By Juliet Linderman and Eric Tucker for Associated Press. Vanita Gupta, the head of the Justice Department’s civil rights division, said the agreement will make the city safer for everyone, including officers. “The city and BPD will implement comprehensive reforms to end the legacy of Baltimore’s zero-tolerance policing,” she said. “And in its place, Baltimore is empowering officers to engage in proactive, community-oriented policing.” The Justice Department agreement mandates changes in the most fundamental aspects of police work. Known as a consent decree, it is the culmination of months of negotiations and is meant to correct constitutional violations identified in the report released last year.
By Staff for the City Paper. The group marched to the Wells Fargo Bank building downtown where many gathered outside and some entered the bank chanting, “Protect the water, defund the pipeline.” Eventually, three affixed a chain of bike locks around their neck and sat down and began reading four demands: “1. We demand that Wells Fargo divest from the Dakota Access Pipeline2. We demand that Wells Fargo divest from predatory development and gentrification.3. We ask the people of Baltimore to divest from Wells Fargo.4. We ask the city of Baltimore to respect Indigenous sovereignty by changing Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples’ Day and by removing colonialists statues.” Outside, as group held signs that read “No DAPL,” “Big Oil Out Of Native Land,” and “From Standing Rock To Palestine Ethnic Cleansing Is A Crime,” others lead the group in chants, further articulating the point of the protest
By Daniel Politi for Slate – Family members gathered on Friday for a vigil to remember Tawon Boyd, 21, who died in the hospital mere days after an altercation with police. It all began early Sunday morning of last week, when Boyd apparently called 911 requesting an ambulance because he was feeling disoriented, reports the Guardian. The operator even heard Boyd’s girlfriend say in the background that he needed medical attention,notes the Associated Press.
By Allie Busching for Inequality – The entire city of Baltimore seemed to be cheering on Michael Phelps as he won his latest set of Olympic medals, continuing his reign as the most decorated Olympian of all time. No one can mistake Baltimore’s pride in our hometown hero. At the entrance to the city on Interstate 95, a giant billboard image of Phelps welcomes one and all. That image is an advertisement for Under Armour, a brand almost as synonymous with Baltimore as our star swimmer. The major difference between the two? These days, Under Armour and its founder Kevin Plank are getting jeers from once loyal fans.
By Monte Reel for Bloomberg Bussiness Week – The sky over the Circuit Court for Baltimore City on June 23 was the color of a dull nickel, and a broad deck of lowering clouds threatened rain. A couple dozen people with signs—“Justice 4 Freddie Gray” and “The whole damn system is guilty as hell”—lingered by the corner of the courthouse, watching the network TV crews rehearse their standups. Sheriff’s officers in bulletproof vests clustered around the building’s doors, gripping clubs with both hands.
By Fern Shen for Baltimore Brew – Unwarranted arrests of people doing nothing illegal – often after a hot-headed officer escalated a situation – were among the unconstitutional actions documented by the U.S. Justice Department in a scathing report on the Baltimore Police Department released Wednesday. City police made one such arrest, arguably, at a protest yesterday afternoon intended by organizers to call attention to the overly aggressive behavior chronicled in the Justice report.
By Julia Craven for The Huffington Post – A damning report from the Justice Department found that the Baltimore Police Department routinely used excessive force, retaliated against citizens for exercising their First Amendment rights and committed other civil rights abuses. Baltimore police officers often stopped, frisked and arrested residents unconstitutionally. The report, formally released on Wednesday, also says officers within the department were purposefully careless in sexual assault cases, used slurs against LGBT people and, in some cases, were told by supervisors to target black residents and “lock up all the black hoodies.”
By Jean Marbella for The Baltimore Sun – Soul searching in Baltimore as Justice Department details racial underpinnings to police problems. One vexing challenge underlies and overrides nearly everything in the Justice Department’s 163-page report on the failings of the Baltimore Police Department: race. Justice officials found that police used excessive force and unlawfully stopped hundreds of thousands of drivers and pedestrians without cause — and that African-Americans bore the brunt of this.
By Arno Agman for Popular Resistance. Baltimore, MD – No, it’s not a line from a B-series Italian mafia movie from the 80s. It’s straight from the entrails of the city of Baltimore. Most people living along the North East corridor don’t really ponder on the necessity of water…until it suddenly stops flowing. Then everything changes. Today started well with an early short trip to the gym. At home, we refilled all 8 five-gallon water bottles at the store in the morning, poured water in the four buckets spread around the house for periodic necessities and various cleaning tasks, installed a cut-out, slow dripped, refillable 3 gallon container above the kitchen sink for our dishes, and finally hung our 5 gallon portable camping shower bag in the bathroom. We were then ready to attack the daily events everyone takes for granted. Drinking, cleaning dishes, going to the bathroom… Showering had now entered the line of a luxury items.
By Deirdre Fulton for Common Dreams – Baltimore Police Lt. Brian Rice, the highest ranking officer charged in the death ofFreddie Gray, was on Monday acquitted on all counts. It marks the fourth time prosecutors have failed to secure a conviction in the case, theBaltimore Sun notes, and in turn “is likely to renew calls for Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby to drop the remaining charges[...] including from the union that represents the city’s rank-and-file officers.”
By Kevin Zeese for Popular Resistance. The Afromation protest in Baltimore stood up for black life and the importance of black culutre in the face of ongoing killings. To understand the reasons for protests in Baltimore and across the nation, we must look at the “race-based trauma” caused by police killings. As we prepared to march, I was talking with two of our colleagues. They described how it felt to be an African American man and see video of people who look like them being killed by police for no reason. It creates a trauma that requires them to act in order to stop it. The demands of the Afromation protests are reasonable: 1. An all-elected civilain complaint review board to give communities control of the police and self-determination; 2. A ten percent cut in the police budget away from militarization of the police and surveillance of the community with the funds used for community programming.
By Staff of The Real News Network – This is Taya Graham reporting for the Real News Network here in Baltimore City, Maryland. Im here at Port Covington, where developers are asking for a historic tax break. But this evening, community concerns intruded. If Baltimore is indeed two cities, one rich and one poor, then nowhere was this divide more evident than at City Garage in Port Covington Tuesday Night. I
By Julia Craven for The Huffington Post – A judge has cleared Baltimore Police Officer Caesar Goodson Jr. of all charges in the 2015 death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray. Goodson, 46, drove the van that transported Gray to central booking; Gray later died of injuries sustained while he was in police custody. Goodson was facing the most serious charges of all six officers charged in connection to Gray’s death, including depraved-heart murder, a second-degree charge that carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison. Goodson was also indicted for second-degree assault, misconduct in office, reckless endangerment and three counts of manslaughter. He pleaded not guilty to all charges.
By Alice Speri for The Intercept – ONE YEAR AGO this week, Keith Davis Jr. almost became another rallying cry against police brutality when four Baltimore police officers chased him into a garage and fired off 44 rounds at him, striking him three times, including in the face. Had he died, Davis would have become the first person killed by Baltimore police since Freddie Gray, who died in April 2015 of a severed spine after officers loaded him handcuffed, shackled and unrestrained into a police van.
By Justin Worland for Time – Spend a few hours with Destiny Watford and you could be forgiven for mistaking her for a normal college student. But Watford is no ordinary 21-year-old. Since her senior year of high school, Watford has led a committed group of teenagers, called Free Your Voice, in a movement to stop a company from building what would have been the largest incinerator on the Eastern Seaboard in her community’s backyard. The group’s members knocked on doors, pressed elected officials and confronted corporate executives until authorities revoked the project’s permit earlier this year.