In the Freddie Gray case, the most significant remaining issue is Marilyn Mosby’s legal problems. I am, of course, more or less ignoring the damage Mosby did–and continues to do–to the rule of law and the havoc that continues to descend on Baltimore. Mosby has been sued, by all but one of the officers she charged, for false arrest and defamation, and a credible complaint against her for serial violations of legal ethics still stands before the Maryland Bar. Little of note has occurred in the first matter since August, and the Bar will keep its proceedings as secret as possible, and may never announce its decision, if indeed it is actually proceeding with an investigation, or merely doing an FBI/Loretta Lynch cover up disguised as an investigation. I suspect, however, Mosby will hasten to proclaim her innocence and virtue when and if she can.
In the meantime, there have been a few interesting developments on other fronts, such as this from Vox.com:
It’s even clearer now than after Freddie Gray’s death: The Baltimore Police Department is a disaster.
Between the time the officers were acquitted and Monday’s announcement about the backpay they’ll receive, a Department of Justice investigation confirmed that the Baltimore Police Department was doing everything protestors said and more. Vox’s German Lopez summarized the DOJ report’s nine most damning findings:
- Baltimore police target black Americans, even when they’re totally innocent of any crimes;
- Baltimore officers escalate typical policing situations into violence for no good reason;
- Before Freddie Gray, police were warned about the dangerous transportation practices that killed him;
- Good community policing was very rare — typically left to a few cops who defied systemic problems;
- There are ‘two Baltimores’ — one white, one black — when it comes to policing;
- Baltimore police regularly violate people’s First Amendment rights;
- Baltimore police may not seriously investigate sexual assault cases;
- There’s little to no supervision and accountability at the Baltimore Police Department; and
- Virtually all parties — even Baltimore police officers — agree reform is needed.
He went on to write that it’s easy to see how almost all of these major flaws could have played into Gray’s arrest and the fact that he lost his life in police custody:
In the Justice Department’s very damning report on the Baltimore Police Department, Freddie Gray’s name was seldom mentioned — but it rang through all the findings as a reminder of just how horribly every aspect of policing can go.
The report found a police force that got virtually everything wrong — pedestrian and traffic stops, use of force, arrests, transportation, training, oversight, accountability, basic interactions with the community, racial bias.
In this brief article, Vox seeks to keep the narrative alive. Despite the fact that even a social justice cracktivist like Marilyn Mosby finally had to admit she had no evidence whatever to convict any of the officers on any charge, Her fellow travelers need to suggest the BPD’s supposed woes were somehow visited on Freddie Gray.
Considering the complete progressive weaponization of the Obama/Lynch Department of Justice, nothing that agency says can be trusted. What are the odds that every single police agency it has investigated is a hotbed of racism? I’ve read the DOJ Baltimore report. It’s pathetic. All manner of allegations are made, with no real proof. Anecdotes that support the social justice narrative suffice. Statistics are either false or manipulated to produce preconceived results, and Brobdingnagian leaps of logic abound.
Let’s briefly examine Vox’s nine points:
Baltimore police target black Americans, even when they’re totally innocent of any crimes;
And the evidence of this is? People stopped by the police, other than criminals actively committing crimes, often have no idea why they’re being stopped. They simply don’t know what the police know, or the law relating to such stops. When they later say “the pigs harassed me for no reason, man,” that is hardly proof of police abuses. No doubt, Freddie Gray would have made similar assertions.
Baltimore officers escalate typical policing situations into violence for no good reason;
Says who? Define “violence.” Again, the report is devoid of convincing evidence of this assertion. A few unsupported anecdotes prove nothing other than people can tell stories. Officers can use whatever force is necessary to make arrests even if the people they are arresting can’t accurately explain why they’re being arrested.
Before Freddie Gray, police were warned about the dangerous transportation practices that killed him;
There is no evidence whatever that Gray was killed by “dangerous transportation practices.” Hundreds of thousands of arrestees, over decades, were transported just as Gray was—in a van without seatbelts–without the slightest injury.
Good community policing was very rare — typically left to a few cops who defied systemic problems;
If we assume this is true, and with the rest of the report, this too is likely false, this is an issue of department policy and supervision. Most higher-ranking officers in the BPD are black, and more than half the agency is staffed by minorities. The leadership of the city are black democrats. One might ask why cities run by black democrats are such cesspools of corruption and racism?
There are ‘two Baltimores’ — one white, one black — when it comes to policing;
This is true, as far as it goes, but the implication is misleading, at best. Black Baltimore is populated by many criminals, who commit most of the crimes in Baltimore. Therefore, police spend most of their time and energies in those neighborhoods. White Baltimore—the minority–commits relatively few of the crimes, and the police allocate their efforts accordingly.
Baltimore police regularly violate people’s First Amendment rights;
If it’s by preventing riots, one might consider that a good thing. However, it’s hard to imagine how the police might do that on a systematic basis. Do the police keep people from publishing? From rioting? If so, Mayor Rawlings-Blake must have altered her “space to destroy” policy.
Baltimore police may not seriously investigate sexual assault cases;
“May not?” The police may not be space aliens, but there’s no proof of that either. Don’t they know if it’s true or not? Is there no evidence, or perhaps, just potential evidence that may or may not exist?
There’s little to no supervision and accountability at the Baltimore Police Department;
Again, where’s the proof of this, and by which criteria is this judged?
Virtually all parties — even Baltimore police officers — agree reform is needed.
Agreeing “reform” is needed—if we assume this is true–is as nebulous an assertion as is possible to make. A BPD officer’s idea of necessary internal reforms is likely to be very different than that of a BLM professional protestor, Loretta Lynch or Marilyn Mosby.
As I’ve often written, I know nothing of substance about the Baltimore Police Department, but the DOJ report is as far from helpful, if the goal is to produce professional, effective policing, as it is possible to be.
Another issue that has raised the ire of the BLM/Social Justice communities is innocent officers receiving the back pay due them, as The Baltimore Sun reports:
Two more Baltimore police officers, cleared of charges in the death of Freddie Gray, are set to receive a combined $167,000 in back pay.
The city’s Board of Estimates on Wednesday is scheduled to authorize a payment of $96,855 to Officer Alicia White and $70,523 to Officer William Porter.
White and Porter were cleared of manslaughter, misconduct and other charges on July 27, when Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby decided to drop the charges against them.
White and Porter were among four officers charged with felonies in connection with Gray’s arrest and death. They had been suspended without pay since May 1, 2015, under police department policy. Having been acquitted, they are now entitled to back pay under that policy.
Earlier this month, the Board of Estimates, which is controlled by Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, authorized a payment of $126,916 to Lt. Brian Rice, the highest-ranking officer charged in Gray’s death
Last month, the city’s spending panel approved $87,705 in back pay for Officer Caesar Goodson Jr., the driver of the van in which Gray sustained his injuries. Both Rice and Goodson were acquitted at trial by Circuit Judge Barry Williams, who found them not guilty of all charges.
Why would this be outrageous to anyone? Because they murdered Freddie Gray! Social justice must always take precedence over the rule of law.
We also learn that crime, since the Freddie Gray riots, is out of control, but as with all else, there is a rational explanation and solution, and a social justice explanation and solution. The Washington Post reports:
They’d [honest, law-abiding Baltimore citizens] come to the same church on the same night to confront the same quandary facing this city’s beleaguered police department. But what they wanted from the police couldn’t have been more different.
Eight days had passed since the Justice Department issued a scathing review of the Baltimore Police Department, detailing years of racial discrimination in its law enforcement practices.
Yet the 40 or so longtime residents who gathered in a West Baltimore church basement on this August night — many of whom were older black women afraid to walk to the store or leave their homes at night — had come to urge police to clear their corners of miscreants and restore order to their crime-plagued community.
‘Please, help me,’ pleaded gas station owner Chaudhry Masood, whose parking lot has been overrun by loiterers and where a 17-year-old was recently shot and killed.
That would seem easy to accomplish, but the DOJ has other ideas:
At the same time, in an adjacent church hall, Justice Department civil rights attorneys were discussing how to overhaul the police department with another group of residents intent on curbing the abusive behavior of corner-clearing cops. Those attending included black youths long targeted by police.
“Corner-clearing cops.” The horror. I’d be interested to see the criminal records of those poor “black youths long targeted by police.”
The [DOJ] report concluded that Baltimore officers had ‘nearly unfettered discretion to criminalize the act of standing on public sidewalks.”
But for the residents gathered in the St. Peter’s basement, the shootings, robberies and assaults they live with are just as pressing as police abuses.
One man wanted to know where the promised foot patrol officers were. Arlene Fisher, a social worker who has lived all of her 67 years in West Baltimore, said the corner stores that dot the sullen landscape are petitioning to stay open 24 hours.
‘They’ll become a gathering place causing problems,’ Fisher predicted. ‘We’ll need more police to watch it.’
Residents don’t like to call 911 when the corners fill, but Fisher said that without better places for young people to congregate, they have no choice. She looked down and whispered, ‘We have to.’
At the front of the room stood Maj. Sheree Briscoe, who runs the police department’s Western District in the post-Freddie Gray era. She and other commanders are caught between competing forces — curtail crime as the residents want, and change the way policing is practiced as the Justice Department demands.
‘It’s not easy,’ she acknowledged in an interview.
No police officer arrests anyone for merely standing on a public sidewalk, but the social justice narrative demands such people be innocent victims of police abuse, so this sort of twisting of language and law is mandatory. Here we see the effect of the DOJ’s wholesale seizure of local law enforcement, in Baltimore, Ferguson, and elsewhere. The police are prevented from using the entirely lawful tools available to them, such as Stop and Frisk, and criminals take full advantage of it. By all means, take the link and read the rest of the Post’s article. Here are honest, mostly black, citizens that want the police to prevent crime by breaking up groups of loitering drug dealers, users and other criminals. They are also reticent to admit the criminals they fear are also black, yet those criminals are so predatory, they have no choice.
And then we have the forces of social justice, led by the DOJ, who see their mission as keeping the police from doing their jobs, in effect, giving criminals free reign. This is the same social justice movement/DOJ that wants to release most criminals from prison on the theory that the huge numbers of blacks in prison is itself evidence of racism. Baltimore’s poor, black residents would no doubt argue that more of the black predators that bedevil them should be in prison, but the DOJ and their elite enablers know better. Just another legacy of Freddie Gray, holy social justice martyr.
There is yet another event causing consternation in social justice circles. The Baltimore Sun reports:
Less noticed was an equally controversial event involving at least three of the six police officers who were charged in Gray’s death. Lt. Brian Rice and Officers Garrett Miller and Edward Nero appeared at a black-tie gala in Washington, D.C. on Sept. 22 to be honored by the Media Research Center, the right-wing ‘media watchdog’ founded by Brent Bozell III. Rarely have we heard of individuals so recently on Baltimore’s criminal docket treated so extravagantly or praised so highly. Conservative commentator Deneen Borelli called the charges filed against them the result of ‘politics at its very worst.’
Was there any mention of Gray, the 25-year-old who died in their custody from a severe spinal cord injury — or the ongoing internal investigation into the officers’ actions and the possible disciplinary charges they face? Such details might have put a damper on the festivities, which included a standing ovation for officers Ms. Borelli described in heroic terms — ‘fighting for their lives, their careers destroyed, bankrupted, humiliated.
We can’t have that now, can we? Those officers are going to have to be punished—more. Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis makes clear, without actually saying it, the officers are far from clear of the curse of stumbling onto Freddie Gray:
The incident angered Commissioner Kevin Davis who told WBAL-TV that he’d like to explore whether existing regulations actually allow officers to attend such an event hosted by a ‘fringe group’ that is ‘divisive’ and ‘doesn’t speak to the values of Baltimore.
I had no idea that being appointed Police Commissioner also includes the lawful authority to determine with whom officers may associate during their off duty hours, or to determine who, and which organizations, “speak to the values of Baltimore.” One might be forgiven for thinking those values include drug dealing and use, burglary, destruction of property, assault, arson and murder. Obviously, officers should not associate with known criminals, or people of low morals, such as politicians and social justice activists, but beyond that, Davis is obviously seeking to make policing even more politically correct than it already is in Baltimore. In other words, he is a wholly owned subsidiary of the social justice movement.
The smart thing for Davis would be to seize the out given him not only by Judge Williams, but very reluctantly by Marilyn Mosby. The officers have been found not guilty. Why further alienate the rank and file officers of Baltimore? Is this an attempt to get a Shylockian pound of flesh? It must inevitably fail, for even if Davis convicts the officers of some supposed violation of procedure in an administrative kangaroo court with a predetermined outcome, it will not, for a moment, satisfy social justice cracktivists. Even the deaths of the officers wouldn’t do that, because they live for the next holy martyr, and their demands and complaints never end. They are the eternally aggrieved, but unlike the unfortunate victims of an angry Greek god, they gladly choose their plight. It certainly will not heal the widening chasms between police and prosecutor, working officers and their administrative bosses, the citizens of Baltimore and every arm of city government.
Continuing to pursue the officers in the manner of Inspector Javert will only keep the spectacle of Freddie Gray at the forefront of public consciousness. It will further widen the chasm within the police department, and give social justice cracktivists more ammunition and impetus to continue to make demands and keep the racial pot stirred. A smart man would end it—all–as soon as possible.
But what fun would that be?