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The DOJ’s Baltimore Police Report Contributes to a Hostile Environment for Law Enforcement

The DOJ’s Baltimore Police Report Contributes to a Hostile Environment for Law Enforcement

In early May 2016, a 90-year-old woman in northwest Baltimore was severely beaten during a home invasion. Police found her barely conscious on the floor, unable to move or call for help. This was the second time in two months that she had been the victim of a burglary. She was hospitalized for three weeks following the beating and died in the hospital. Police concluded that the suspect in the May assault was familiar with the neighborhood.

On May 31, 2016, a 71-year-old woman in northwest Baltimore was raped and robbed in her home. The assailant took jewelry and cash from the victim’s purse, then stole her car and crashed it. A bystander helped the rapist out of the crashed car; the thug fled.

These heinous crimes occurred as Baltimore was experiencing the bloodiest year in its history, measured on a per capita basis. Shootings, homicides, and robberies surged after the April 2015 riots triggered by the accidental death of drug dealer Freddie Gray following an arrest. Nearly two dozen children were killed in 2015. Baltimore’s homicide count matched that of New York City’s, a city 13 and a half times Baltimore’s size.

Unfortunately, such crime merits but a few passing references in the 163-page report on the Baltimore Police Department released yesterday by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). The Justice Department accuses the Baltimore police of a pattern or practice of violating blacks’ civil rights. Justice’s methodology for reaching that conclusion is by now drearily familiar: Because blacks are stopped and arrested by the Baltimore police at a higher rate than their representation in the Baltimore population, the police are guilty of racial bias.

This use of a population benchmark to analyze police activity is preposterously misguided, given the large disparities in rates of criminal victimization and crime commission. In 2015, more than 90 percent of Baltimore’s homicide victims were black, even though blacks are only 63 percent of the city’s population. Though the police department does not report the race of criminals, it is certain that at least 90 percent of homicide and shootings suspects in Baltimore are also black. To expect police activity to match population ratios when crime commission is not evenly spread throughout the population is either disingenuous or disqualifyingly ignorant.

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  • ahaz

    Really?! So you are telling me that police can’t do their job without being blatantly racist in the laws the enforce, arresting and violating the constitutional rights of the citizens their supposed to protect. The fact the the DA had to drop over 11K arrests because the were frivolous and without merit. The fact the BCP can’t do their jobs without resorting to excessive force. None of what you mentioned justified the police doing any of the things mentioned in the report, Things that were already known to the citizens of Baltimore. You claim that publishing this report contributes to the animus toward police. In actually, it’s the police themselves that cause the animus. Learn to do your jobs correctly, equitably, and within the bounds of the law and constitution.

    • $150527232

      I know that you lack any semblance of even the simplest common sense as demonstrated by your rant, but if you are committing the crime, the police will be coming for you. Your ignorance and anti common sense bias was so very well demonstrated by your tired old victim hood mantra has only continued to contribute to the victimization of African Americans by African Americans because you so dully need to blame the police for th the bad behavior of those in the high crime communities.

      • ahaz

        What you seemed to have missed in the report was that BCP routinely harassed and arrested citizens for doing nothing but exercising their constitutionally protected rights. It had nothing to do with protecting citizens also evident in the way that they treated sexual assault victims. BCP routinely ignored, denigrated victims and purposely left cases open so they wouldn’t face criticism. I don’t call that good policing but rather gang mentality toward African Americans. Everything that this report mentioned was already publically known and Michael Wood, a former BCP Sargent, has repeatedly stated that this behavior was commonplace through the the department, including the shakedowns of innocent citizens doing nothing but standing on the street. After reading this report and other reports of other police departments like NYPD, San Francisco, Minneapolis, Oakland, Ferguson, I no longer believe that cops stop just the criminals on the street, they stop everyone that fits their preconceived notion of what a criminal is. Unfortunately, in major metropolitan areas, that usually means minority and poor. Our police need to be deconstructed to the core, retrained in tactics that create and maintain good policing and eliminate the predatory and militarized forces that we have today.

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