The Left's Reign of Terror Continues in Baltimore
By Matthew Vadum
As Maryland’s largest city grieves for a mother and her 7-year-old son found shot to death, it is becoming clear that criminals emboldened by left-wingers are terrorizing the people of Baltimore like never before.
The city’s radical, left-wing, thug-loving mayor, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake (D), has emasculated the local police she despises and abandoned her constituents by giving criminals a green light to do as they please. Police officers have been ordered not to do their jobs which is just as well because many of them are quite justifiably terrified of doing their jobs in the current environment. Mobs of as many as 50 people now routinely assemble when police arrive at crime scenes. Are they serving as community watchdogs or are they there to intimidate cops? Maybe both.
At this rate it won’t be long before Baltimore dethrones Detroit as the premier municipal showcase for left-wing urban policy failures. Ominously, this is America’s Mad Max-like future if it continues on the suicidal course set by President Obama, a man whose proudest accomplishment has been to serve as a rabble-rousing Marxist community organizer.
While the still-warm corpses of the city’s newest murder victims were being processed by authorities yesterday, panelists at the George Soros-funded Center for American Progress in the nation’s capital laid the blame for the rising tide of violence in Baltimore on everyone except the perpetrators.
No people of color are responsible for their actions, panelists said or implied. It’s society’s fault. It’s capitalism’s fault. It’s the fault of “white privilege.” There are too many laws. There are too many cops. Corporations are too powerful and they are definitely not people. Campaign finance reform would level the playing field. Things would be better if tax rates were raised. Every left-wing shibboleth and cliche was dusted off and put to use at the agenda-setting think tank founded by John Podesta.
Also discussed was the profoundly racist Black Lives Matter movement that is built on demonstrable lies –for example, that Michael Brown of Ferguson, Mo., was an innocent gentle giant murdered by a black-hating white cop– and gross exaggerations about the state of race relations in America (or at least they were hyperbolic before Barack Obama moved into the White House).
The pro-felon brainstorming session was titled, “Toward a More Perfect Union: Bringing Criminal Justice Reform to Our Communities.”
Saul Alinsky-inspired slogans like “power perceived is power achieved” flew around the 10th floor conference room at the nearly two-hour seminar that was a smorgasbord of untruths, cant, and intellectual junk food.
Dressed in casual clothing and a baseball cap, the fast-talking, social justice peddling Rev. Heber Brown III of Pleasant Hope Baptist Church in North Baltimore, is a master of politically correct pap. The community organizing preacher uses tedious phrases like “building power,” “the institutional racism that is manifested in local communities,” “moving out of spaces of privilege,” and “rendering space to others.”
The problem with Baltimore and the rest of America is that “the system” is evil. By “the system,” he meant American norms and the nation’s free institutions.
The civil disturbances in his hometown happened because “young people in Baltimore said that enough is enough,” Brown said emphatically. “No more will we rely on the benevolence of a system that has an appetite for our destruction to decide our destiny. No more.”
Stopping crazed, homicidal cops, as opposed to criminals, would be a step in the right direction, Brown argued.
“With this question of how do we improve relationships between the police and the community, stop killing black people. Stop killing brown people. Stop killing trans … stop killing marginalized and oppressed people and let’s start right there and continue.”
Agitators like Brown are doing what they can to kill Baltimore. When a black person dies at the hands of police, the circumstances don’t matter. The death is an opportunity to promote the Left’s agenda, and that’s what Brown and his ilk do.
The city’s ongoing death spiral was set in motion after the suspicious April 19 death in police custody of career criminal Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man with a long arrest record. Since then angry mobs, racial-grievance profiteers, and radical leftist troublemakers have turned Baltimore into a war zone with the official encouragement of Mayor Rawlings-Blake. The mayor infamously admitted after riots began last month that she gave space “to those who wished to destroy.”
Helpless Baltimoreans who suffer under some of the nation’s most oppressive gun laws are sitting ducks for the criminals whom the mayor has empowered. The residents’ civil rights, particularly their Second Amendment rights, have been virtually nullified by a Democrat-dominated city government that regards mob violence as possibly the highest and most legitimate form of political expression.
The Left refers to the general lawlessness now plaguing gore-flecked Baltimore as an “uprising,” granting it a kind of undeserved legitimacy, as if it were somehow comparable to the Boston Tea Party in 1773.
But with the brutal murder of 31-year-old Jennifer Jeffrey-Browne and her little son, second-grader Kester “Tony” Browne, who were both found yesterday morning with gunshot wounds to their heads, the homicide count for the city stood at 38 as of last night, the highest monthly figure for Baltimore in 19 years. And the month isn’t over yet.
According to the Baltimore Sun, the two resided on a quiet block of row-houses in the city’s Uplands neighborhood. Danielle Wilder, Jeffrey-Browne’s sister, said “I cannot think of who would want her dead.”
Wilder’s husband, Seamea Cammue, added, “You gotta be really evil. You gotta have no soul.”
Wilder described her sister as a “fun and bubbly” woman and said she last spoke with her the previous morning.
Little “Tony” was a student at Baltimore International Academy, a language-immersion charter school. Principal John Enkiri called the youngster a “gentle soul.”
“He’s always smiling when you entered” the boy’s classroom, Enriki said.
“I was always impressed by his mother’s love for him,” the schoolmaster added. “He was everything to her. She was everything to him.”
The number of non-fatal shootings is also skyrocketing. The figure so far this month is 91.
A befuddled Rawlings-Blake suggested the surge in violent crime was a real head-scratcher. “Examining” the relationship between the jump in murders and the plummeting arrest rate, she said, may throw some light on this impenetrable mystery.
Before Freddie Gray slipped this mortal coil, arrests in Baltimore were down by around 28 percent from the same month in 2014. Arrests are down about 56 percent so far this month compared to May last year, one media outlet reported.
Police booked 2,396 people in the first 19 days of May 2014, compared to a mere 1,045 people in the first 19 days of this month.
Putting on her criminologist cap, the mayor said there are “a lot of reasons why we’re having a surge in violence.”
“Other cities that have experienced police officers accused or indicted of crimes, there’s a lot of distrust and a community breakdown,” she said, without acknowledging her role as Baltimore’s chief cheerleader for the criminal element. “The result is routinely increased violence.”
Meanwhile, there are serious doubts whether the police officers implicated in the death of Freddie Gray can receive a fair trial in Baltimore because the petit jury pool there isn’t exactly filled with law-and-order enthusiasts.
The six cops in legal jeopardy are charged with offenses ranging from reckless endangerment to second-degree “depraved-heart murder” and manslaughter.
Three of the defendants, Caesar R. Goodson, William G. Porter, and Alicia D. White, are black. The three others, Brian W. Rice, Edward M. Nero, and Garrett E. Miller are white.
From the what-took-them-so-long department, defense lawyers for the six police officers have asked for a change of venue. They argue in an 85-page motion that the cops cannot receive a “fair and impartial trial” in Baltimore — and they are most certainly correct.
They say that not enough time has gone by to allow “the type of healing and reconciliation in the community that would be needed to dampen the effects of the events surrounding the case.” The document continues,
Based on the relative size and characteristics of Baltimore City, the prejudicial information that has penetrated every form of online, printed and broadcast media, and the short time between the alleged crimes and the trial(s), the presumption of prejudice prevents the Officers in this case from receiving fair trials.
According to the Sun:
The attorneys also argued that statements by public officials about rooting out police brutality “blurred the line” between an issue affecting the entire Police Department and the six defendants. “The negative and hostile implications toward the department have become inseparably enmeshed with those against the Defendants,” they said.
Former judge and Fox News Channel commentator Andrew Napolitano told anchor Megyn Kelly that the cops’ lawyers have it right.
“The civil unrest that occurred makes it unlikely the police officers could get a fair trial in the city of Baltimore, even if Mother Teresa were the prosecutor.” he said. “But instead you have a prosecutor who acts and sounds like she’s a political candidate for office.”
Napolitano was referring to Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby (D). She’s the grandstanding prosecutor who in the Freddie Gray saga has invoked the phrase “no justice, no peace,” the battle cry of leftist rabble and racial arsonists hellbent on destruction that Americans became familiar with during the Los Angeles riots of 1992. Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz has accused Mosby of “overcharging” the police officers to placate the rioters. Charging a defendant with an excessively serious crime makes it more likely the jury will acquit and when that happens there will be more riots, he said.
“It is clear there has to be a change of venue, meaning the trial has to be tried in another part of the state of Maryland and the jurors have to be drawn from that other part of the state,” Napolitano said. “The question is: can she fairly administer justice?”
Kelly added, “If it gets moved to another county, she is still the prosecutor, but she appears to be a problem. I mean, schooled and learned lawyers … are coming out using the word ‘disbarment’ for this type of behavior when it comes to a D.A.”
Unlike many talking heads, Kelly knows what she’s talking about. Before entering the world of TV news, Kelly practiced law for nine years at white-shoe law firm Jones Day in Washington, D.C., and was an associate at Bickel & Brewer LLP in Chicago. She was also editor of her law school’s law review.
The defense lawyers for the police officers also point out that there is a movement afoot to register young males to vote “so they can get on the jury to convict the officers.”
“It will be impossible to ferret out the bias and resentment of those prospective jury members who choose to hide their deeply held prejudices to get onto the jury,” they argued.
It is unclear who started this movement in Baltimore to pack juries. A month ago black commentator Roland Martin of TV One proposed stuffing juries with activists in order to guarantee that police officers are exposed to the wrath of the lynch mob. “You can’t try a police officer on a jury if you’re not registered to vote,” he said.
Martin urged pastors to encourage their African-American flocks to register to vote so they could get into jury pools. “But not just that, but you have to actually vote and once you vote for somebody you have to hold them accountable as well,” he said.
Whatever eventually happens to the accused police officers in court, Baltimore’s future looks bleak.
It is difficult to estimate how much the city will miss out on in terms of forgone future taxes and overall economic impact. Investors are unlikely to flock to Baltimore given that its government refuses to protect private property, one of its most basic obligations.
And U.S. taxpayers are going to be stuck with the bill for the mayor’s bad behavior and the crime wave it helped to exacerbate.
The city is applying for federal aid to cover expenses incurred in the riots that Rawlings-Blake encouraged. City officials say they want $20 million in direct costs to cover expenses such as equipment purchases, for example, tear gas and riot gear, and for street cleaning.
But that’s just the beginning of what local, state, and federal taxpayers will pay for Rawlings-Blake’s appalling malfeasance and fiscal blame-shifting.
The mayor is urging the more than 380 businesses damaged during the riots to seek loans and grants from the U.S. Small Business Administration and the Baltimore Development Corp., a public-private agency that promotes business development by issuing tax credits and offering debt instruments for sale to investors.
Maryland’s governor, Larry Hogan (R), is also seeking reimbursement for the state’s costs related to the riots. Of course, unlike Rawlings-Blake, who is the best friend a looter could ever have, Hogan did not make things worse by colluding with rioters and criminal gangs such as the Bloods, Crips, and Black Guerrilla Army. The governor did both his own job and the mayor’s job, restoring order to the city by activating the Maryland National Guard.
Now if only Gov. Hogan could dissolve the Baltimore City government for failing to perform even the most rudimentary of governmental functions and impose a state-run control board on the city.
Maybe then Baltimore might actually have a chance of bouncing back.