Wednesday, April 29, 2015

"There Are No Thugs in Baltimore"

Politicians' language changes often, but not this fast...from the Washington Post where politicians are falling over each other...for the spotlight...
and for blame. Note the quotes and change of language.

In Baltimore, questions about policing ensnare mayors past and present

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan on Tuesday sought to take command of the simmering aftermath of Baltimore’s riots, planting himself in the city and vowing that National Guard troops and police would not tolerate any more chaos.
Yet the governor’s capacity to control a freewheeling crisis remained tenuous, as people threw rocks and bottles and police in riot gear braced for confrontations past a 10 p.m. emergency curfew.
The hostility directed at both the police and the state’s political establishment also ensnared Martin O’Malley, the former governor and potential presidential contender. As he toured the city, O’Malley (D) was heckled over the zero-tolerance police strategy he imposed when he was Baltimore’s mayor.
Facing his first high-profile test as governor, Hogan, a white Republican, found himself navigating complex political terrain with Baltimore’s Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, an African American Democrat presiding over a majority-black city.
The crisis underscored the tension between their diverging responses to the chaos, a difference that first flared Monday and continued Tuesday. While the governor expressed eagerness to send in troops, he needed consent from the mayor, who sought a “balanced response.”
Gov. Larry Hogan called a decision to deploy the Maryland National Guard a "last resort" to restore order after violent protests erupted in Baltimore on Monday. (WUSA9)
Both leaders also appeared to understand the need to join forces and keep their own conflict from undermining their response to the riots. Hogan at first raised questions Monday about the mayor’s approach, then played down their differences by praising her. But on Tuesday, he reverted to shifting responsibility to Rawlings-Blake when reporters asked why he did not summon National Guard troops sooner and why police did not respond more quickly to Monday’s looting.

“We deferred to the mayor and the police chief,” Hogan said as he toured the damage to Mondawmin Mall, among the places looters had stormed.

Later, he said, “We did quite a bit. But we waited until the mayor asked us to come in. We didn’t think it was appropriate to come in and take over the city without the request.”

At another point, the governor invoked Rawlings-Blake when reporters asked whether there had been concern that calling in the National Guard would prompt the type of clashes that flared between police and demonstrators in Ferguson, Mo.

“Those are questions you should probably discuss with the mayor,” Hogan said. “I didn’t have discussions with her about Ferguson or why she was holding back.
Rawlings-Blake was forced to play multiple roles overseeing the city’s police force while showing empathy for residents infuriated by the death of Freddie Gray, who was injured while in police custody.
Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake issued a curfew for residents on Monday in the wake of violent protests in the city. (WUSA)
On Tuesday, the mayor repeated her defense of her administration’s handling of the rioting. “We responded quickly to a very difficult situation,” the mayor said. “There is a delicate balancing act to respond but not over-respond.”

After touring riot-scarred pockets that volunteers had helped clean up, the mayor suggested that the city was on the mend. “We saw people coming to reclaim our city,” she said. “This can be our defining moment and not the darkest days that we saw yesterday.

‘His fault!’

At Bethel AME Church in West Baltimore, where the mayor met with members of the clergy, a participant took issue with her having referred to the rioters as “thugs” on Monday.

There are no thugs in Baltimore,” the mayor said. “Sometimes my own little anger translator gets the best of me. . . . They’re going to regret what they’ve done, but it’s not too late.”

The mayor became tearful as she recounted struggling to answer a young girl who asked why her neighborhood had been destroyed. “It breaks my heart,” the mayor said, adding, “We will recover.”
As Hogan and Rawlings-Blake answered questions about their response to the crisis, Baltimore police commanders said their plan had been to confine and disperse rioters, even as it appeared that officers were allowing them free rein.

“They’re old enough to be accountable, but they’re still kids,” Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony W. Batts said of many of the rioters. “And so we had to take that into account while we’re out there.”
The day’s raw emotions touched O’Malley, the former mayor, who interrupted a trip to Ireland to return to Baltimore because of the riots. At dusk, O’Malley traveled to a West Baltimore intersection where looting had occurred, talking to residents and posing for photos before a stranger cursed at him.

“This is his fault!” said Wayne Grady, 47, who described himself as a developer, referring to the aggressive police policies O’Malley imposed when he was mayor that resulted in tens of thousands of arrests, many for minor offenses.

“He had his chance to fix this,” Grady said. “He’s part of the frustrations that are built up in these black young men.”
O’Malley, pausing to address reporters, declined to defend his police strategy at length. But he said that mayors everywhere seek “the right balance, to save as many lives as we possibly can.”
“We’re a safer city than we were,” he said, “but we still have a lot of work to do, you know?”

A moment of outsize crisis is a time-honored way for politicians to define themselves in the public realm. After rioters tore up parts of Baltimore following the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., then-Gov. Spiro T. Agnew, a Republican, summoned the National Guard. Agnew accused black leaders of doing too little to discourage the violence, drawing notice from Richard M. Nixon, who asked him to join his presidential ticket.

In New York in 1991, then-Mayor David N. Dinkins (D) faced accusations that the police force allowed rioters to rampage in Crown Heights, a charge he denied but which contributed to his failure to win reelection. After the 9/11 terrorist attacks, then-Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani won worldwide praise for his stoic management of the aftermath.

Hogan, according to a senior aide, had been preparing to declare a state of emergency since late last week. Once he did, he announced that he was relocating his office to Baltimore.
Hogan’s initial remarks sounded critical of Rawlings-Blake. Later, as they stood side by side on CNN, she thanked the governor for his help — and he declared that she had “done a terrific job.”
The rioting began at 3:30 p.m. Monday, but it was not until 8 p.m. that Rawlings-Blake made her first public statement on the issue. By then, the state’s political establishment was questioning whether she had waited too long to communicate with the city. Her public silence seemed to parallel what millions of Americans had been seeing on television for most of the afternoon — looters ransacking shops without an adequate response from police.
The mayor “wasn’t acting like we were in an emergency,” said Baltimore City Council member Carl Stokes. “They hold press conferences and don’t say anything, and the people get angrier and angrier.”
Rawlings-Blake, a rising star in the Democratic Party who has been mayor since 2010, has strained for more than a week to manage a crisis triggered by Gray’s death. Six police officers have been suspended with pay pending an investigation into how Gray died.
On Monday, Rawlings-Blake attended Gray’s funeral, after which she returned to City Hall to hold meetings before heading to a civic association in West Baltimore.
The mayor spent part of the day trying to clarify remarks she had made over the weekend, in which she appeared to signal that police had intentionally allowed demonstrators to become violent Saturday.
“While we tried to make sure that they were protected from the cars and the other things that were going on, we also gave those who wished to destroy space to do that as well,” she said Saturday.
On Monday, the mayor tweeted that her remarks had been “taken out of context.”

Note previously she said her statement was "misconstrued"

“I did not instruct police to give space to protesters seeking to create violence,” she wrote. “In giving peaceful demonstrators room to share their message, unfortunately, those who  seeking to incite violence also had space to operate.

By around 3:30 p.m. Monday, when the disturbances began, the mayor headed to an emergency command center. For the next 4 1/hours, she remained out of public sight. Her Twitter account, which had been active, was dormant until just after her 8 p.m. news conference began.

Del. Jill P. Carter (D-Baltimore) said city residents needed to hear from their leaders soon after the disturbances began, “to make people think it was under control.”

Instead, Carter said, people were asking, “ ‘Where’s the mayor?’ It fosters a sense of no confidence, and that’s no good.”


Anonymous said...

This "rising star in the democratic party" mayor has showed us what she is - at our great expense I might add.

These "leaders" are so politically correct, in the mold of bho, that they are totally incapable of governing, they are incompetent.

" thugs in Baltimore"...
Depends what your definition of
"thug" is, doesn't it ?

Ask the shop owners whose businesses were robbed and destroyed what they think about the word games their elected (?) leaders are playing, ask those victims what they suffered because their mayor wanted to give thugs room to destroy.

Ask those police how it feels to be maligned by their leaders. Ask the police what the constant suspicion from government feels like on a daily working basis.

Nanna Frances said...

Anyone who destroys another person's property is a thug. Whatever their race, they are thugs!

John mcgowan said...

Prisoner in van said Freddie Gray was ‘trying to injure himself,’ document says

BALTIMORE — A prisoner sharing a police transport van with Freddie Gray told investigators that he could hear Gray “banging against the walls” of the vehicle and believed that he “was intentionally trying to injure himself,” according to a police document obtained by The Washington Post.

The prisoner, who is currently in jail, was separated from Gray by a metal partition and could not see him. His statement is contained in an application for a search warrant, which is sealed by the court. The Post was given the document under the condition that the prisoner not be named because the person who provided it feared for the inmate’s safety.

The document, written by a Baltimore police investigator, offers the first glimpse of what might have happened inside the van. It is not clear whether any additional evidence backs up the prisoner’s version, which is just one piece of a much larger probe.

Gray was found unconscious in the wagon when it arrived at a police station on April 12. The 25-year-old had suffered a spinal injury and died a week later, touching off waves of protests across Baltimore, capped by a riot Monday in which hundreds of angry residents torched buildings, looted stores and pelted police officers with rocks.

Police have said they do not know whether Gray was injured during the arrest or during his 30-minute ride in the van. Local police and the U.S. Justice Department both have launched investigations of Gray’s death.

Jason Downs, one of the attorneys for the Gray family, said the family had not been told of the prisoner’s comments to investigators.

“We disagree with any implication that Freddie Gray severed his own spinal cord,” Downs said. “We question the accuracy of the police reports we’ve seen thus far, including the police report that says Mr. Gray was arrested without force or incident.”

Baltimore police said they will wrap up their investigation Friday and turn the results over to the Baltimore state’s attorney’s office, which will decide whether to seek an indictment. Six police officers, including a lieutenant and a sergeant, have been suspended.

Capt. Eric Kowalczyk, chief spokesman for the Baltimore Police Department, declined to comment on the affidavit, citing the ongoing investigation.

John mcgowan said...


The affidavit is part of a search warrant seeking the seizure of the uniform worn by one of the officers involved in Gray’s arrest or transport. It does not say how many officers were in the van, whether any reported that they heard banging or whether they would have been able to help Gray if he was seeking to injure himself. Police have mentioned only two prisoners in the van.

Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony W. Batts has admitted flaws in the way officers handled Gray after they chased him through a West Baltimore housing project and arrested him. They said they later found a switchblade clipped to the inside of his pants. Batts has said officers repeatedly ignored Gray’s pleas for medical help and failed to secure him with a safety belt or harness in the back of the transport van.

[Police cite missteps in arrest of Freddie Gray]

Video shot by several bystanders has fueled the rage in West Baltimore. It shows two officers on top of Gray, their knees in his back, and then dragging his seemingly limp body to the van as he cried out.

Batts has said Gray stood on one leg and climbed into the van on his own.

The van driver stopped three times while transporting Gray to a booking center, the first to put him in leg irons. Batts said the officer driving the van described Gray as “irate.” The search warrant application says Gray “continued to be combative in the police wagon.”

The driver made a second stop, five minutes later, and asked an officer to help check on Gray. At that stop, police have said the van driver found Gray on the floor of the van and put him back on the seat, still without restraints. Police said Gray asked for medical help at that point.

The third stop was to put the other prisoner — a 38-year-old man accused of violating a protective order — into the van. The van was then driven six blocks to the Western District station. Gray was taken from there to a hospital, where he died April 19.

The prisoner, who is in jail, could not be reached for comment. No one answered the phone at his house, and an attorney was not listed in court records.

Batts has said officers violated policy by failing to properly restrain Gray. But the president of the Baltimore police union noted that the policy mandating seat belts took effect April 3 and was e-mailed to officers as part of a package of five policy changes on April 9, three days before Gray was arrested.

Gene Ryan, the police union president, said many officers aren’t reading the new policies – updated to meet new national standards – because they think they’re the same rules they already know, with only cosmetic changes. The updates are supposed to be read out during pre-shift meetings.

The previous policy was written in 1997, when the department used smaller, boxier wagons that officers called “ice cream trucks.” They originally had a metal bar that prisoners had to hold during the ride. Seat belts were added later, but the policy left their use discretionary.

Ryan said that until all facts become clear, he “urged everyone not to rush to judgment. The facts as presented will speak for themselves. I just wish everyone would take a step back and a deep breath, and let the investigation unfold.”

The search warrant application says that detectives at the time did not know where the officer’s uniform was located and that they wanted his department-issued long-sleeve shirts, pants and black boots or shoes. The document says investigators think that Gray’s DNA might be found on the officer’s clothes.

John mcgowan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.