Baltimore; a city in decay and ruin? The city that was once called “The land of Pleasant Living” is taking on a new image, as May becomes the deadliest month in over 15 years, after the deadly Memorial Day weekend violence that left nine dead in 29 different shootings. Thus far, the “City of Barbarity” has racked up 35 homicides this past month, with four more days to go.
Council member Mary Pat Clarke stated that she believes this month’s violence is a direct result of the riots and unrest the city felt over the death of Freddie Gray. *I don’t do this much, but give that woman 10 points for that “Captain Obvious” statement.
This month’s homicide statistics arrived amid reports that Baltimore police officers have not only lost confidence in their upper management, but have decided among themselves that if the local community doesn’t appreciate their efforts, they will rely less on their input. According to one Baltimore officer, who spoke with a CNN reporter, the drops in arrests and the increase in murders is a direct reflection of officers refusing to “go the extra mile”.
Just last week, a Baltimore grand jury handed down indictments for six officers involved in the Gray case. The officers face a variety of charges from involuntary manslaughter to reckless endangerment, but the driver of the “paddy wagon”, Caesar Goodman, will become the biggest “scapegoat” as he faces the most severe charges of second-degree depraved heart murder.
Police Commissioner Anthony Batts is attributing the spike in murders this month to additional gang violence, refusing to admit there is any type of police “slowdown of duty”.
In an interview with CNN, Batts said:
“I hope that there is not a slowdown and what kind of message that sends to the community and to the government if that’s the case,” Batts said. “The numbers are up, because multiple people have been shot in groupings … leading us to believe there is a gang nexus to the shootings that have taken place.”
Stephanie Rawlings-Blake found the trend distressing and stated that additional police would be sent into the communities with the most crime. The mayor held an emergency meeting with law enforcement officials to address the situation. Although her response to the Baltimore riots was; “I wanted to give space to those who wanted to destroy.” Mission Accomplished.
“We can’t tolerate this … on any level,” the mayor said, according to the outlet. “My hope is the police will have the support they need from the community to be able to get some answers and bring some of these individual(s) to justice.”
Batts stating that “getting answers and community help won’t be easy”. “We can’t demand that of citizens. We have to go out and earn their trust.”
Cornell William Brooks, president and CEO of the NAACP, stated that the community and the police need to work together to reduce the violence.
“Well, this is a tragedy unfolding in our backyard, the hometown of the NAACP,” Brooks said. “We don’t know why we see this horrific spike in murders and shootings.
“There is no excuse, none whatsoever for any kind of slow down or work stoppage,” Brooks said. “The officers have taken an oath, and that oath is not to be abdicated.”
Someone might want to remind Mr. Brooks what the Supreme Court said about “duty to protect” — June 27, 2005 – The Supreme Court ruled that the police do not have a constitutional duty to protect a person from harm.
CNN law enforcement analyst Tom Fuentes explained that police officers might be thinking twice about taking risks and showing aggressive police tactics, with these current indictments being handed out.
“These are legitimate concerns that the police have of being backed, trying to stop these murders that are in the streets,” said Fuentes, a former FBI assistant director.
“This is a crisis that’s being manufactured, I think, by the fact the community is not supporting the police,” Fuentes said.
*Another 10 points awarded to this guy as well. And people get paid to say these things.
This year, according to Police reports, homicides have amounted to 108 so far this year, compared with 79 at the same time last year. There have been 205 non-fatal shooting so far this year, compared to 115 last year.
I reckon the bottom line is this; being a police officer is NOT an easy job. There are always going to be mistakes and extenuating circumstances that occur, that the public and media will “paint” in a bad light. It’s going to happen no matter what. Yes, there are “bad cops” out there, who abuse their power, walking around like “Billy Bad Asses” with a chip the size of Texas on their shoulders, but they are few and far between.
What happened to the days of Sheriff Andy and Deputy Barney? What happened to trust and mutual respect? It’s a two-way street. We have to trust and respect them, as much as they have to trust and respect us. Criminals are criminals… you break the law, you deserve what you get. Not everyone is a criminal though… but to a cop; “If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck and walks like a duck… it’s probably a duck.
People need to stop looking like criminals, just because it’s cool and cops need to realize that not everyone is a suspect. We the People are “innocent until proven guilty”.
Patrick James has worked as a firefighter/EMT for several services throughout the years, as well as a custom metal fabricator, certified personal trainer and chef.
Growing up in the rural suburbs of Detroit, it was during his frequent trips to Northern Michigan where he learned of his love for hunting and fishing. Spending several of his adult years in upstate South Carolina, his love of extreme sports took root in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains as he learned to rock climb and kayak.
“Courage and perseverance have a magical talisman, before which difficulties disappear and vanish into air.” ~ John Quincy Adams