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.
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.
Tariq Rashad Pennsylvania 17 hours ago
I’ve served in the U.S. Marine Corps. Completed a tour of duty in the Iraq war. Earned a college education. I enjoy a life that is truly rewarding, prosperous, and fulfilling. I can say, without reservation, that I love this country to my very core. Compared to many countries I’ve lived in, or merely visited, America is, and has always been, uniquely special. But as I read this editorial, I’m forced to reflect : On the (still!) deplorable conditions of urban African-Americans. The hellish policies that were enacted in many metropolises to protect White privilege. Today’s sclerotic Black political leadership who merely provide symbolism over substance. The collective denial of what is so obviously a stark legacy of our nations’s original sin. Or the many apologists for dysfunctional behavior of segments of the Black urban poor. I weep for my country that is greater than itself. My country that is preventing itself from fulfilling its ultimate destiny. How far more advanced would America have been if it hadn’t squandered generations of human potential through apartheid? How many potential doctors, lawyers, engineers, architects, police officers, nurses, teachers, entrepreneurs, or captains of industry was American society deprived of due to whole generations of people having been ground down into the dust of confined poverty – for no reason other than because of their race? African-Americans have always pledged allegiance to the Republic. When will there be reciprocity?
jhussey41 Illinois 16 hours ago
I get your point. We have been told for the last 50 years if we did “X”, or invested “Y” , the problem of inner city poverty and crime would get better. The addition of a massive police presence was demanded because crime was out of control. Now we are told the massive police presence is brutalizing the community. You can understand if the rest of the country asks “when is Baltimore going to help Baltimore?”. The entire leadership of Baltimore is African American. They discuss the issues of Baltimore in the third person. Come on. We aren’t buying Racism is causing the problem. People living there are causing the problem. Start taking responsibility for your own community. Perhaps all the assistance is ruining Baltimore. That’s one lesson from the lat 50 years.
Jerry Hough is a trusted commenter Durham, NC Yesterday
This editorial is what is wrong. The Democrats are an alliance of Westchester and Harlem, of Montgomery County and intercity Baltimore. Westchester and Montgomery get a Citigroup asset stimulus policy that triples the market. The blacks get a decline in wages after inflation.But the blacks get symbolic recognition in an utterly incompetent mayor who handled this so badly from beginning to end that her resignation would be demanded if she were white.The blacks get awful editorials like this that tell them to feel sorry for themselves.
In 1965 the Asians were discriminated against as least as badly as blacks. That was reflected in the word “colored.” The racism against what even Eleanor Roosevelt called the yellow races was at least as bad.So where are the editorials that say racism doomed the Asian-Americans. They didn’t feel sorry for themselves, but worked doubly hard. I am a professor at Duke University. Every Asian student has a very simple old American first name that symbolizes their desire for integration. Virtually every black has a strange new name that symbolizes their lack of desire for integration. The amount of Asian-white dating is enormous and so surely will be the intermarriage. Black-white dating is almost non-existemt because of the ostracism by blacks of anyone who dates a white.It was appropriate that a Chinese design won the competition for the Martin Luther King state. King helped them overcome. The blacks followed Malcolm X.
jubilee133 Woodstock, New York 18 hours ago
You did it!You isolated the reason hundreds of rioters looted the CVS and burnt dozens of buildings to the ground in their own neighborhood. They were making it possible to build new wealth in the neighborhood, kind of a self-help urban renewal program facilitated by the Bloods and the Crips.While providing historical persepctive, you glossed over the devastation of the prior rioting in the 1960s and the ascension of a black middle class which basically rules Baltimore, including a balck mayor and prosecutor.TThis is currently a class struggle between middle class and low income blacks who cannot escape poverty like every other ethnic group through education and you have no answers for that.So, the bogeyman of “white racism” is paraded around as the answer to the “isolation” of low income black neighborhoods. Did you not see the recent video of the white public school teacher assaulted by a black parent for insisting on some student discipline in the classroom? The teacher’s actions were considered “racist” by the parent.Let us know when you get serious about all the reasons for continued low income black neighborhoods. hree of the six indicted cops are black.
Tom Los Angeles 14 hours ago
Sorry. I simply don’t buy this. Maryland is among the bluest of blue states run mostly by liberal Democrats for at least a generation. It also has the highest average income in the nation. Prince George’s County, a large majority black middle income suburban county is in Maryland. I currently live in a southern state (South Carolina). Maryland is nothing like South Carolina. If Baltimore is a failure as a city, it is because of neoliberal, progressive, anti-business policies. Both whites and blacks have fled. In case you haven’t noticed, Baltimore County (suburban) is quite diverse. Martin O’Malley is a well known progressive who was both mayor of Baltimore and governor of Maryland who obvious failed to deal with the root causes of Baltimore’s problems. What the left behind in Baltimore need are jobs and an expectation that people need to work and support themselves.
These need to be “real” jobs, not $8/hr jobs at a McDonalds.
Unless we adjust our trade and industrial policy, this will be impossible. Southern states, including South Carolina, are doing a much better job attracting well-paying industrial jobs that benefit the working class than some of their counterparts elsewhere. Maybe Mayor Rawlings-Blake needs to spend time with Charleston’s long term mayor, Joe Riley to learn how to attract job generating businesses.
Dalloway Washington, DC 17 hours ago
A tendentious and deliberately provocative editorial. Baltimore is not a “Southern city”– as if that were grounds for indictment. Its leaders and state leaders — of both parties and races — have plowed tax dollars from wealthier parts of the state into Baltimore for decades. The problem is Baltimore was a great industrial hub that died when steel and other industry went overseas. Black and white workers lost their jobs, and they have never fully recovered. Mayor, then governor, Donald Schaefer feverishly worked to revive the city and the job market with huge redevelopment projects, but service jobs don’t pay what the steel mills did. It’s not just black people who have suffered. The poorest, most destitute white people in America live in Baltimore, having moved decades ago from Appalachia for mill jobs.It is not a city where the races hate each other. The Times editorial writers ought to get out more and actually see what they are looking down their noses at.
Baltimore riots: Who was Freddie Gray, and what caused a neighbourhood to turn on itself?
Four charts that explain why Baltimore’s citizens turned on their own city
HEATHER SAUL AND ANDREW BUNCOMBE NEW YORK
Wednesday 29 April 2015
“A riot is the language of the unheard.”
The words of Martin Luther King, first made in 1966 during an interview with Mike Wallace of CBS, echoed around the streets of Baltimore today as people sought an explanation for the violence that wrecked part of the city and stunned the nation.
Community leaders, to a person, said the rioting and looting could not be condoned and many drew a sharp distinction between those who had for many days engaged in peaceful protests in the aftermath of the death of Freddie Gray and the violence that erupted on Monday afternoon.
Martin Luther King Jr (Rex)
At the same time, commentators pointed to a divided city, a community where not everybody felt included and did not feel they were part of so-called Charm City.
They pointed to figures that revealed a police force that had paid out more almost $6m since 2011 to suspects against whom they had used unnecessary force, of unemployment rates among some sections of the community that reached 70 per cent.
Some young black people, they suggested, feel as disenfranchised and disengaged as their counterparts did in April 1968 when riots broke out in the city – and in more than 100 cities across the country – in the aftermath of the assassination of Dr King.
Dan Rodericks, a columnist for the Baltimore Sun, reminded his readers that back in the 1980s, Billy Murphy, a man who now serves as the lawyer for the family of Freddie Gray, ran for mayor, raising the issue of “the other Baltimore – the one you can’t see from the Inner Harbor — the poor and broken Baltimore that never seemed to get the attention it needed”.
Mr Murphy again raised the issue himself, telling a CNN anchor that she needed to get past the “blame game”.
When it was put to him that some of those who had been hurling stones at the police on Monday were aged no more than 13 or 14, he replied: “That shows the level of alienation that exists. That does not justify it, but it explains it.”
He added: “I think it is more important to ask ‘why’ in these circumstances.”
Who was Freddie Gray, and where was he from?
Gray was arrested on 12 April and died a week later of a spinal injury he allegedly sustained either while being arrested or while being transported in the police van. The 25-year-old’s funeral on Monday was followed by violent riots and looting, leading the mayor to announce a week-long curfew and public schools to shut their doors on Tuesday.
The rioters set police cars and buildings on fire in several neighbourhoods, looted a mall and alcohol stores, set fire to shops and buildings, and threw rocks at police with riot gear.
Freddie Gray’s mother, Gloria Darden, and lawyer Billy Murphy, appealed for calm
Gray was raised in Sandtown-Winchester, a poverty-stricken area of west Baltimore where almost 50 per cent of residents are unemployed. A third of properties in the neighbourhood are abandoned and a quarter of families receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), statistics from the Justice Policy Institute (JPI) show.
He was living off a pay-out from a lead-paint lawsuit filed on his behalf and on behalf of his two sisters against the owner of their child-hood home, according to the Washington Post.
It quotes court-papers citing walls and windowsills containing enough lead to “poison the children and leave them incapable of leading functional lives”. Over seven per cent of children living in this area aged six and under have elevated blood-lead levels, the JPI’s statistics show.
The median household income for this area is substantially lower than the national average of America, with each home surviving on just $24,000 (£15, 700) yearly.
The escalating situation has been compared to unrest in Ferguson after the death of black teenager Michael Brown at the hands of a white police officer. Ferguson is another area blighted by poverty, with data showing one in four families living below the federal poverty line in 2012.
Life in Sandtown-Winchester
6:23 PM EDT
March 20, 2015: Possession of a Controlled Dangerous Substance
March 13, 2015: Malicious destruction of property, second-degree assault
January 20, 2015: Fourth-degree burglary, trespassing
January 14, 2015: Possession of a controlled dangerous substance, possession of a controlled dangerous substance with intent to distribute
December 31, 2014: Possession of narcotics with intent to distribute
December 14, 2014: Possession of a controlled dangerous substance
August 31, 2014: Illegal gambling, trespassing
January 25, 2014: Possession of marijuana
September 28, 2013: Distribution of narcotics, unlawful possession of a controlled dangerous substance, second-degree assault, second-degree escape
April 13, 2012: Possession of a controlled dangerous substance with intent to distribute, unlawful possession of a controlled dangerous substance, violation of probation
July 16, 2008: Possession of a controlled dangerous substance, possession with intent to distribute
March 28, 2008: Unlawful possession of a controlled dangerous substance
March 14, 2008: Possession of a controlled dangerous substance with intent to manufacture and distribute
February 11, 2008: Unlawful possession of a controlled dangerous substance, possession of a controlled dangerous substance
August 29, 2007: Possession of a controlled dangerous substance with intent to distribute, violation of probation
August 28, 2007: Possession of marijuana
August 23, 2007: False statement to a peace officer, unlawful possession of a controlled dangerous substance
July 16, 2007: Possession of a controlled dangerous substance with intent to distribute, unlawful possession of a controlled dangerous substance (2 counts)
Even the WaPo said he was “well known” to local police
6:55 PM EDT
When will blacks begin to behave in a normal, civilized, and responsible manner? When will inner-city black youth stop committing street crime, drug dealing, and killing each other? When will the black community take responsibility for their own actions (and inactions)? When will they stop listening to self-serving, opportunist race baiters? Don’t they see what they are doing? Why can’t they raise their off-spring with values and respect for others and their community? They need new leadership, honest self-reflection, and a respect for education and personal accountability. Otherwise they will continue to fail and live on the fringes of greater society.
6:56 PM EDT [Edited]
Spoken like a man with absolutely zero experience being black and poor. Good job not letting your complete ignorance get in the way of your total certainty.
6:58 PM EDT
I lived in Baltimore and saw the problem everyday. Stop amking excuses and accept reality.
7:25 PM EDT [Edited]
“But the “Black Lives Matter” campaign should continue – until they actually do.”
I could not agree with you more Eugene.
So when do you write an opinion piece of the wondrous women who really care about their children, who force them to school, who “lose it” when they see their child with a brick in his hand? Is it a part of wealthy liberal “guilt” that make you support parents who let their kids riot and loot while blaming “society”? Is it the same that KEEPS you from speaking to the HUGE number of young men dead in the streets from the violent CULTURE they live in. Never speak to the culture that continues this generation after generation, not to the victimhood that supports the same. It has to be someone else’s fault right Eugene?
Who was Freddie Gray