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Criminal Justice

The Daily Dose 6-24-20

Jun 24, 2020
WYPR

Maryland hasn’t dealt with some 34 thousand residents who are still waiting to be processed for unemployment insurance. Baltimore County’s School Board cuts back a planned pay raise for teachers. Plus, a conversation with Wes Moore about racial inequity, police reform, and what the rest of the country might learn from Baltimore’s experience.

AP Photo/Ragan Clark, File

Streets around the world remain filled with protesters demanding that police be “defunded.” Today on Midday, a police perspective on the intensifying calls to defund and reform the nation's police departments.

Tom is joined by Officer Seth Templeton, a beat cop in Baltimore County who wrote an open letter in the Baltimore Sun to a protester, hoping to bridge the gap between demonstrators and law enforcement;  Chief Melvin Russell, who served in the Baltimore City Police Department for 40 years; and Matthew Horace, a 28-year veteran of local, state and federal law enforcement agencies and author of The Black and the Blue: A Cop Reveals the Crimes, Racism and Injustice in America’s Law Enforcement. 

Rachel Baye / WYPR


  Thousands of people marched across Baltimore for a second consecutive weekend in multiple demonstrations to protest racism and police brutality and demand equal treatment under the law.

Emily Sullivan / WYPR

As the country approaches the end of a second week of protests over police abuse of black Americans, state and local leaders in Maryland are calling for reforms, including changes to state laws governing police. Many of the proposed changes have been attempted before unsuccessfully, but some lawmakers say this time is different.

The Daily Dose 6-2-20

Jun 2, 2020
Wendel Patrick, Out of the Blocks

On Election Day, remote ballot issues force thousands to show up at the polls in Baltimore. Plus, civil unrest rages in other cities, but Baltimore is being held up as an example of powerful, peaceful protest. The head of West Baltimore’s No Boundaries Coalition talks about lessons learned in the wake of Freddie Gray and the hard work ahead.

Emily Sullivan/WYPR

This weekend, demonstrators in Baltimore City joined thousands who took to the streets in cities large and small across the nation protesting the killing of George Floyd. In Baltimore, many of those who want justice for Floyd – a black man who died after a white Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck for nearly 9 minutes – expressed open wounds left by the death of Freddie Gray at the hands of police five years ago. WYPR’s Emily Sullivan reports. 

Wikimedia Commons

Leaders in the Maryland House of Delegates are forming a workgroup that aims to improve trust and accountability in police statewide. The announcement this weekend came a few hours before hundreds in Baltimore joined nationwide protests of abuses by police.

“Policing in America is broken,” said House Speaker Adrienne Jones in a statement announcing the new workgroup. “As the mother of two sons, accountability in policing is not just philosophical, it is personal.”

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

Happy Memorial Day, and welcome to Midday.

The poet Langston Hughes asked “What happens to a dream deferred?” “Maybe it just sags like a heavy load,” he observed. “Or does it explode?” Five years ago, Baltimore did explode in a paroxysm of violence that has come to be known as “The Uprising.”

Today on this encore edition of Midday, we reflect on The Uprising with six people whose roots are in West Baltimore, who work with those who were most significantly affected in 2015 and who have been part of the positive change that the community has experienced, even as it continues to confront long standing challenges. This show originally aired on April 27, 2020.

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

On this special edition of Midday, six reflections on the April 27, 2015 Uprising, and how the community at the epicenter of that unrest - Sandtown-Winchester - has fared since a 25-year old black man named Freddie Gray died from injuries he sustained while in police custody.  At the heart of the protests and the rioting that erupted after Gray's funeral: anger and frustration with a system steeped in racism, inequity and apathy; and a police force that operated with seeming impunity...

(Special Election Notice - 7th Congressional District - Click to Read)

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky


  Five years ago, Joe Jones, the director of the Center for Urban Families got to work early at around 7:30 a.m.  He managed to get a few hours of work done before it was time to head directly across the street to New Shiloh Baptist Church, where Freddie Gray’s funeral was about to start. 

“I could not believe the assemblage of the national media that had descended on a community that wasn't there when I got to work,” he remembered. 

Mary Rose Madden / WYPR

Freddie Gray, a young black man from the city’s west side, died from a severe spinal cord injury suffered while in police custody on April 19, 2015.

His death touched off demonstrations and unrest and it raised crucial questions about the relationship between city police and the black community.

And even police had questions. The day after Gray’s death, Deputy Police Commissioner Jerry Rodriguez told reporters there were things he knew and things he didn’t know.

Young Activists After The Uprising

Apr 23, 2020
AP Photo/David Goldman

Five years after Freddie Gray died in police custody, we trace the impact of the Baltimore Uprising on young activists and organizers. Young people were at the center of the Uprising, demanding that those in power address injustice, police misconduct and more. Organizing Black's Michaela Duchess Brown, who grew up a few blocks from Gray, had already been organizing for eight years in 2015. She says the Uprising sparked a change in youth activism in the city. Plus, Jamie Grace Alexander, a black student activist formerly with the Baltimore Transgender Alliance, and Lana Weidgenant, of the climate justice group Zero Hour, tell us what the Uprising meant to them.

Patrick Semansky / AP


  As state lawmakers hurdle toward an early end to the legislative session, lawmakers passed two bills on Tuesday that aim to help Baltimore with its crime-fighting efforts.

Rachel Baye

Gov. Larry Hogan spent much of this week attacking the Democrat-led General Assembly for not advancing his bills aimed at reducing crime in Baltimore. On Thursday, Democratic leaders fought back.

Hogan’s latest comments came during a press conference Thursday. He accused legislators of ignoring a “crisis” in Baltimore by not voting his crime package out of committee.

AP Photo/Julio Cortez

Two police officers assigned to a U.S. Marshals task force were shot in Northeast Baltimore on Wednesday, officials confirmed.

City police said the officers, one from Baltimore City and one from Baltimore County, are part of a fugitive task force attached to the U.S. Marshals office. They were among a group of officers trying to serve an arrest warrant on a man wanted in a Pennsylvania case about noon in the 5900 Block of Radecke Avenue.

The suspect opened fire, was shot and pronounced dead at the scene, police said.

Dominique Maria Bonessi

 

Former Baltimore detective Carmine Vignola was sentenced Thursday to 18 months in federal prison for a gun-planting incident. He is the 12th officer convicted by the Maryland U.S. Attorney's Office and the FBI in their ongoing investigation of police misconduct and activities related to the corrupt Gun Trace Task Force. 

Rachel Baye / WYPR


The Maryland General Assembly voted Thursday to override five vetoes the governor issued last year. One of these laws prohibits employers with at least 15 workers from asking about a job applicant’s criminal history until after an in-person interview.

Rachel Baye


  Gov. Larry Hogan is expected to release on Wednesday a proposed $47.9-billion budget for the fiscal year that begins in July. Hogan told reporters on Tuesday that the budget includes money for initiatives intended to reduce crime in Baltimore, though he had not yet released the full budget for the public or lawmakers to review.

Rachel Baye

Gov. Larry Hogan took aim on Monday at the job legislators are doing, focusing in particular on efforts to raise the minimum wage and to spend hundreds of millions of dollars more on schools.

Wikimedia Commons

Legislation authorizing Johns Hopkins University to establish its own police force progressed in the state Senate on Wednesday.

Wikimedia Commons

Dozens of gun-rights advocates testified in Annapolis on Monday on a bill that would ban 3-D printed and other homemade guns that lack serial numbers, what are sometimes referred to as “ghost guns” because they are harder to trace.

Wikimedia Commons

State lawmakers are set to consider Friday whether Johns Hopkins University should establish its own private police department, an effort that has been met with resistance from university faculty, staff, students, alumni and neighbors.

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

In the first State of the State address after winning reelection, Gov. Larry Hogan highlighted several of his priorities for the legislative session, including tax cuts and tougher sentences for violent crimes. His agenda was met with both praise and criticism from both sides of the political aisle.

Mary Rose Madden / wypr

The Baltimore City Police Department is in a state of disrepair - worse than people originally thought, and it will take millions of dollars and years longer than anticipated to fix it, according to the monitor overseeing the reforms.

The department “is a dysfunctional organization, a highly dysfunctional organization,” Kenneth Thompson, the monitor, told the House of Delegates Judiciary Committee Thursday. “Its policies were poor, its staffing is poor, its technology is poor.”

The system for keeping track of simple things like how often officers stop and frisk people is so outdated that it’s backed up for years, he said.

Rachel Baye

The Maryland General Assembly begins its annual 90-day session Wednesday in Annapolis, and reducing violent crime in Baltimore is at the top of political leaders’ agendas.

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