Mr. Nero, who had but a tangential role in Gray's detention, should never have been charged. He committed no crime.
The prosecutor, in her desire to achieve "justice" for Freddie Gray, wanted somebody — anybody it seems — to pay for his death. But justice doesn't work that way. And the ill-conceived effort to pin the blame on these six officers has at best distracted from and at worst exacerbated Baltimore's most pressing problems.
Let us prevent the next prisoner's death. There are safe, modern, camera-equipped prisoner transport vehicles. Replacing Baltimore's entire prisoner transport fleet would cost less than the payout to Gray's family. But Baltimore either lacks the money or leadership to invest in them.
The trouble is, the political leadership in Baltimore is more interested in votes than addressing the deeper issues of the poorest Americans.
The mayor taps anger fueled by failed social policy and malign neglect. But we've never seen her or any Baltimore politician ride in a police car to see what officers see every day.
Politics and policy put Freddie on that drug corner and also gave police the task of moving him off of it. The failure of Freddie Gray is a collective failure. So why does "justice" depend on convicted police officers? Baltimore elected officials need to focus on the city's real problems, which do not take legal acrobatics to explain.
After the April riots, the murder rate doubled. Last year in Baltimore 304 black men — 131 more than in 2014 — were murdered. That's roughly one in every 220 black men aged 15 to 35 murdered in one year. Think of those odds. Americans shouldn't have live and die like this.
There are actual criminals in Baltimore. Those who pick up an illegal gun and pull the trigger to kill a fellow man. Police deal with them every day. So when criminals are seen as the victims and police are made out to be the problem, it's as if the inmates have taken over the asylum.
May 25, 2016
"Nero Should Never Have Been Charged"
Writing in the Baltimore Sun, co-authored with my friend, Leon "HL Mencken" Taylor:
Labels: Baltimore 6