portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article commentary united states

anti-racism | police / legal

How Baltimore "Leaders" Blew It

Want to create a riot? Just follow these easy instructions from Baltimore's elected officials.
Watching Baltimore slide into complete chaos was a lesson in inevitability. The Police Union ( A very secretive and powerful force in city politics) immediately declared the officers who somehow caused Freddy Gray's death were all definitely innocent of any wrongdoing whatsoever. Their lawyer became the only official face for much too long, and his insane take on reality passed for the authoritative official declaration. This was the first major f**k-up. It was a big middle finger to anyone who even dared to ask "What really happened?" Then the mayor made a rare appearance and pretended to care by saying she intended to ask the right questions of the police, but immediately showed her true stance by telling reporters and public that the police should be given a chance to investigate themselves and that she had faith in the police commissioner to get to the bottom of Gray's demise. This was major screw-up #2. Just what the public wanted to hear, that the cops were going to investigate themselves in a town that recently paid out over $5 million in police brutality lawsuits. Yeah- that was a brilliant move on her part. She should have checked her moon calendar- a nasty Pluto aspect ruled Monday night. Then of course there was the funeral, where most speakers espoused peace and understanding, but some "Reverends" hijacked the proceedings and urged people to "take to the streets". The previous day saw a peaceful rally, but near the end of it the stage was hijacked by Nation of Islam speakers and some "Reverend" who urged everyone to march to the Oriole's game and they did, getting into major scuffles with the riot squad surrounding the stadium. Allowing a peaceful rally to be hijacked at the finish by (out of town?) violence-prone "leaders" was major f**-up #3. Were some of these idiots at the end some sort of provocateurs? The live ABC feed from Baltimore was locked on the front of the stage so you could read all the body language around the one microphone. It was obvious there were some intense struggles going on over who got to speak to the crowd. Some total idiots were just bashing cops in general. They were trying to be democratic about allowing "youth" to speak, but it sounded more like some gangster venting. At the end some guy who must have been six foot seven and three hundred pounds commandeered the mic and exhorted the crowd to "shut it down!". Sometimes a "democratic" ideal can be taken a bit too far. Then again, this last guy was too big for anyone to mess with. And Obama really missed the bus by ignoring the whole thing for weeks. Too close to home I guess. And D.C. is a potential riot zone if there ever was one. At least D.C. legalized smoking weed. In Maryland you can still go to prison for a lousy joint.