The April 19th death Freddie Gray, which can be traced to a spinal injury obtained during his arrest April 12, generated genuine concern across the nation. Americans wanted to know exactly what happened during the 25-year-old’s arrest by the Baltimore Police Department, which led to his death and warranted the suspension of six cops. Then the fires and the looting began, and most of the national sympathy Baltimore had at its disposal went up in smoke.
Americans expect inept or corrupt cops to answer for their actions. Every community across the nation has a vested interest in holding its law enforcement officials accountable for bad behavior. It would make no sense to turn a blind eye to systemic problems that undermine the public’s faith in the rule of law. Given that, the worst thing a community can do to protest police malfeasance is to act like marauding psychopaths straight out of Mad Max casting.
Another way to explain Baltimore’s predicament may be: If a man slashes hoses while firemen are trying to work, then he loses all credibility when he complains about heavy-handed policing.
CBS reported April 27 on Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake’s decision to give “space” to people whose sole plan for the day was to destroy private property:
“I worked with the police and instructed them to do everything that they could to make sure that the protesters were able to exercise their right to free speech,” Rawlings-Blake said to the media Saturday evening.
“It’s a very delicate balancing act because while we tried to make sure that they were protected from the cars and the other things that were going on, we also gave those who wished to destroy space to do that as well.”
Why on earth would businessmen or entrepreneurs want to open up shop in Baltimore going forward when they know that the mayor gives “space” to those who “wish to destroy”? Answer: they wouldn’t.
It takes a special breed of person to police a community with fire hose slashers, thriving gang activity, and CVS arsonists. When those hard-nosed men and women in blue act like the criminals they are supposed to arrest, then they need to have the book thrown at them. Likewise, there is no excuse for using a community’s anger to set buildings ablaze and steal from local business owners.
When the dust finally settles, the citizens of Baltimore should step back and think about the clueless politicians who made a bad situation worse.