two years preceding, no student got more than a 2.
    In the 2013-14 school year, a little more than half of the students at Frederick Douglass graduated in four years. Out of nearly 1,100 students, only 73 took the SAT. Average score: 990. (A perfect score is 2,400*.)
    In the 2013-14 school year, only 27 percent of the students at Maryland Academy of Technology and Health Sciences, a charter school, were proficient in math, and just over 50 percent were proficient in reading.

    DISCIPLINE

    During the 2011 school year, 88 Carver students received home suspensions. The wealthier Walt Whitman, with more than twice as many students, had 40. That disparity is consistent with US Department of Education data showing that black and Latino kids are disciplined at far higher rates than white students.

    Gray had been out of school for years by the time he died, but the realities of his school system likely played a role in his trajectory. So says Georgetown University sociologist Peter J. Cookson, whose book Class Rules: Exposing Inequality in America’s High Schools posits that schools are instrumental in the institutionalization of racism and class stratification. Cookson points out that, while physical segregation plays a role, there are other factors at play, including disparities in the safety of buildings, extracurricular and support activities, quality of curriculum, funding (earlier this month Gov. Larry Hogan suggested cutting $35.6 million in funding to Baltimore City Public Schools), and the ability of schools to recruit and retain good teachers.

    Dare we forget last fall’s viral video of a high-school teacher slamming a student into a row of lockers and saying, “I’ll kill you in here!” Yep, you probably know what’s coming: It was Carver High.

    Here’s a photo comparison, curfew enforcement among white people and among black people. @MayorSRB why are some people’s first amendment rights respected & not others #BaltimoreUprising

    “We Ain’t Choosing No Sides; We Just Choosing Our Side”

    It’s a few minutes before midnight on Wednesday and I’m sharing a cigarette with a Blood and Crip at a diner 20 minutes outside of Baltimore. It’s two hours past the government-imposed curfew on this broken city and outside its margins the unlikeliest of encounters is happening.

    Just two days earlier, Baltimore police put out a very different version of gang unity, issuing a memo — just hours after 25-year-old Freddie Gray’s funeral — warning that the rival gangs were planning a possible attack on cops.

    It put the city on edge, and as violence unfolded in the afternoon as teenagers were trapped in the streets and prevented from going home, the rival gangs watched on TV what was unfolding. The cops couldn’t have predicted this — who could have? — but instead the Bloods, the Crips, the BGF flipped it. Historically. And now, here, on a ramp leading into this diner, the preposterous is happening as Scooby, 27 and a Crip, and Flex, 25 and a Blood, bond over their newfound bond.

    “In what world, in what dimension, in what time,” Scooby says to Flex, “was I supposed to meet you and we’d be cool like that?” […]

    It was just down the hill where kids and cops first clashed on Monday and what sparked the gangs into the streets. Gang members told me that there was never an official sit-down; it all happened organically because the confusion on the streets was so severe — and the desire to protect their people from the cops and keep the others from damaging the buildings so intense and desperate — that in the swirl of chaos the colors just didn’t matter.

    Since then, they’ve been Facebooking each other and exchanging cell numbers. That’s how they got out the word to all meet at this Metro station at 2 p.m., their goal to police the kids and prevent more violence.

    Tragedy, Flex, and Bowden arrive and slowly more gang members begin to trickle in; school is getting out soon and cops begin to line up in full riot gear, protecting the entrance to the mall parking lot. The police are wary at first of the gangs coming together, and it’s a bizarre sight as the gangsters line the perimeter and position throughout the station, all the colors cohabitating.

    But as gang members admonish kids to not be stupid, to go home, to stay off the streets, cops watch as they self-police and choreograph positioning tactically, expertly, to achieve maximum impact. Within the hour, the cops concede the space to the gangs and retreat back to the parking lot, a remarkable achievement.
    Rojos, right

    Rojos is one of the first gang members who posts up at the station. He’s 27 and stands right next to a Crip. But early on there’s still a lot of apprehension from the cops; at times they seemed confused, unsure of what to do. There’s a lot of mound meetings. As I’m talking to Rojos, a white cop tells me that I can only stand there if I’m waiting for the bus, so I just circle around for the next hour, never standing anywhere too long.

    “We’re here to show [cops] that instead of them trying to shoot our youth, we can get the youth under control being leaders in the neighborhood,” Rojos says. “Not [because we’re] in gangs, but just being leaders in the neighborhood on a positive level. We doing something legal right now. We’re standing up for the cause, and not because.” […]

    “The Bloods and the Crips are coming together,” she says. “We’re sitting out here now just wanting to be citizens and just want to be helping.

    “I feel like until this over there’s always going to be a finger pointed at somebody. They want to point it at us, they want to blame it on us, then so be it. Somebody gotta get the finger pointed at and maybe that will be part of the solution.”

    She understands how the optics lead politicians and others to label them.

    “I don’t feel bad [when people call us thugs] because I’m going to look at them and say, I’m not a thug. I got my high school diploma, I got my GED, I went to two years of college. I’m going to Baltimore school of massage to study esthetics. I want to be a dermatologist. Even though I did decide to be a Crip, I’m still a citizen. I pay my taxes, I do right — I don’t brake into places, I don’t steal. A lot of us don’t do things like that. A lot of people put us in a [box] and that’s fine, I’m really used to being [seen] a statistic but to me, I’m not nowhere close to being a statistic.” […]

    This is where I first meet Scooby, the Crip who I shared a smoke with. He’s gregarious, but relentless in his desire to educate the outside world about his world, his poverty, Baltimore’s struggle. He’s been making the rounds this week with the media and appeared at a press conference with city council president Jack Young earlier this week alongside another Blood. I ask him how he feels about being framed as a thug by his mayor, governor, and president.

    “What the fuck is a thug? Everybody wants to call somebody a thug but has anybody gotten on TV and told you what the fuck a thug is yet? Because they don’t know. … Is there a difference between us right now and [the cops] right now? What’s the difference? I don’t see a difference so if I’m a thug, they a thug. Only difference is they got a gun, all I got is hands and feet. They have direct orders if things get out of hang to shoot and kill. I have direct orders just to make it home safe and make sure everybody else get home safe. So I don’t know who’s the thug?

    “I just feel like if you don’t understand something you shouldn’t speak on it. You come down here, we gonna show you nothing but love and a whole lotta respect. You talk to us; and if you not ready to talk to us, than don’t judge us.” […]

    There had been about a half dozen other media members at the station, encircling the same way I had been. But by 5 p.m. a lot of the gang members and most of the media had left. Then Treach from Naughty By Nature randomly shows up. He had driven down from New York City; he wanted to help ease any pain, try and calm people’s minds, he says. He tells me the media had already asked him why he was supporting the gangsters.

    “Because the gangsters control the streets — if the gangsters want peace, if the gangsters want a truce — if [people can’t] see the positive out of that? The gangbangers out here putting the truth down.”

    And that may be the biggest divide: Getting people to understand that the true nexus of power on the streets of Baltimore — it’s at this Metro station. […]

    It’s 7:00 p.m. and pastor Dr. Frank Reid is hosting a community meeting at the Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church and he’s invited the gangs. There’s been a lot of criticism about the clergy’s outreach to the gangs; but inside the church, there is universal frustration with how officials and police have framed the gangs as instigators, exasperation with the word thug. Councilwoman Helen Huton is here, and tells me, “I don’t use the word thug; that’s my colleagues. I have stated specifically, Do not use the word thug.”
    Dr. Frank Reid leads a prayer with gang members and members of the church.

    Melech Thomas, 27, and a youth minister, says: “How it made me feel as a black man? Carl Stokes said it best: It’s almost as if they just called me a nigger. Really. That’s really what it is, they wanted to say nigger, they wanted to say animal, so thug is a nice political translation of nigger.”

    Reid and the roughly 50 people in this church know how important a role the gang members play on the street. They are the last line of defense; all sides say they are desperate to work together. Nathanial, 25, a gang member, stands up. “I’m here to do anything I can do that’s possible. Anything,” he says. He comes across as genuine, the people respond to him.

    “A lot of people judge me, see my face tattoos and judge me automatically before I even open my mouth,” he says. “But when I open my mouth, I speak values.”

    Pledges are made to work together, numbers are exchanged. Will it matter? Despite skepticism about the intentions of the fans, the clergy has publicly promoted the partnership, amid criticism, and even the mayor’s office has been open to the idea. Flex, Tragedy and a few other gang members sit in the front pew and speak with the various pastors. Reid closes the meeting asking everyone in the room to hold hands.

    “Let’s link up arms as we gather tonight as one Baltimore, every color is your color, every sign is your sign, and we come now living in a city that the devil wants to divide and destroy. But we declare that there’s power in unity.” […]

    “You know how long I’ve been waiting for something like this?” Flex asks Scooby. “We had a peace treaty a long time ago, like in the ’90s. The police infiltrated it…But it’s stronger now, our bond is stronger now. I’ve been waiting for years for something like that. I was born into the gang; I’ve been bangin’ 25 years. So, aw, man, to see something like this, like brothers gathering?

    “I’m not even gonna lie. I cried.”

    “I cried last night,” Scooby says. “We made history.”

    They say that because of their unity, gangs in Oakland, D.C., Chicago and other cities are forming truces. But why would anyone believe any of this has longevity? Can a bunch of gangbangers from Baltimore change the modern makeup of gangs in this country? They ones at Double-T diner are convinced they can, they say they’re determine to make this stick, that they’re family now.

    “As kids, little innocent kids, you don’t know nothing, you blind to the world,” Scooby later tells Wilmore. “How do you think it would have benefitted us if we had older people — like us — around doing what we’re doing right now? It would have been big. And that’s what we’re doing for them. I’ve got kids. I’ve got two kids I’m doing this for my kids, their kids, your kids, everybody’s kids, we doing this for them. So that way, 15, 20 years down the line, they can be like, well, we safe because our daddies did this.” […]

    “From now on, Bloods, Crips, BGF we gonna control our own neighborhood we don’t need the police,” said an OG named Bigg Wolfe, “it’s our job from the beginning. We gonna sleep or own patrols it’s our own movement and if you ain’t with it that’s your issue. Bloods, Crips, BGF, man.”

    Tragedy was a bit more guarded. Partially because he’s always more like that when on the street, but also just conservative, too, about whether they are going to keep the truce going.

    “We gonna try,” he says. “We got put an effort to it though to do it. You can’t just say you gonna do it and then do something else. That’s what gets a lot of people mad then if you don’t do it it’s like you crushed their dreams or something.”

    Flex was in the shower listening to the radio when word came thr