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by Peter Moskos

May 28, 2014

Baltimore police commissioner disarms man at gunpoint, with punch to face

I had a dream last night that I was back walking foot patrol in the Eastern District, south of Monument St. It was hip and happening! There were cool restaurants and clubs and even a nice museum. Everybody on the street was telling me, and I quote, "It's like the next Berlin." I was loving my job.

And then I woke up. Oh, Baltimore. Oh, Eastern District.

Good on Batts and his three-person detail for taking action. From the Sun:
Police Commissioner Batts responded and removed his service weapon and placed it against Mr. Moultrie's head," Diener wrote. "Mr. Moultrie would not release the gun from his grip, so Police Commissioner Batts also attempted to pull the gun from Mr. Moultrie's hand. Police Commissioner Batts then hit Mr. Moultrie with a closed fist in the face.
The Commissioner was leaving the scene of a police-involved shooting. But I can't help but wonder if Batts would be willing to charge another officer who used these same tactics, which, best I remember, were not taught in the police academy.

Moultrie, according to the article, was convicted in October 2013 for drug dealing and received a sentence of 20 years. So what is he doing out on the street in May, 2014? "All but two days of the sentence was suspended." Twenty years becomes two-days time-served?! Oh, Baltimore. "The new arrest has triggered a violation of his probation." I should hope so.

Meanwhile I give a Cop in the Hood "Bad-Mother Award" to Lisa Moultrie and Aunt Michelle Davis, whose only problem with the whole situation seems to be that their armed drug-dealing baby was hit and threatened. Said the aunt, "I wasn't there... I know he was armed, but once they had him retrained, what was the point of the commissioner coming over there putting a gun to his head?!" I mean, can't an armed man walk around in peace? Or at least be gently encouraged to disarm while at the same time maintaining his dignity and respect?

This happened at 2300 Monument, which google street view now tells me is Hernandez Grocery. Back when I was a cop, if I remember correctly, this joint was rather surprisingly owned by a cop's family. What I do remember is that it was robbed on Christmas Day, 2000, by a man with a gun who got away with $900. At first I didn't understand what the robbed people were telling me because they kept saying the robber "climbed over the bullet-proof glass." I had been in this place many times and I didn't understand how you could climb over bullet-proof glass. And then I finally saw that there was an "over," like a foot, 12 feet above the ground, between the top of the glass and the ceiling.

I remember this night because it was my only Christmas policing and everybody was busy, fussing, and getting in their last minute Christmas robbing. An hour before the store got robbed, at the same location, I had caught two 13-years-old kids for armed robbery. They were like 4-feet tall and looked even younger than their age.

But what really struck me from that night wasn't spider-man with a gun or 13-year-olds robbing people at knife point. It was the fact that these two 13-year-olds had serious rap sheets for offenses including crack dealing, attempted rape (1st degree sexual assault), and successful rape (2nd degree sex assault). And they had started (or at least started getting caught) were 11-years-old.

May 26, 2014

"Anybody want to try the spread?..."

"...The spaghetti with brains is mind blowing."

Sure, it's not the funniest quip ever, but I said something like that while guarding the crime scene of a 12-person shooting back in 2001. What else are you going to do? Have a moment of silence?

I miss the laughs from the job. Non-cops may not understand cop humor, which is often a desperate attempt to make people laugh at precisely the most inopportune time. Granted it may not look good to be laughing over a dead body (especially if the victim's relatives are nearby...) but hey, you gotta have fun.

Well, now it's official. Or at least peer-reviewed ("Is humor the best medicine? The buffering effect of coping humor on traumatic stressors in firefighters." Sliter, Michael; Kale, Aron; Yuan, Zhenyu. Journal of Organizational Behavior vol. 35 issue 2 February 2014. p. 257-272).

Cops don't crack such jokes because they're evil people. Quite the contrary! Cops (or at least firefighters) laugh at the misfortune of others because it keeps them sane. Humor, shocker of shockers, is good for you.

That shooting on E. North Avenue was at an "RIP party" for a guy who went by the name of "Bone." ("RIP party?" I remember one of my partners saying with disgust, "We already have a word for that. It's called a wake.")

Just now I discovered that one of the "Hot Boys" shooters, stuck with the unfortunate nom de guerre "stink," did 10 years. "Stink" was undoubtedly minding his own business just a few months ago, last December, when he was shot and killed. Oh well. I wonder what they're serving at the wake?

Also, I like how the Baltimore Sun says, "The block party shooting was one of the highest profile crimes at the time." And yet at the time, the Sun didn't even put the mass shooting on the front page.

May 25, 2014

Guns don't kill people...

...people with guns who can't get laid kill people.

Can somebody tell me why we won't discuss legal prostitution in this country?

"The gunman is believed to be Elliot Rodger, 22, who in a YouTube video said he was sexually frustrated and about to go on “a mission of retribution.”"

"In several Rodger referred to himself as an incel (involuntary celibate)"

May 13, 2014

Baltimore Police Department History

A little over two years ago, William Hackley, retired Baltimore police officer and amateur historian, passed away.

Were it not for Officer Hackley, so much of the history of the BPD would have been be lost to time.

I was afraid that project would end with Hackley's passing. Luckily, retired detective Kenny Driscoll has kept the history alive.

The website is now here: https://baltimorecitypolicehistory.com/index.php. Give it a look. There's a lot there. Driscoll wrote in a comment, "I hope everyone will continue to enjoy the site, and send pics, and info."

May 11, 2014

Look good. Shoot good.

Just your standard issue 1943 NYPD combo gun holster and make-up kit. On display at the NYPD Museum.

May 9, 2014

Republicans against bulletproof vests for cops

The program to buy vests for cops started in 1999 under Clinton and the very pro-police vice president, Al Gore (not that most police officers every thanks either of them). But apparently, say Republicans, it's against the constitution. From USA Today:
Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., objected, blocking action on the program, as he did in 2012. Coburn said the Constitution gives the federal government no role in funding local police departments.
The bill's supporters include the Fraternal Order of Police, International Association of Chiefs of Police, the National Sheriff's Association and the National Association of Police Organizations.
The bill has 26 co-sponsors, but none are Republican.
Just imagine, if you will, the right-wing / Fox News backlash if Obama came out against this. Though maybe Obama should come out against it, just so Republicans would support it...

Why let saving the lives of police officers get in the way of your kookie right-wing ideology? For shame.

May 5, 2014

The jury has spoken

I wasn't there; I didn't attend the trial; so far be it from me to assert "the truth" of what happened at an Occupy Wall Street gathering in March, 2012.

From the video, she sure looks guilty as sin (bottom left of the frame, at 22 seconds):

A jury of 12 thought similarly, and found Cecily McMillan guild of felony assault on a police officer, which is a pretty serious offense.

Can't you be pro-Occupy and also not pro-elbowing cops?

Like all trials, the problem, if it is problem, is the trial isn't about greater issues. It's about the person on trial and the single criminal act they are being tried for. That's it. Despite the efforts of Cecily's supporters, this trial wasn't about Occupy or the police.

From the Times:
A video corroborated Officer Bovell’s account. Ms. McMillan is seen bending her knees, then throwing her right elbow into the officer’s eye. She lurches forward, runs a few steps, then is tackled by several officers.

Ms. McMillan testified she had no recollection of hitting the officer, but recalled what she thought was someone trying to grope her. “All of a sudden I feel somebody grab me from behind, from my right breast, and pull me backward,” she said.
Erin Choi, an assistant district attorney, in her summation accused Ms. McMillan of lying about Officer Bovell groping her for the sake of publicity. She showed stills from the onlooker’s video, and called Ms. McMillan a manipulator “constantly scheming” to gain attention.... “That’s how she benefited from this nonsense. She wanted to become the face of Occupy Wall Street.”
She was one of the few protesters arrested during three months of Occupy Wall Street protests who opted for a trial. She said she did so because the Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., would not agree to let her plead guilty to a misdemeanor, and a felony conviction would linger on her record, hampering her career for the rest of her life.

This guy might be brilliant...

Mark Oslermay I'm talking about. Don't know him from Adam: "We Need Al Capone Drug Laws"

That damn liberal media (for real!... sort of)

It hasn't been a bad week for off-duty NYPD officers. There was the drunk cop who shot himself or his partner in the wrist (actually he was on-duty, but whatever). Then there was the cop in the car who f*cking tried to kill the guy in the car next to him. And perhaps a few other incidents... who can say? Whatever (hey, I'm sure you can google any of this).

You take any population of 35,000 mostly young males and you will get many stories of bad and amusingly bad behavior. But that's not my point.

It's this headline from the Times that I find strange: "Former New York Police Officer Charged With Painting Anti-Semitic Graffiti."

"Former New York Police Officer"?

It's crap like this why cops hate "the liberal media."

The story actually isn't so bad. But the headline editor? Shame on you!

It's like if I got arrested for something -- tax charges or pedophilia or whatever (just hypothetically speaking, of course) -- and they were like "former Baltimore City Police Officer arrested!" I've been off the friggin' job since 2001!

Except this is much worse. Because I wasn't kicked out of the police department. Had I wanted to (God willing), I could now have 14+ years on the job (poor me). This guy, best I can tell, was basically fired, perhaps while on probation. Why? Because he's a hate-filled schmuck!

This guy is obviously crazy because not only did he spray paint "Jews suck cock" but he did so right under a camera.

Why can't the headline read, "Crazy Guy Arrested for Anti-Semitic Graffiti." Or, because the cop thing is news, "Crazy guy NYPD fired is, in fact, crazy." Or "NYPD thought this guy is crazy. Turns out the NYPD was right!"

From the same story that calls him police:
Mr. Setiawan, of Bellerose, Queens, was a police officer for two years before resigning in 2007.... The reason he left the department was not immediately clear. In the years since, the police said, Mr. Setiawan has been arrested six times.
He isn't a "former police officer." He is a "fired police officer"!

And don't just blame liberals. The conservative press, the New York Post, made the same mistake. But, as usual (or at least since the Times moved Al Baker, who was a great police reporter, for "being too close to police"), other papers captured a better story. Why is the Queens Courier better with police reporting than the venerable Grey Lady?

It's actually not because of any political or liberal/conservative bias. It's all about the reporters. The Times often hires upper-middle class "nice" people out of journalism school. These are the educated folks, like me, who correctly or not, are perceived as never having worked a blue-collar day in their lives. The hostility of police is very class based. Do you learn that in J-school? I don't know. But I didn't learn that at Princeton or Harvard.

The Queens Courier, on the other hand, is now edited by a former police officer. I suspect their crime coverage is going to be pretty effing good! At least for this story they use "ex" and not "former." You may not get the difference. But I do. Beat that, Grey Lady.

To be honest, by far the best coverage of this story was in the Daily News.