After the city of Baltimore paid off the family of Freddie Gray before the accused officers had even stepped into a courtroom you may have been hopeful that this was simply a one off, poor decision on the part of City Hall. Sadly, that doesn’t seem to be the case and the move may have been an indicator of what is now standard policy. We only recently learned from the local news that two more people who got into confrontations with the police have been handed sizable checks to just shut up and go away.
Baltimore has agreed to pay $220,000 to settle two lawsuits against the city’s police department.
The first settlement stems from an incident on June 2, 2012. Around midnight that night Baltimore police were called to a “loud party” in the 3800 block of Falls Road, according to settlement documents released by the city…
The second settlement stems from a January 2013 incident.
Documents state Officer Quinton Smith was on patrol when he tried to clear a crowd in the 5400 block of York Road.
Smith said a man told him the crowd wasn’t going to leave and the group moved in around him.
Rather than going to court and fighting these cases, Charm City’s mayor and city council are opting to further empty out the taxpayer coffers and pay off people with complaints against the police department, essentially issuing a guilty plea to the public through the media. The first case was clearly questionable to an extent, but the circumstances of the case certainly at least merited a full hearing in court. When the cops responded to the “loud party” in question they were confronted by Jake Masters who proceeded to fight with the officers. Masters wound up being tased, but his girlfriend, Christine Abbot, tried to impose herself between the cops and her boyfriend and prevent his arrest. Police wound up pinning her to the ground and arresting her as well, and in the course of those events her dress was torn.
Note to party goers: when the cops come and tell you that you’re being too loud, you don’t start a fight with them. Bad things tend to happen.
The second payout was even more sketchy. (Baltimore Sun, from January, 2013)
Quinton Smith, a Northern District patrol officer, was trying to clear a crowd that had gathered outside a carryout restaurant in the 5400 block of York Road early Sunday when he asked Theodore Smith, 37, for identification. Police said Theodore Smith refused and engaged Quinton Smith in a physical struggle and the Baltimore officer fired his service gun.
The single shot struck a 21-year-old man and a 37-year-old woman, causing wounds to both that weren’t life-threatening, police said.
What that initial report in the press didn’t reveal was that it wasn’t only Theodore Smith who was attacking the officer. He was pinned against a wall and was being struck by multiple people in what was accurately described as “a crowd” but could just as easily have been called a mob. When you have multiple adults beating up a police officer, what do you suppose is going to happen? He was fighting for his life and fired his weapon. The fact that two people in the crowd were struck and nobody was killed was likely the best result anyone could have hoped for. And yet the payout has been made.
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake is nothing short of a disaster and her leadership at City Hall is what is leading to these sorts of decisions. Rather than making any effort to defend her police department and their work, she’s sending out one signal of surrender after another to the people who really control the streets these days. Is it any wonder that Charm City has turned back into the Murder Capital of the region lately? Why should any criminal fear the police when they know they have the Mayor on their side?