With murdered doubled post-riot, you'd think more people would care. I don't mean people in high-crime neighborhoods in Baltimore, they do care. It's all those other people who so righteously saw police as the biggest problem in the hood. Where are they, now that the murder rate has doubled?
Oh, and how did that "gang truce" work out? Well that hasn't worked out so well. Legitimizing and empowering gangs is not the answer. It's the Cloud Cuckoo Land idea, embraced by too many, that crime prevention can be purely collaborative and never confrontational. It's also a strangely insulting concept, especially when it comes from outside white liberals, that criminals somehow represent the community more than the police.
Yes, police can and should be more polite in their job. There's no reason to be an asshole on the job (which is not to say that some people sometimes don't need to get told off sometimes). But being a dick is not only wrong, it's bad policing. It makes the job tougher for all police. Still, more polite and empathetic and understanding police -- which can make non-criminals less anti-police (a more important than many cops want to admit) -- will not stop criminals from killing each other.
I think a lot of this comes down to the old sociology fallacies that A) police don't deserve credit for preventing crime, B) culture doesn't matter, and C) the only real causes of crime and what is perceived as bad culture are inequality, racism, and lack of opportunity. But the "root causes" did not magically change on April 27, when Baltimore burned.
After the riots and horrible leadership from Baltimore's mayor and police commissioner, proactive police patrol all but stopped. Why? Because all police work has the risk of going south. There's long been the maxim in policing, "if you don't work you can't get in trouble." I'm not a big fan of the thin-blue-line trope, and yet here you have a pretty clear cut case where police have done less and criminals have done more.
Racism in America and violence in America are two separate problems. To walk up to an enemy and pull a trigger is something some people choose to do and others do not. Somehow, lots of poor people -- even in Baltimore -- manage to live decent and even joyous lives without killing somebody. Calling out racism and racists -- a noble calling -- isn't going to save one black life in Baltimore. To see police as some kind of nexus between racism and violence is a tragic mistake. Baltimoreans aren't being killed by racists. They're being killed by each other (Freddie Gray being a notable exception).
In parts of Baltimore we pay police to deal with those people who think murder is an acceptable problem-solving methods. Police deal with these criminals daily because these criminals are hanging out on the corner all day dealing drugs. Some neighbors have the gumption to not like this. So they call the police. And in come the police to clear the corner. And that's what real police do.