Earlier today we noted the fact that the city of Cleveland is, at least for now, managing to keep things mostly peaceful in the streets amid tensions between police and the community. That’s a very positive sign, and here’s to hoping they can maintain things on an even keel. But in the meantime, Baltimore has been taking a very different path. Even after the initial wave of riots receded, violence across the district has been on the rise. That trend hit a new high water mark over the holiday weekend leaving a horrific death toll in its wake.
Police say 28 people were shot, 9 of them killed over this weekend, adding to the record-breaking violence.
The shooting didn’t stop on Monday night after a 9-year-old boy and another man were both injured by gun fire in the 2900 block of Arunah Avenue. Police say the child was shot in the leg and another man suffered a graze wound to the head.
From one district to the next leaving 26 people shot and 9 dead. Councilmember Mary Pat Clarke links the violence to a city still reeling from weeks of unrest.
“It was an earthquake kind of time and i think we’re still dealing with the aftershock,” she says.
Those nine dead brought Baltimore’s violent crime death toll to 35 just for the month of May, one of the bloodiest months in modern history. And it’s not as if they’re filling up the jails. In fact, for the latest round of bloodshed there isn’t even a single suspect under arrest.
WJZ media partner The Baltimore Sun reports 35 people have been killed so far in May making it the deadliest month in Baltimore since December of 1999. Some say the 3-day surge of violence may be a sign of a police department stretched too thin…
Since the beginning of the year, 108 people have died due to violence in the city. So far none of the victims have been identified and no arrests have been made. If you have information on any of these shootings you’re urged to contact police.
The list of detailed crime reports in that article should have anyone rightly horrified. But all of this crime stands in stark contrast to the latest bone of contention which is sparking even more puzzling protests. Plans have been revealed for a new youth jail and the residents are unhappy.
Traffic on major Baltimore roadways was stopped early Tuesday as a group of demonstrators protested the state’s funding of a youth jail project in the city by creating gridlock amid the morning rush.
Tweets from the account of Pastor Jamal Bryant indicated roads — including Interstate 395 — were being blocked in protest of a juvenile jail that was recently funded by the state. The timing of the gridlock fell at the height of the morning commute after a holiday weekend…
State officials approved plans earlier this month to build a $30 million, 60-bed jail to house Baltimore teenagers charged as adults a step to address years of concern about the practice of housing young city defendants alongside adults.
The U.S. Justice Department has said the state-run Baltimore City Detention Center has been violating the law by keeping the youths in the same facility as grown-ups, where teens often are secluded and do not receive school or other services while incarcerated.
At this point it’s becoming impossible to figure out exactly what it is that the protesters want to see changed. Previously the focus was on the relationship between the cops and the primarily minority residents of the Western district. Complaints that the police are too aggressive have dominated the news for months. But when the cops seem a bit more tentative, the crime rate goes up. Those dozens of dead or severely wounded Baltimore citizens who have turned up this month were not gunned down by the cops. This is the work of criminals. If the protesters would like to feel more safe on the streets of their city, the cops need to find the perpetrators and lock them up.
But even with that premise – which should be a given in all but the most fever swamp imaginations – they are protesting the construction of the new jail and saying that the city just has plans to lock up a lot more black people, in the words of one protester. What, at this point, are the police supposed to be doing? This is a complex problem and we seem to lack any leaders (both on the streets and in City Hall) who are capable of separating out the challenges and dealing with them in a productive fashion. For now, this simply looks like chaos.