The number of deadly shootings in Baltimore has gone up sharply this year. There have been 208 homicides so far which is more than the number in New York, despite the fact that New York has 10 times the population. This weekend residents are hoping for a ceasefire to prove it is possible to stop the violence, at least temporarily. From NBC News:
Erricka Bridgeford was 12 when she first saw a man die because he found himself at the wrong end of a bullet on Baltimore’s streets.
More than 30 years later, she’s pursuing a city-wide 72-hour ceasefire that began midnight Thursday to end a recent wave of violence that’s taken hold of her Chesapeake Bay home.
Hoping to prove that peace is possible, Bridgeford and other activists patrolled the streets of Baltimore and approached people with flyers in hand. She asked them to commit to the “Nobody Kill Anybody” weekend, requesting that they not exacerbate the violent trend in their neighborhoods.
As Jazz said when he wrote about this a couple weeks ago, you have to respect the bravery and initiative Bridgeford is showing here, even if it seems unlikely to succeed. There is a serious crime problem in the city which is exacerbated by a lack of faith in the police. And in the last two weeks that lack of faith in the police has seen some justification as two different body cam videos apparently show police planting drugs. From NBC News:
The most recent video, released Tuesday by Baltimore defense attorney Josh Insley, has led the Baltimore City States Attorney’s Office to refer two officers to Internal Affairs and postpone all cases involving the officers…
But, two weeks ago, Maryland Office of the Public Defender released a similar video in which an officer appeared to plant and later find drugs on a plot of a Baltimore residence. Three officers were implicated in the video.
The State’s Attorney’s Office said that it had dismissed or is set to dismiss 41 cases because of the first video, 55 are under review and 27 are considered viable cases to prosecute because of evidence beyond the officers’ testimony.
Here’s the video released two weeks ago. Officer’s body cameras pick up 30 seconds before they turn them on. In this case, that means we get to see police planting the drugs before they go back to “discover” them.
What’s really worrisome here is police seem to be tripped up by the fact that they aren’t completely aware of how the body cameras work. If they had been, they probably wouldn’t have been caught. But at some point, now that these videos are out there, word will spread and cops who want to plant evidence will figure out how to escape detection when doing so.
The key to restoring confidence in the police, which is probably a prerequisite to solving Baltimore’s crime problem, is going to involve getting rid of the bad apples and setting a higher standard. That won’t be easy thanks to union contracts that protect cops from firing even when they clearly deserve it.