About . . . . Classes . . . . Books . . . . Vita . . . . Blog. . . . Podcast

by Peter Moskos

April 25, 2015

Things getting ugly in Baltimore

Battles are going in Baltimore. Link to tweets from the Sun. In the long run, police are going to win this. It's just a question of how many people get hurt in the process.

This breaks my heart. Not just for the people I know at risk, but also for Baltimore. I love Baltimore.


Anonymous said...

I like what I am reading about Batts in this interview.


Moskos said...

I haven't read it yet. I will. Thanks for the link.

Anonymous said...

Given the way the police have decided to react to the protests--with a huge show of force and unwillingness to own up to the fact that they're responsible for the death or otherwise positively engage the community--violence was inevitable. Instead of doing anything to calm the situation, they're just stoking it.

Anonymous said...

A show of force? A show of force is how you put yourself in a situation not to need it or use it.

Own up to it? I don't know what else they could do. The family has already retained Billy Murphy or someone like him or will retain them soon. http://murphyfalcon.com/lawyers/william-h-billy-murphy-jr/

No one has said it is right when a prisoner dies in custody from physical injury. As things are, they have to investigate.

However, you are right about one thing. They should be able to say they messed up without putting the City of Baltimore .. not just the police ... the few taxpayers at risk for a $5 to $10 million settlement. The family is going to get a decent settlement, so I would prefer to get it done and over with. Corporations do this all the time. When they can. Settle something to get it out of the papers.


San Bernadino knew they would have to pay .. so there is no upside to dragging it out. Instead of police brutality, we have a horse thief getting $650,000 for getting beaten. So the papers have something to talk about other than police brutality.

These thing get stupid when it is just left to the lawyers, one of whom is getting paid by the hour. A sympathetic jury could have easily awarded him $1 or more. And then the lawyer gets 1/3. All the while, the victim has do deal with ongoing litigation. It is much more mentally aggravating than it sounds.

Anyway, I would have liked to see a quick settlement in some of the recent shootings. First, because the headline cases are rare .. that is, the victim has any case. Plus it is way of acknowledging trama .. regardless of criminal or even civil liability.

Wait until you see what the last few high profile shootings settle for.

Anonymous said...

When you bring in hundreds of police from outside jurisdications and put them in storm trooper gear to oversee protests where there hasn't yet been any violence, you set the tone that "we don't like you" and "there will be violence." And the experience of protesters on the scene has been that police were very proactive in being violent.

The protests started out completely non-violent and it took a couple days for any violence to emerge.

Violence may or may not have happened anyway. But when police show up to peaceful protests with the attitude of "this is a war zone," violence will eventually happen. Who knows, it may have gotten violent anyway without police setting that tone. But then again, maybe not.

As for what else they could do to "own up to it." They could say unequivocally, "Freddie Gray isn't responsible for his injuries." That's obvious to everyone, and the police look ridiculous not admitting that and it only generates hostility.

And, look, I know cops have a hard job. And I personally benefitted from good, helpful work of the BPD on one particular occasion. So it's not like I've got personal hostility toward them. But they just seem really, really terrible at psychology. They seem completely unwilling to engage in behavior that establishes moral legitimacy among those they police, opting instead for pure brute force to establish their power, which perpetuates the bad relations between them and poor communities.

Moskos said...

I might phrase things a bit differently, but you make some good points. Though what violence *I* saw (not being there) did not seem to be provoked by the police.