Topical 5-4-2015

11191575_679453302184578_1303071256_n1.) Baltimore Continued

2.) #Breakthecurfew

3.) Police Consolidation

4.) #Stoptheviolence


 

1.) Baltimore Continued

Three of the six officers charged in the killing of Freddie Gray are black. Of specific interest is the driver of the vehicle, who is speculated to have taken a particularly out-of-the-way course and driven erratically in a willful act to either kill or injure Gray. As such he is the only individual to be charged with second-degree murder. The remaining five appear to have been charged in reference to either tacitly allowing the behavior of the driver or refusing to provide aid once it was clear that Gray was injured.

Of course, whether there is proof of wrong doing on the part of the driver beyond Gray’s injuries, that remains to be seen. The fact that Gray’s companion in the opposite partition of the conveyance van suffered no injuries from the drive seems to provide doubt to that theory, though it doesn’t in any way preclude injurious behavior by the driver before the second individual was placed in the van.

The race of the driver and the two other individuals is interesting because it all but eliminates the racial component from Gray’s death. What’s more, the Ferguson Twitter Brigade (and admittedly others) who subscribe to the self-serving redefinition of racism that disqualifies black persons from being labeled as “racist” are ironically unable, due to their earlier short sightedness, to argue that the driver’s behavior was systemically based on racism if black people cannot be racist.

State’s Attorney, Marilyn Mosby, has raised some concerns about her political allegiances such as her city councilman husband and her decision to release around a hundred demonstrators (possibly looters but I can’t speak to their specific charges) without charges. I pointed out in my last entry that both of her parents were police so I’ve been hesitant to assume bias on her part. Someone is guilty of injuring Freddie Gray, I’m just not convinced we know who yet and I’m not convinced she knows either. Hopefully justice will be served based upon the facts of what happened as opposed to preventing more riots. The pursuit of the latter is likely to result in acquittals which will ironically result in more riots.


2.) #Breakthecurfew

A number of individuals on Twitter are pointing out a short vine of a Baltimore Officer (likely a Public Information Officer [PIO] from his language) who is pleading with a crowd of primarily white individuals to go home in reference to the curfew. They argue that the same behavior would not happen in the black communities, and others point out a lack of police coverage at the moment in white areas of Baltimore compared to the black areas. In response, people living in white areas are bragging about going out and breaking the curfew largely, though not entirely, due to a lack of police focus in their neighborhoods.

Gee, it’s almost as if there had been some unrest, criminal activity, or violence during the last week in specific areas that would shape where manpower was placed. Clearly the guard and police should be driving up and down other places where violence hasn’t been prevalent just for fun. I wonder if the Officer in question would have reacted the same way if the crowd in the vine had acted like this:


 

3.) Police Consolidation –

http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/research-group-proposes-reforms-to-st-louis-area-policing/article_b2589ea9-d374-5f27-8a4e-e15567d42d90.html

The Post Dispatch wrote an article yesterday about a report calling for the consolidation of various police departments in the area. Many of the ones referenced in this blog, those north of I-70 would be merged into various parts of the County Police Department. The towns south of I-70 and east of Lucas and Hunt would largely be absorbed by the University City Police Department. The U-City additions would include Pagedale, Hillsdale, Welston, Northwoods, Pine Lawn, and Velda City.

There are a few notable omissions from this article, which admittedly are issues that may be included in the larger report but the post didn’t link to it.

A.) There is no mention what-so-ever of Municipal Government consolidation, simply police. Not mentioning government consolidation is either an admission that the Muni’s are going to fight consolidation efforts or a gross misunderstanding of the true source of the revenue focus and corruption.

B.) In reference to U-City, there is no indication whether or not U-City taxpayers want their police department to be assuming areas so crime stricken which will certainly result in a decrease of their current police services/focus. The areas listed above already require a great deal of attention and have correspondingly high call volumes.

C.) There is no indication (though it is natural to assume) that the Muni’s will have to pay a contract to U-City. If that turns out to be the case, how will the Muni’s afford to contract policing when the revenue streams of these venues has already been proven to be ticket/fine based? If Mack’s Creek is enforced, let alone at the new 15% level, it seems unlikely that such a pathway would be affordable.   Of course, this could be a further push to bleed the Muni governments into bankruptcy or willful dis-incorporation.

D.) There is no mention of the central / north county municipalities of:

  • Normandy (Pop 4,987)
  • Bel Ridge (Pop 2,726)
  • Bel Nor (Pop 1,490)
  • St. Ann (Pop 12,971)
  • St. John (Pop 6,486)
  • Woodson Terrace (Pop 4,065)
  • Edmundson (Pop 837)
  • Overland (Pop 16,008)
  • Charlack (Pop 1,366)

Perhaps a more thoughtful approach that would divide the worst areas up into consolidated municipal areas is needed. The Dump-the-worst-on-U-City Plan seems to be lacking in common sense and reason.  The efforts to absorb other agencies into the county police department seem much more sound but still fail to deal with the governments responsible for the majority of the municipal mess in St. Louis County.  It is entirely possible that governmental consolidation is being fought by bigger surrounding Muni’s who are scared that their crime rates will spike when suddenly forced to average out the statistics of a Pine Lawn or a Pagedale.


4.) #Stoptheviolence

St. Louis has a gun violence problem regardless of who the target is or who the shooter is. Many have found issue (myself included) with the hypocritical nature of those who only tend to get angry when a white policeman kills a black man, typically at the expense of pertinent facts like whether or not such a killing was justified. Assumed guilt based upon any race is inherently racist.

In response, a number of people in the Ferguson Twitter Brigade have been referencing the #Stoptheviolence hash tags and a number of legitimate protests toward the goal of ending gun violence in the region and abroad. While such pursuits are noble, they utterly lack the size, scope, and outrage when compared to those in reference to someone like Mike Brown. A hundred people marching on one or two days doesn’t even remotely compare to months of marches, not to mention the explosive violence of “peaceful protesters” that I’ve witnesses and referenced ad nauseum in this blog.

WS

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4 thoughts on “Topical 5-4-2015

  1. “Hopefully justice will be served based upon the facts of what happened as opposed to preventing more riots. The pursuit of the latter is likely to result in acquittals which will ironically result in more riots.”

    Entirely agree on the “justice not being served by lies or pandering” thing. I think part of the problem right now is that Obama has been supporting the whole “the biggest problem black people have is racism.” Study after study shows that, if you compare like to like (both living in neighborhoods with the same amount of single parents, same schools, same income, etc.), black people have the same income mobility that white people do. I’m not saying racism isn’t still a problem, because it is, but it is NOT what is “holding black people back,” any more than cops are the ones killing most murdered black young men.

    By banging the “black lives matter” drum, and by refusing to say, “look, study after study shows that there ARE things you can do to improve your own life, and to improve the lives of your kids,” Obama is just contributing to the helplessness and frustration in these communities that’s behind the riots. Obviously, there are a lot of people saying the exact same thing as Obama in many of the localities that have been hit hardest with riots and mayhem, and I don’t mean to say Obama bears the primary blame. But this common belief system is particularly hard to fight when the President is supporting it.

    Any hope on my part that Ms. Mosby is not playing this game is pretty dim right now. According to this article, her own team is undercutting her position:

    “While Mosby said Friday that the officers had made an illegal arrest because a knife Gray was carrying was not a “switchblade,” a violation of state law, the police task force studied the knife and determined it was “spring-assisted,” which does violate a Baltimore code.”

    From the first, observers have said that the knife may have okay according to state law, but that if it was spring assisted, as generally described, then it was against Baltimore law. A careful Attorney would have checked into that before making such a public statement otherwise.

    http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/gunshot-at-scene-of-protests-underscores-tension-in-baltimore/ar-BBjbrMC

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    • Good points. Only issue I have is that unless I’m mistaken these officers didn’t discover the knife until after he was in custody. Therefore it has no bearing on the initial decision to detain Mr. Gray.

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      • My understanding is that the bike cops thought Mr. Gray was selling drugs (either because he’d done so before at that location, or because one of them actually saw him exchanging something for money), then when he saw them and ran, the three bike cops chased Mr. Gray (as well as the guy he was with/had just sold some drugs to, in that version), then they discovered the knife in pat down after Mr. Gray was subdued. So the knife did not initiate the meeting, but it is their stated reason for arresting him and for putting him into the van, which is why establishing the knife’s legality is so crucial in determining whether the arrest was legal.

        Whether they had the right to chase him in the first place seems to be a separate debate, and while it’s big on the news and on blogs, I’m not sure the pertinent officials are worrying about it much. Seems to me Illinois v. Wardlow would apply.

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      • If that’s true then it’s something that will undoubtedly come out on the defense side as this proceeds toward trial. In the scenario you’ve laid out, known drug dealer seen exchanging money then runs, this would more than satiate the reasonable suspicion standard for an investigative detention / Terry frisk.

        I’m still inclined to believe that the injuries either occurred during the arrest or afterward during the unscheduled stop. Having transported people quite a few times myself, short of getting in an accident, I have a hard time believing the “rough ride” theory. Consequently, I heard a rumor today that the business that had the footage of the mystery stop was damaged during the looting, which is either suspicious or ironic depending on the circumstances.

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