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by Peter Moskos

August 10, 2016

Prequel to the DOJ BPD report

Dan Rodricks in the Sun:
Anticipating the Department of Justice's release of its civil rights investigation, Davis clearly staked out a position as the man who is trying to fix the department's broken relationship with large sectors of the community it serves.
Getting ahead of police reform is no easy task, but it's much easier than getting ahead of all the shooting.
When Mosby dropped all remaining charges in the arrest and death of Freddie Gray, she stood on a street in West Baltimore and angrily accused certain police officers of sabotaging the state's case. She went further than that, asserting that police officers have an "inherent bias" when they investigate fellow officers. ... The takeaway from her screed was this: You can't count on cops to investigate cops. "As you can see," she said, "whether investigating, interrogating, testifying, corroborating or even complying with the state, we've all bore witness to an inherent bias that is a direct result of when police police themselves."

Turns out, as Mosby spoke, Cagle was going to trial for shooting a burglary suspect who had already been wounded by two fellow officers. Those two officers testified against Cagle for his use of unnecessary force. That this happened shortly after Mosby's angry declaration was remarkable. Not only did the Cagle jury hear the testimony of two officers, Isiah Smith and Keven Leary, it saw clear evidence — literally, from an interrogation video — of an earnest investigation by the Police Department's Internal Affairs Division.
Mosby knows, sooner or later, she'll be judged by the same standards by which she asked voters to judge Bernstein. While some Baltimoreans will reward her for prosecuting cops, many more, sick of their city being one of the most violent in the country, want to see her get convictions of murderers and rapists. She needs a full partnership with Davis to make that happen.
I'm on page 90 of DOJ report. I'll finished it before I go to bed and write something about it tomorrow. It's late.

1 comment:

Sir Robert Peel said...

Mr. Moskos, as a serving police officer and somebody who reads your blog everyday, but has never posted a comment, I have to say:

a) Your last post nails the concept of the no win scenario police officers face when physically fighting with an "unarmed" suspect and that suspect either disarms the member or starts to dominate the confrontation. The classification of "unarmed" shooting victims is one in which organizations like the Washington Post use as being synonimous with "innocent" or "unjustified", however this incident in New York and your comments about it clearly show this to be incorrect. Unarmed people can pose a deadly threat to officers or the public, and thus a police shooting of an unarmed suspect can not only be justified, but sadly necessary for the safety of the public.

b) By repudiating uninformed commenters like David, I think it certainly makes professional law enforcement officers (like myself) more likely to read and comment on the blog. I personally have no interest in getting into a war of words online with people who have likely never been in a serious physical confrontation in their life and have no real world experience in the issues you discuss here.

c) Having admittedly not read the DOJ report in detail, was there ever any doubt that the civil rights division was going to dig up something on the Baltimore police department (as they seem to do in every pattern and practice investigation)? And aren't their findings of "racism" complicated by the fact that the department in Baltimore is a majority minority force, which at the time had a black police chief, black mayor and black States Attorney?

Thank you for your posts and your work, you bring an essentially perspective into the policing conversation.