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Baltimore Police Department Struggles With Truth & Justice

Baltimore Police Chief Batts has taken up the task of swaying public opinion of the city’s law enforcement. This past Wednesday on June 25th, Chief Batts along with his top brass participated in a City Hall public hearing on law enforcement practices. This comes after several years of community activism against police brutality, including brutality against Anthony Anderson and Tyrone West. Joining the fight recently has been 36 year old Abdul Salaam. Both the West and Salaam families filed reports with internal affairs which that say they were ignored.

Both the Anderson & West incidents had been clouded by conflicting reports by the police and witnesses. The Baltimore Police Department claimed Anthony Anderson died of a drug overdose, while the facts revealed by the medical examiner indicated that it had been a homicide by blunt force. Abdul Salaam had been severely beaten by police upon a routine seatbelt stop last July of 2013. It has been recently reported that both the Salaam and West families have taken their grievances to a civil court because the Baltimore PD have found no wrong doing of officers in either case.

Bmore_mtgAdding to the failure of the community is the award winning local Baltimore Sun crime reporter Justin Fenton reports of the police department and quotes from the victim’s family members that give the appearance that things are improving. Fenton’s article is clearly a puff piece to boost the public perception without providing a fair account of a department that continues to cave in on itself with corrupt practices and infighting within the force.

“Even a relative of Tyrone West, whose family holds regular protests to call attention to West’s death in the custody of police officers last year, gave Batts high marks for his willingness to talk to them even while continuing to criticize the agency’s handling of the case and naming him as a defendant in the family’s lawsuit over the case.”,0,3806750.story#ixzz35u53SoFO Diane Butler (aunt) who mothered Anthony Anderson had this to say at the hearing on Wednesday, “How can these murdering animal police cowards still be on the streets paid for by tax dollars!”

Baltimore City Councilman Warren Branch of District 13 read a memo complaint from an officer on the force pertaining to threats by other officers if cops speak out against fellow cops. Gasps of shock and outrage burst from the family members of victims in the hearing, this past Wednesday when this had been revealed. The blue code of silence had been quickly addressed by Chief Batts as he claimed, “We don’t care where the facts take us in an investigation, it will come to light”. The truth of Baltimore City PD misconduct seems to be rarely forthcoming from the department top brass. Chief Batts practiced lines sounds comforting, but the reality is obviously different outside the city hall hearing room.

Upon reviewing the Sun ‘Police Brutality’ page, there isn’t one single article of the Baltimore City PD accepting responsibility for wrong doing.
Rev CD Witherspoon has led many rallies over the past few years surrounding police brutality with a common rally call, ‘No Justice, No Peace’. Police Chief Batts may have to rock the boat in the department to redefine a department and investigative unit that have an uncanny gift for sweeping problems under the carpet, if he hopes to change public opinion of the department. Peace will have a chance when honor and transparency becomes the norm, rather than aggression and failed court decisions of justification going against damning facts.

At the hearing on Wednesday Rev. CD Witherspoon testified, “There is clearly a double standard in our society. If one of the citizens of the city commits a crime, there is an indictment, they are prosecuted, they are thrown in jail, and charged to the fullest extent of the law. That is not the same type of action taken against police officers who break the law in this city”

The concept of ‘Protect & Serve’ has to reflect a great deal of spiritual duty in our society, lest we move closer to fascist rule. The police in the streets are dealing with the chaos of cuts to housing, food programs, and job shortages that continue to wreak havoc in our poorest neighborhoods. When cops deal with a more desperate public and fear repercussions of breaking the Blue Code of Silence on an ever increasing scale, who is being protected and who actually being served? It’s not until the balance of justice reaches corruption within the Baltimore City Police department will there be public trust. Until then, Baltimore and cities facing these very same conditions will face the same spiritual and financial troubles.

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