The Brutality of Police Culture in Baltimore

Years of abuses are every bit as egregious as what the Department of Justice documented in Ferguson, Missouri, and as deserving of a national response.

The Atlantic, Conor Friedersdorf, April 22

In Baltimore, where 25-year-old Freddie Gray died shortly after being taken into police custody, an investigation may uncover homicidal misconduct by law enforcement, as happened in the North Charleston, South Carolina, killing of Walter Scott. Or the facts may confound the darkest suspicions of protestors, as when the Department of Justice released its report on the killing of Michael Brown.

What’s crucial to understand, as Baltimore residents take to the streets in long-simmering frustration, is that their general grievances are valid regardless of how this case plays out. For as in Ferguson, where residents suffered through years of misconduct so egregious that most Americans could scarcely conceive of what was going on, the people of Baltimore are policed by an entity that perpetrates stunning abuses. The difference is that this time we needn’t wait for a DOJ report to tell us so. Harrowing evidence has been presented. Yet America hasn’t looked.

I include myself.

Despite actively reading and commenting on police misconduct for many years, I was unaware until yesterday that the Baltimore Sun published a searing 2014 article documenting recent abuses that are national scandals in their own rights.

A grandmother’s bones were broken. A pregnant woman was violently thrown to the ground. Millions of dollars were paid out to numerous victims of police brutality.

And almost none of us noticed!

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