Saturday, May 2, 2015

Indictments in Baltimore

Marilyn Mosby, who won election as state's attorney for Baltimore by promising to get tough on police brutality, made good on her campaign promises yesterday by indicting six police officers in the death of Freddie Gray. Two things struck me. First, the rainbow coalition look of the accused cops; in many American cities racism is a big part of bad relations between cops and poor blacks, but it's hard to see how that can be the problem in Baltimore. Second, the power of the vote. As crime has declined in America, police misconduct has come to the fore as a problem for voters, and officials who don't shift quickly enough to the public's new priorities are going to be ousted by politicians who understand and take advantage. Sometimes, democracy works.

Mosby is young and not very experienced as a prosecutor, and some old legal hands have been saying that she has jeopardized her case by moving so quickly. It's always hard to convict cops in America, so we'll see. It seems obvious to me that Gray was a victim of what police in Baltimore call a "rough ride," thrown handcuffed onto the metal floor of a police van that is then driven over bumps and around sharp curves, effectively beating the victim without police having to get their hands dirty. I suppose part of the point of the rough ride is that it makes it harder to prove intent. I will actually be surprised if all of the defendants are convicted on all the charges. But I think that something is so obviously wrong with the the death Freddie Gray that jurors will want to hold someone accountable.


Thomas said...

Isn't it nice to see such a diverse group of people working together?

Oh, wait, they killed a guy.

Thomas said...

But seriously, you don't have to be white to be racist. Black cops learn who they are allowed to beat the crap out of just as easily as white cops do, and if society frowns on beatings of white people, but not of black people, cops are going to beat up black people.

John said...

Black cops are certainly capable of highly prejudiced thinking against gang punks and ghetto life in general, but I don't think that is quite the same thing as white racism.