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NYTimes: The Tragedy of Baltimore
With every passing year, it was getting harder to see what gains, exactly, were delivered by the uprising. Nearly four years after Freddie Gray’s death, the surge in crime has once again become the context of daily life in the city.
On the left, Baltimore’s recent woes have been largely overlooked, partly because they present a challenge to those who start from the assumption that policing is inherently suspect. The national progressive story of Baltimore during this era of criminal-justice reform has been the story of the police excesses that led to Gray’s death and the uprising, not the surge of violence that has overtaken the city ever since.
Mayor Sheila Dixon had carried on O’Malley’s government-accountability practices, she proved less than ethical in her own affairs. A few years into Barksdale’s efforts, she was charged by the state prosecutor with theft and fraud.
There was a grand jury in a vast corruption case that federal prosecutors filed earlier in the year: a conspiracy that painted a picture of a Police Department that, amid the lawlessness of the city, had descended into widespread lawlessness itself.

The accused were eight current and former members of an elite plainclothes unit called the Gun Trace Task Force, which, prosecutors said, had developed a penchant for robbing people, mostly but not exclusively drug dealers. Six of the officers pleaded guilty to racketeering and robbery. The court proceedings also illuminated how the surge in violence after Gray’s death abetted the corruption. Some officers had been lining their pockets for years, but their activities became a true conspiracy amid the chaos of 2015-16, as commanders were so desperate to stem the violence that they gave them free rein.
Following Gray’s death, the claims were of overly aggressive policing; now residents were pleading for police officers to get out of their cars, to earn their pay — to protect them. You could look at this evolution as demonstrating an irreconcilable conflict, a tension between Shantay Guy and Tony Barksdale never to be resolved. But the residents streaming into these sessions with Harrison weren’t suggesting that. They were not describing a trade-off between justice and order. They saw them as two parts of a whole and were daring to ask for both.
Baltimore  Whites  Racism  Police  Brutality  MD  Crime 
5 weeks ago by dbourn

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