Inside the mind of a black Baltimore cop

The problem, they say, is that so few Baltimore city police officers come from the city or live there. Most, regardless of race, come from surrounding counties, states and rural areas. All they know of Baltimore, they say, is the famous HBO series “The Wire,” which portrays the city as a vicious criminal purgatory.

Some of these officers act like they’re reading from a script for “The Wire,” both said. They will respond to a call in a poor black neighborhood and trash people’s homes and break furniture while searching for drugs. They think everyone is like a character on “The Wire” who doesn’t deserve respect. Apart from their police work, they’ve never been around blacks in the inner city.

And that includes some black officers, Marcus said.

“I’ve seen black officers from out of the state or surrounding counties, and their mind is made up: ‘It’s us against them,’ ” Marcus said.

The way some officers talk to black men in front of their families in poor neighborhoods is particularly galling, Marcus said. He said he’s had to take officers aside and tell them to cool down.