Monthly Archives: June 2015

BALTIMORE LEADS THE WAY ON POLICE VIOLENCE

June 2015. I have sometimes been dismayed by the violence with which some policemen do their jobs. Last month I got some positive news about that subject. For
the first time in a long time law enforcement officers were actually indicted for the homicidal death of a Black man who policemen had apparently killed. In the previous several days Baltimore had been the scene of community violence of such great magnitude that the police forces of other communities had been rushed to the City. The death of a man had followed his arrest for the non-crime of running after a policeman made eye contact with him. Several other officers had joined the first in chasing down the runner, subduing him to arrest him for the same noncrime, then placing him in a paddy wagon. He had been removed from the wagon within the hour, and he had been found to be nonresponsive, i.e. dead. Audio and video recordings showed that the man needed and asked for medical assistance he did not receive. That should have been sufficient evidence to inspire confidence that there would be a thorough investigation of the incident and that charges would be brought against the responsible officers for homicide. The recent history of similar incidents in the United States indicated there was little hope that what should happen would happen. At last there had been explosive anger and violence in the community as the visible reaction to the lawlessness of the legal system when its suspects are law enforcement officers. So the indictments last month came as a blessed relief and as hope that this country will begin to re-examine itself on this painful but necessary subject.