Since Freddie Gray’s death in police custody, questions about WHY police chased and arrested him April 12 even before the fateful transport in a van have focused attention on what factors police are influencing police when they patrol. Protestors have shouted that police would not have chased a white man talking to a friend on North Avenue. It may be an issue in the trials of some of the police officers charged in Gray’s death.
Long before that Sunday morning and the uprising that unfolded after it, the U.S. Justice Department had issued guidelines to end discriminatory profiling by law enforcement. Late last months Maryland’s attorney general followed up with guidelines for law enforcement in this state, declaring that officers should not consider race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion or disability in routine police activities.
The main author of those Maryland guideline, Deputy Attorney General Thiruvendra Vignarajah is here with us to discuss them. He’s a Baltimore native who was Maryland assistant U.S. attorney in the violent crimes division before coming to his current post.
Also with us is Alex Long, a community organizer and a youth advocate with Rose Street Community Center in East Baltimore.