In the aftermath of the failed Freddie Gray prosecutions/persecution, Baltimore continues to descend into even greater chaos than usual. Baltimore PD officers continue to abandon the city, not only in doing as little as possible, but those that can, by ending their employment. The BPD is having great difficulty recruiting suitable candidates to replace them, and is considering dramatically lowering hiring standards to allow serious drug users and other criminals to be hired.
Among the bits of farcical, tragic street theater was the “Nobody Kill Anybody” weekend, held the first weekend in August. Hot Air reports:
While the rest of the country was celebrating National Ice Cream Day, some concerned residents of Baltimore were planning a different sort of occasion. One mother with young children has been going around taping up flyers and walking up to the gang members on the street corners where drugs are sold and making a very simple plea to them for the first weekend in August. ‘Nobody kill anybody.’
A 44-year-old mother might seem an unusual visitor on the drug corners of Baltimore, but Erricka Bridgeford has shown up for weeks to make her pitch for peace.
Forget your grudges for one weekend, she urges the young men she finds. Help bring a 72-hour truce to a city besieged by gun violence.
‘It’s a citywide call,” she tells them, “but I’m talking to you.
While Bridgeford’s intentions were laudable, Fox News explains things didn’t work out as she hoped:
Baltimore activists’ attempt for a murder-free weekend proved to be too much to ask of the city, with at least three people shot, two of them killed, in less than 72 hours since guns were ordered to be put down.
This is to be expected in a city ruled by Democrats where the politicians attack the police and do everything they can to support vicious thugs, particularly thugs of color. The local CBS station—WJZ—illustrates the problem:
Chaos erupted Tuesday at a Baltimore City Hall hearing for a proposed mandatory one-year sentence for possession of an illegal handgun.
It took just minutes for rising tensions to overflow.
Council members had issued several warnings to unruly attendees, but police were called to move in as activists clashed with council members, and people pushed back.
City officials say they’re trying to end the slow motion massacre on the streets of Baltimore by putting a gun law back on the books that says those found guilty of carrying an illegal gun will be given a mandatory year-long sentence.
Obviously, they removed the previous law because they considered a year in jail—essentially a misdemeanor sentence—just too burdensome on criminals using guns to injure and kill others. Why would they object to it now?
Council member Brandon Scott, of the 2nd district, says he’s against the bill in any form.
‘The amendments make the bill easier to stomach, it still doesn’t change the fact that I disagree with the bill in its entirety and its principles of mandatory minimums,’ he says.
And what would Scott propose? Asking thugs not to kill each other or innocents for even a few days didn’t work out. Who would have thought the most anti-social elements in society would be anti-social? The short article does not speak—at all—to why people engaged in a near riot, but it takes little imagination to consider it was the intersection of racial politics and progressivism. Not only some city council members, but many members of Baltimore’s Black community are absolutely against young black men, who are the people responsible for most of the criminal violence in Baltimore, being arrested for their crimes or facing any significant punishment, even as little as a year in jail. They prefer to think of such things as social issues rather than crimes, issues that can be addressed by the same miserably failed policies of decades of progressive rule. However, not all residents are so deluded, and this includes black residents, who comprise most of the victims of Baltimore’s criminals.
One of the staunchest supporters of the bill says he’s not a fan of the amendments, but he was willing to compromise in order to get closer to the goal.
‘I have dozens and dozens of constituents who have reached out about this, and they are frankly sick and tired of people illegally carrying guns on the street and wreaking havoc on out communities,’ says Eric Costello of the 11th district.’
Under the amended version of the bill, a mandatory minimum sentence would only apply to second offenses, except for first time offenders whose gun violation was committed along with another crime.
As long as Baltimore’s law makers are resolved not to make criminal law that might have any hope in deterring crime, Baltimore will continue, more and more, to resemble Detroit.
More recently, the only unresolved issues relating to the Gray incident are coming closer to resolution, as The Baltimore Sun reports:
Five officers facing internal discipline by the Baltimore Police Department in connection with the arrest and death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray in 2015 will have public departmental trials this fall and winter, according to the online trial board schedule and a police union attorney.
Three of them face termination — the most severe punishment now possible locally after city prosecutors failed to secure a single criminal conviction in the case. Officials have not announced findings in a separate federal investigation into Gray’s death.
The administrative trial of Officer Caesar Goodson Jr., the driver of the police van in which prosecutors said Gray suffered his fatal neck injuries, is scheduled for Oct. 30 to Nov. 3.
Lt. Brian Rice’s trial is Nov. 13-17; Sgt. Alicia White’s is Dec. 5-11; Officer Garrett Miller’s is Dec. 18-19; and Officer Edward Nero’s is Dec. 20-21. The officers will attend their hearings.
A recent state law makes such hearings public, but the results remain private, which is rather an odd state of affairs. In fact, it would seem to more or less force leaks so the public can be informed of the result of trials they’ve watched. Perhaps this was the intent of the politicians that passed the law. Hearing boards are comprised of three police officers who make a recommendation, but the Police Commissioner, Kevin Davis, has the final say on any punishment.
Police reform advocates in the city have long pushed to put civilians on trial boards, but the local police union has rejected that idea and state law prohibits the city from putting civilians on the boards without the union’s consent.
City officials, including Davis and Mayor Catherine Pugh, have said they are pushing for the placement of civilians on the boards as part of the their ongoing contract negotiations with the union.
This may sound reasonable, but is rife with potential problems. Citizens, with few exceptions, know nothing of the realities of police work, to say nothing of the law. While police officers may tend to be overly protective of their fellows, they can also be particularly hard on them. In Baltimore, the tendency would be to ensure “community activists” or “community organizers” packed any board, ensuring a social justice outcome rather than one guided by the rule of law, which is doubtless why “police reform advocates” are so determined to place their peers on such boards. An example:
Tessa Hill-Aston, president of the Baltimore branch of the NAACP, said she is glad the officers are facing discipline.
‘The bottom line, like I’ve always said, is that Freddie is dead, and at the hands of the Police Department,’ she said. ‘Someone should be held accountable, and if they couldn’t be held accountable in the court system, they should be held accountable internally.’
In Baltimore and across the country, Hill-Aston said, ‘we have to let the community see that when police do bad things and do not perform their jobs well, that there are some repercussions.
Hill-Aston tends to forget the repercussions visited on Baltimore by Marilyn Mosby’s political prosecutions of six innocent police officers. Rioting, racial strife, untold millions in damages, continuing unrest, skyrocketing crime rates, and enormous damage to the tax base of Baltimore are only some of the consequences. The officers too have suffered, racking up legal bills in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, bills whose end is nowhere in sight. In addition, though innocent, there is nowhere the officers can go to get their reputations back. In some circles, they will, forever more, be infamous, and will bear targets on their backs for the rest of their lives.
…Goodson, Rice and White face firing — after investigators from the Montgomery and Howard County police departments finished their review of the case. Nero and Miller, who made the initial arrest of Gray, face five days suspension without pay.
Only officer Porter, whose trial—the first of all the officers—ended in a mistrial, does not face departmental discipline, a development pregnant with irony.
Another development that will doubtless have social justice warriors screaming in anguish and outrage—which is pretty much their status quo—is the Federal Department of Justice’s announcement that there will be no charges filed against the officers for violations of Freddie Gray’s Civil Rights. The DOJ’s decision (available here) is brief, but concise and authoritative. An excerpt:
The Department examined the facts in this case under all relevant criminal statutes. The principal criminal statute applicable to these facts is Title 18, United States Code, Section 242, Deprivation of Rights Under Color of Law. In order to proceed with a prosecution under Section 242, prosecutors must first establish beyond a reasonable doubt that a law enforcement officer deprived an individual of a constitutional right. Prosecutors considered multiple theories of liability, based on multiple constitutional provisions, including theories of false arrest, excessive force, and deliberate indifference to the risk of serious harm to Gray.
Additionally, to prove that any police encounter violated section 242, the government must also prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the officer acted willfully. This high legal standard – one of the highest standards of intent imposed by law – requires proof that the officer acted with the specific intent to do something the law forbids. It is not enough to show that the officer made a mistake, acted negligently, acted by accident, or even exercised bad judgment.
Although Gray’s death is undeniably tragic, the evidence in this case is insufficient to meet these substantial evidentiary requirements. In light of this, and for the reasons explained below, this matter is not a prosecutable violation of the federal civil rights statutes.
In other words, the DOJ analyzed the case exactly as any competent prosecutor should have done, and precisely as Marilyn Mosby and her corrupt band of progressives refused to do. The DOJ continued:
Lieutenant Brian Rice, Sergeant Alicia White, Officer William Porter, Officer Garrett Miller, and Officer Edward Nero each provided detailed statements to local investigators offering their version of what happened near the time of Gray’s fatal injury. Officers Porter, Miller, and Nero also testified about the matter in state criminal trials. In order to pursue any prosecution in this case, the government would have to disprove these accounts and establish that the officers’ actions or inactions with respect to Gray constituted a willful violation of Gray’s Fourth Amendment or Fourteenth Amendment rights. During a detailed and thorough investigation, the Department reviewed and analyzed numerous interviews of witnesses to the events surrounding Gray’s injury. In determining whether it was possible to disprove the officers’ statements beyond a reasonable doubt, the Department took into account all of the evidence in the case, including, among other things, all witness statements, any video and audio evidence, medical evidence, and other relevant documents. The Department considered all of the evidence in light of the legal standards for proving criminal cases of false arrest, excessive force, and deliberate indifference.
The Federal report provides the most complete recitation of the facts to date, which one would hope to be the case considering they had access not only to all physical and testimonial evidence, but the trial records. I am gratified that their conclusions mirror the conclusions to which I, while relying on much less evidence, came. The only lawful outcome of the case was evident from the beginning, as was Marilyn Mosby’s—and her lead prosecutor’s–incompetence and bad will.
I am also gratified that the prosecutors of the Sessions DOJ obviously honored their oaths of office in following the Constitution, which assured the rule of law would be their defining standard. Had this decision been made by Obamite lawyers, it’s entirely possible the decision would have been determined by Leftist politics—social justice—instead.
By all means, read the DOJ’s report, which is not long. It’s an example of what should have been done in this case from the beginning, potentially sparing Baltimore, and the nation, a great deal of misery. Remaining to be resolved is the civil suit filed against Marilyn Mosby, and the departmental hearings. The DOJ’s decision may be helpful to the officers in both endeavors.