Updates from Baltimore

[Content Note: Racism; disablism; police brutality; violence; detention.]

The latest about the police officers who have been suspended over Freddie Gray's death, about which precious little is known since the investigation is only leaking victim-blaming bullshit, is that the most senior of the six, Lt. Brian Rice, "was hospitalized in April 2012 over mental health concerns for an unknown duration and had his guns confiscated by local sheriff's deputies, according to records from the sheriff's office and court obtained by The Associated Press. ...The incidents described in the sheriff's report and court records involving Rice's personal problems portray allegations of concerns about self-control and judgment."'

Okay. So, here is where the "lone crazy wolf" narrative begins: If the ringleader is mentally ill, then that means it's an individual problem, not a systemic one, and there's no need to take a long, hard look at institutional racism and eliminationist violence in the police force.

Surely, the Baltimore Police Force would like nothing more than to have aggressive racism be recast as "mental illness" and thus to merely be asked, "Why was this guy allowed back on the job?" than to have to face real accountability for decades upon decades of systemic abuses.

* * *

In other leaks: "Baltimore police have found that Freddie Gray suffered a serious head injury inside a prisoner transport wagon, with one wound indicating that he struck a protruding bolt in the back of the vehicle, according to sources familiar with the probe. New details of the investigation emerged as police officially turned over the case to city prosecutors Thursday. Police said they have 'exhausted every lead.' In announcing an early conclusion to the first phase of their investigation, police also revealed a previously unknown stop by the transport van driver. Officials declined to comment further on what happened but said they had obtained private security footage depicting that event. While witnesses have said that police officers roughly handled Gray, who died a week after his arrest from injuries including a severed spine, police have said a focus of their investigation has been what occurred in the van."

Well, everything about that sounds terrible. Misdirections, shrugging indifference, lack of accountability.

And while the police are busily failing to hold themselves accountable, they're definitely arresting the fuck out of everyone else, including the man who shot the video of Freddie Gray's arrest:
Kevin Moore, the man who filmed Freddie Gray's brutal arrest, has himself been arrested following "harassment and intimidation" from Baltimore police.

Moore was arrested at gunpoint last night along with two other members of Cop Watch, a community dedicated to filming and documenting police work.

Moore claims that despite having co-operated with two detectives in the Baltimore Police Department's Office of Internal Oversight and given them the video, police posted his photo and told the public that he was "wanted for questioning", asking people to identify him.

"What is so important that you have to plaster my picture over the Internet? I've already spoken," Moore said, suggesting that they posted it simply to harass him.
Two hundred and thirty-five protesters were arrested Monday night alone, and many of them were left in jail for days "without being formally charged or having a bail hearing." Two Baltimore Public Defenders, Natalie Finegar and Marci Tarrant-Johnson, have reported that detained protesters "are being withheld food for up to 18 hours, denied medical attention and detained for extended periods of time with up to 20 people in small cells intended to hold many less."

And at least one young man who turned himself in, after doing misdemeanor property damage, is now being held on half a million dollars bail.

The police killed Freddie Gray. His community said, in the only way people will listen, that this shit is intolerable and we want real justice and real accountability and real safety. And the police are punishing every last fucking person they can get their hands on in response.

And it's the protesters who are called thugs.

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