Baltimore Exploding in Violent Protests, Riots

Image from WBAL 11 in Baltimore, MD

Image from WBAL 11 in Baltimore, MD

This is not directly related to Colorado, of course, but as the issue of police “brutality” continues to rise in the public consciousness, so does the level of violence. As CNN reports:

A riot erupted on the streets of Baltimore late Monday as protesters clashed with police, several of whom were injured.

“This afternoon, a group of outrageous criminals attacked our officers. Right now, we have seven officers that have serious injuries, including broken bones, and one officer who is unconscious,” Capt. Eric Kowalczyk told reporters…

…Earlier in the day, the Baltimore Police Department said it had received a “credible threat” that gangs were teaming up to “take out” officers.

It did not say where the information came from, nor did it say whether the threat was tied to the recent death of Freddie Gray. Gray died in police custody under circumstances that remain unclear. [Pols emphasis]

His death has sparked ongoing protests in Baltimore and raised long-simmering tensions between police and residents there.

WBAL-TV has more on the fires that are now breaking out at various stores. Maryland State Police Officers are being dispatched by the Baltimore Police Commissioner, and Gov. Larry Hogan has placed the National Guard on alert.

8 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Zappatero says:

    Earlier in the day, the Baltimore Police Department said it had received a “credible threat” that gangs were teaming up to “take out” officers.

    Cops have been using this ruse for quite a while. I hope they are recording the threats and not letting them scroll off their system automatically, as they let surveillance video of the incident expire by waiting 10 days before asking a local business for the video.

    The one thing that really disturbs me in all these life and death police apprehensions is the tactic of one or more officers jamming someone into the ground, with specific force used on the head and neck area. Sometimes it’s more that 2 cops with their knees on someone’s head/neck/back.

    Then they scoff when someone says they can’t breath.

    And they say “Quit resisting” as a preemptive announcement, whether the person is resisting or not, and repeat it as necessary, even after the suspect is in a death spiral (this happened in California a few years ago). And who how many officers consider that someone trying to breathe, because he has 3 cops on his neck, as “resisting”?

    • Is the 10-day video thing from this incident? And if so, is it related to the reported contractual agreement the BPD has with its union that officers involved in an incident can’t be questioned for 10 days after the incident?

      I like unions, but I don’t think many of us are deluded enough to think that they can’t have their own abuses. It would seem to me that allowing officers a 10-day grace period to get their story straight is pretty abusive.

      • Duke Cox says:

        Totally agree with that, PR. There should be no delay in questioning…anyone….

        • BlueCat says:

          What’s really chilling is realizing how much of this criminal behavior on the part of the police must have been going on for decades before people started recording it on their cell phones. Rough rides, where suspects are thrown into vans in cuffs and sometimes manacles too so they are truly helpless, are subject to sharp swerving and sudden braking with the express purpose of injuring them. This is something the force admits.

          The victims or their families when the victims die of the abuse are given the choice of accepting a settlement in which no fault is admitted or embarking on the impossible task of seeking justice in the face of the corrupt Blue Wall. Who knows how many victims have been seriously injured, disabled and murdered in this way and, yes, it’s murder.

          The rioting is a shame and innocent people whose stores have been looted have my sympathy but it’s very hard to have sympathy for the injured cops. This isn’t a matter of a few bad apples. This is clearly pervasive and if the most vicious bad actors on the force are a minority, their fellow officers routinely cover for them and protect them from the consequences of their criminal behavior and are therefore criminals as well. It’s inexcusable that this much time has gone by with no apparent honest effort to investigate what happened to that young man.

          It’s not easy to sever a spinal chord. His legs were limp and dragging in the video of them putting him into that van and they admit they did not belt him. If he couldn’t even move his legs why did he need manacles? There is no excuse for the failure to secure immediate medical attention, instead placing him in a situation guaranteed to inflict greater injury. As much as they are managing to keep hidden and no matter how much they manage to coordinate their stories the known facts are more than enough to justify charges being brought, not suspension with pay.

          So far no officer has been killed, while a history of settlements attests to the fact that many community members have been by this police force committing crimes. The fact that many of victims may have themselves been committing crimes, unlike the latest victim, is no excuse. The police have no right to disable or murder an unarmed, cuffed, manacled, helpless suspect in their custody even if that person is guilty as hell.

          All the latest victim was apparently guilty of was “making eye contact” and quite sensibly running away from a pack of vicious brutes in uniform who did, in fact, fulfill his worst fears and put him in his grave. How many more have suffered the same fate without someone there to record any of it? How many decades has this been the way things are done in Baltimore? A few bad apples my ass. This force is nothing more than a criminal gang.

      • Progressicat says:

        While I have no idea how thorough they were, my understanding is that 5 of the 6 officers gave statements the day of the death. Makes you wonder a bit about #6, I guess.

        • BlueCat says:

          They probably figured they’d just make the usual statement and it would be business as the usual. Worst case, the city pays a settlement and it goes away. That’s the way it’s always been up until now. I’m so glad recordings by bystanders are forcing these police crimes out into the light of day and I hope all six are prosecuted, convicted and sent to prison and the superiors who create the atmosphere in which this kind of treatment of the community is routine go down with them.

          Eye contact from a kid down the street. Not exactly the kind of threatening situation in which a police officer could be justified in feeling he was under serious life or death threat. What’s perfectly valid is for every young black man in the city to feel under life or death threat from the Baltimore police whether they’re doing anything wrong or not.

          The larger problem is the hopelessness in a community full of poorly educated young men burdened with felony drug convictions before they’re out of school with no hope of ever being employable. That’s not the fault of the police but it is the fault of the police culture in Baltimore that officers feel free to arrest and brutalize any black person for any or no reason and how many young men have been railroaded in the first place and had their lives ruined by officers who think nothing of treating them like animals for making eye contact?

          I can only imagine how furious the people who live under thumb of this criminal police force must be because I’m furious and I’m just a little suburban white lady who lives in Littleton where the police are exceptional and who has always been treated with courtesy by police everywhere I’ve ever been.

        • BlueCat says:

          About the statements. 10 days to get their stories together and in which the family of the victim can’t get any info is the rule. Just pretend the following is in block quote:

          On April 12, Baltimore Police arrested a perfectly healthy man, but he was in a coma one hour later and the police weren’t obligated to tell a single solitary soul what happened.

          At the local level, the Maryland Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights says that when an officer is under investigation in a matter that could lead to disciplinary action, supervisors are prohibited from interviewing the accused officer for 10 days.
          The state law doesn’t make clear whether the 10-day period begins at the time of the incident or the time of the complaint stemming from the incident. House Delegate Mary Washington told CNN that the prohibition expired Wednesday (10 days since Gray’s arrest) and the six officers who were suspended can now be interviewed.

          So, in other words, the six officers who were involved in the arrest of Freddie Gray have had 10 whole days to get every single minute detail of their story straight. They’ve had 10 whole days to communicate with one another to make sure every single aspect of their stories perfectly sync up. They’ve had 10 whole days to watch the news, to watch the cell phone videos of their arrest of Freddie, to study what witnesses say they did or did not see. While the family of Freddie Gray has been forced to suffer during 10 long days of confusion and despair, these officers have been on paid leave, able to rehearse every word they will deliver when the law actually compels them to speak on the record.

          http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/04/22/1379495/-Baltimore-Police-Bill-of-Rights-gives-them-10-days-after-killing-someone-until-they-have-to-talk?detail=action

  2. Elijah Rock says:

    The mayor calls for a curfew and we get to watch it on CNN. Outstanding! Guess the only people who have to clear the streets are “those people,” not the credentialed media. What happens if those who hang on Pennsylvania and North Ave get their news from a someone who tweets to hundreds of followers and is 23, unemployed, with braids and tats. Does he or she have to go home at 10 p.m.? And one wonders why there are riots.

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