The citizens of Baltimore are finding out the hard way that demonizing cops often comes with hellish consequences. Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake gave looters and criminals “space” to destroy private property during the Freddie Gray riots and they returned the favor by shooting a whole slew of people.
CBS Baltimore reported Monday:
Another violent weekend caps off what’s been one of the deadliest months in Baltimore history. In just 30 days, there’s been more than 100 shootings across the city. Despite the mayhem, the mayor says the city is improving.
More than 40 people were murdered in the month of May alone — another 100-plus were injured. The uptick in crime has some scared to leave their homes, but the mayor says this high level is violence is slowing down. …
Forty-three people murdered in May — the most in a month since 1972. …
Police say a total of four people were shot on Sunday. No arrests have been made.
The number of nonfatal shootings is 219 this year — compared to 120 at this time last year. One-hundred shootings in 30 days — an average of a little more than 3 shootings a day.
Say you’re a Baltimore police officer. You were told to stand down while a bunch of looters threw concrete blocks at your face during riots. You watched local businesses burn to the ground because criminals needed “space.” You witnessed Marilyn Mosby get on stage during Prince concerts for Freddie Gray, and you sat in stunned disbelief when she said her Twitter account’s favorite anti-cop tweets were chosen by a mysterious hacker. Would you proactively police the city? I think not.
The Baltimore Sun reported May 8:
“In 29 years, I’ve gone through some bad times, but I’ve never seen it this bad,” said Lt. Kenneth Butler, president of the Vanguard Justice Society, a group for black Baltimore police officers. Officers “feel as though the state’s attorney will hang them out to dry.”
Several officers said in interviews they are concerned crime could spike as officers are hesitant to do their jobs, and criminals sense opportunity. Butler, a shift commander in the Southern District, said his officers are expressing reluctance to go after crime.
“I’m hearing it from guys who were go-getters, who would go out here and get the guns and the bad guys and drugs. They’re hands-off now,” Butler said. “I’ve never seen so many dejected faces.
“Policing, as we once knew it, has changed.”
Lt. Victor Gearhart, a 33-year veteran who works in the Southern District, said residents with complaints about police “are going to get the police force they want, and God help them.”
The vast majority of cops are good people. They risk their lives working long hours on a thankless job. When they screw up, they’re called “racists,” “pigs,” and a wide assortment of other derogatory names. When they’re proactive, they’re tyrannical monsters, but when they pull back in the face of criticism they’re accused of letting crime run rampant. It’s a Catch 22.
Why on earth would anyone want to do police work in Baltimore when the guy burning down a CVS Pharmacy gets more sympathy than the guy who has to wear a bulletproof vest to work each morning? It makes no sense, which is why Baltimore’s crime rate is currently out of control.
If Marilyn Mosby is smart, then she will meet privately with law enforcement personnel for a much-needed mea culpa. If she is dumb, then she will continue to say and do weird things that exacerbate the city’s underlying problems. Sadly, it is Baltimore’s poorest and most vulnerable population that will pay the price for woeful leadership.