Baltimore Updates

[Content Note: Police brutality; racism; victim-blaming.]

Last night was quieter in Baltimore, after a city-wide curfew was imposed and 2,000 National Guard troops were activated and fanned out across the city.

But "quiet" is a deceptive word, which comforts people who only want peace but no justice.

There was less rebellion, because of aggressive policing. That's what "quieter" means. No one with a vested interest in meaningful justice supports this kind of quiet—the kind of quiet that includes the blackbag kidnapping of protesters.
Joseph Kent, a 21-year-old student at Morgan State University who rose to local prominence during the Michael Brown protests, was seen on live television standing with his hands in the air alongside a line of riot gear-clad police officers just before 11 p.m. Moments later, a National Guard humvee rolled up, and a swarm of officers swallowed Kent. The vehicle blocked the camera's view of the arrest.

..."They drove the vehicle up and when it got close enough to create a wedge they ran out an grabbed him, pinned him against that and arrested him," CNN anchor Chris Cuomo said. He also told viewers Tuesday night that police had earlier shot pepper spray at the young protester as he approached their line in the street.

...A local attorney, Stephen Beatty, who said he would offer Kent his services pro bono, tweeted early Wednesday morning that Kent was safe and at Baltimore Central Booking.

"As a service to the community I can confirm that Mr. Kent is at CBIF awaiting processing. Report is he is ok and safe," he said. "Due to large numbers of arrests, processing is slow. He is not even in system yet. More will be known in about five hours. I do not yet rep him although I will gladly if he wants me to. But everyone breathe. No longer in [Baltimore Police Department] hands. [Correctional officers] have him. Safer," he said.

Journalist Brooke Obie said she called the Baltimore Police Department and was told Joseph Kent was "arrested for breaking the law and is in jail."
It was another day filled with dehumanizing language and victim-blaming, even as residents of the affected areas of Baltimore spent their day cleaning up the streets. Some of the people cleaning up were also the people who rioted. The first thing to get lost when people are dehumanized en masse is that human beings are complicated. No one is all "thug" or all "saint."

Even during the clean-up, police stood guard.

White people continued to invoke and misappropriate the words of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. The President called rioters "criminals." Freddie Gray's family asked for nonviolence, and their words were used to shame protesters and rebels, even though the family of a man who has been killed might have different needs and priorities than the men and women who are desperate not to be the next person killed.

An avocado says wisely: "maybe violence is sometimes the answer to questions you don't need to ask but others do anyway this is just an avocado tweeting nvm."

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Here are a few pieces of highly recommended reading:

Mychal Denzel Smith: "Toward a New 'Broken Windows' Theory."

Stacia L. Brown: "Dispatch From Baltimore: Praying for Peace, Living Another Reality."

Jesse Williams: "There is nothing 'black' about rioting."

Sam Brodey and Jenna McLaughlin: "Eyewitnesses: The Baltimore Riots Didn't Start the Way You Think."

David Edwards: "Activist Deray McKesson Schools Wolf Blitzer: 'You are suggesting broken windows are worse than broken spines.'"

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