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2015 Baltimore Riots

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If you're watching the news at all or have a social media feed that isn't just memes, you may be learning of the unrest that's happening in Baltimore, Maryland. Peaceful protests along with riots and vandalism have taken over the city, postponing schools, businesses, professional sports games, and ultimately drawing in a militarized force. What has been the cause of all of this? Once again--

 

TIMELINE

 

April 19: Freddie Gray, an African American man, dies in the hospital a week after suffering from three fractured vertebrae, which caused about an “80% separation of his spine,” and a damaged larynx. These injuries were sustained while he was in police custody. The details of his arrest are unclear.

 

April 25: Protests and marches are organized in downtown Baltimore, from City Hall to Inner Harbor. At the tail end of this, minor skirmishes break out with thrown rocks and police car damage, resulting in 34 arrests and 15 officers injured. A photographer from the Baltimore City Paper photographing the standoffs was beaten by two officers in riot gear. A Reuters photographer capturing the incident was arrested and later released, cited for disorderly conduct. 

 

April 27: Freddie Gray's funeral is held with attendance from civil rights leaders and families with members lost due to law enforcement.

 

At around 3 PM, officers have severe clashes with 75-100 people whom appear to be high school students uniting under a social media "purge," which spread. A police cruiser is destroyed and some officers suffer broken bones. Several places close early as a result including colleges, the National Aquarium, and Mondawin Mall; A scheduled Orioles game was also postponed.

 

April 28: Amid clean-up efforts from volunteers in response to overnight riots, the National Guard arrives to provide support to vital infrastructure and to provide police assistance. All in all, there have been 144 vehicle fires, 15 building fires, and 200 arrests as reported by the mayor's office.

 

CONCEPTS (Coming Soon)

  • Rioting
  • Police Accountability
  • Media Coverage
  • Institutional Racism

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I normally don't like commenting on these issues but it I kind of want to chime in, even though I'm not fully information. I'm watching CNN while doing homework and the homework is taking more of my attention.

 

What I did want to say is that I was born in Baltimore when my dad was in the military, though I left when I was pretty young and I never really knew how it was like living there I will say that I feel for the people.

 

My only question on this matter is why does burning building and looting always follow these types of peaceful protest? I know the simple answer would be that some people will take advantage of the situation but I would like some of your takes on it.

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I heard something on the news about a police officer who got severely hurt in the clash, and from what I've heard he's in critical condition now.

 

I understand why people are upset, all of these police brutality issues are stuff I've vented on the forums before (Before the small server wipe), and boy you don't know just how pissed I was about the whole Michael Brown situation.

 

But at the same time, I can't believe people are doing this. Just watching video feed of people looting stores just had me disgusted by how people would do this. This isn't protesting. Hell, it isn't even rioting. This is outright crime.

 

Look, I'm fine with people protesting, as long as it's done in a peaceful way that successfully conveys it's message. Looting stores and fighting back towards the police is guaranteeing you a one-way stop to jail. This is just such an immature way to protest about anything.

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Look, I'm fine with people protesting, as long as it's done in a peaceful way that successfully conveys it's message. Looting stores and fighting back towards the police is guaranteeing you a one-way stop to jail. This is just such an immature way to protest about anything.

Edited by Oscillo

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We should also include this.

 

Mum sat at home watching the news footage of the riots/protestors.

 

Mum spots her son rioting and throwing rocks at police.

 

Mum goes to the riot/protest.

 

Mum beats her son over the head and tells him to go home.

 

Whole incident broadcast on live TV.

 

 

"Treat your mother right" ---- Mr T.

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I feel I should mention not to group the rioters with the protestors. If you've being ignoring sensationalist jounalism and been paying attention to social media you see tons of people trying to prevent rioting.

 

It's so surreal to see all this. My town is so quiet and I basically went 20 whole years thinking this shit died in the 60's

 

It's depressing.

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This is horrible but I'm honestly not surprised it's happening. =/ The situation with the police in the US and all those African Americans being shot and killed has gone completely FUBAR since Michael Brown's death last year, and people are so angry now they gotta riot and fight back. Peaceful protests just don't cut it I guess. It's awful.

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Also note that these deaths are not isolated incidents that have recently sprung up. They're a common part of America's history all the way back to the slave patrols. It's just now we have cell phones and social media to document it better and further our voices. Seriously, ask a black person of any generation if they're as surprised as anyone else when another black man or child ends up killed for no reason and 99 times out of 100 they'll tell you "lol no."

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Call me skeptical or defeatist, but I don't believe anything will come from these riots (save for destruction obviously). Police will only attempt to neutralize the protesters and rioters, once again turning a blind eye to the message they're trying to send, some people will try to paint Gray as a criminal that deserved what he got, claiming the police did nothing wrong, use the riots as further "proof" that we're a "threat" that needs to be stopped, ignoring the peaceful protesters, and it'll all ultimately blow over in 2-3 months until another black man is unjustly killed somewhere else and the cycle repeats. And they know this. And it pains me to say this, but I really don't see any other possible outcome. I'm not convinced any amount of rioting or protesting, non-violent or otherwise, will make the people responsible for this any more concerned about trying to prevent any more of these deaths from happening. All they're gonna try to do is just wait it out until the heat dies down and continue business as usual.

 

And I'm not saying this to say that protesters are doing anything wrong, but rather that police just don't care.

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Call me skeptical or defeatist, but I don't believe anything will come from these riots (save for destruction obviously). Police will only attempt to neutralize the protesters and rioters, once again turning a blind eye to the message they're trying to send, some people will try to paint Gray as a criminal that deserved what he got, claiming the police did nothing wrong, use the riots as further "proof" that we're a "threat" that needs to be stopped, ignoring the peaceful protesters, and it'll all ultimately blow over in 2-3 months until another black man is unjustly killed somewhere else and the cycle repeats. And they know this. And it pains me to say this, but I really don't see any other possible outcome. I'm not convinced any amount of rioting or protesting, non-violent or otherwise, will make the people responsible for this any more concerned about trying to prevent any more of these deaths from happening. All they're gonna try to do is just wait it out until the heat dies down and continue business as usual.

 

And I'm not saying this to say that protesters are doing anything wrong, but rather that police just don't care.

 

Usually these things take a lot of repeats for enough attention to get drawn to it for something to get done, and each time a small amount of progress is made, not necessarily legally, but in terms of impact is has on people as a whole it can get more widespread desire for change, and eventually offering policies to voters becomes desirable when that group supporting said policies gets big enough. So the best hope is that after the riots get sorted (because, like I've already said, that is a legitimate issue, though they should't get wildly absurd over giving punishments like what happened in the London riots) that appropriate attention is given to wider issues about racism.

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Usually these things take a lot of repeats for enough attention to get drawn to it for something to get done, and each time a small amount of progress is made, not necessarily legally, but in terms of impact is has on people as a whole it can get more widespread desire for change, and eventually offering policies to voters becomes desirable when that group supporting said policies gets big enough. So the best hope is that after the riots get sorted (because, like I've already said, that is a legitimate issue, though they should't get wildly absurd over giving punishments like what happened in the London riots) that appropriate attention is given to wider issues about racism.

 

This has been going on for hundreds of years; if things are progressing, they sure are taking their sweet ass time. 

 

 

I'm usually not one to sound so negative, but I'm just reading this situation for what it is. 

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The larger problem is frankly proving to white moderates that racism is even a thing that's still a big deal, and then after that appealing to them to act upon that for America's betterment, and considering we have a centuries' long failure rate of doing that, I'm not optimistic either. Until that happens, or in the case of police brutality until more pretty white women and kids start getting their spines cracked en masse, I have little faith we're going to make much progress.

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Would have been nice if the rioters had at least waited for the police investigation to pretend to be outraged about police brutality so they can go wreck shit and steal stuff. Not even doing that much just buries the actual initial death that much more.

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I just found out about this today.

 

I hope that my family members living in Baltimore are safe and are not getting caught in the crossfire.

 

I was just in Baltimore for my Aunt's funeral not too long ago and I don't think I'm ready to lose anyone else.

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"Rioting makes sense given peaceful methods aren't working."

Rioting also is still incredibly stupid, because all it does is convince the majority that the identity group doing it can't be trusted. This makes them even more apathetic to the problems of racial minorities, because now they're increasingly convinced that maybe the police are right and that the minority group needs to be "controlled."

But again, these rioters aren't rioting for any social justice purpose. They can't use the defense that they've been pushed too far, too long when countless others in the same demographic continue to work peacefully.

All it takes is a small fraction to ruin an image. It applies in reverse as well: not every cop is needlessly violent, but because of the ones that are, people have to live in fear of them.

 

...

I am curious though. With Michael Brown, the acts of violence were pretty minimal. What makes this case different? Is it purely the size of the cities involved?

 

...

Something relevant. The story of a police officer of color who worked in the St. Louis police department:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2014/12/06/i-was-a-st-louis-cop-my-peers-were-racist-and-violent-and-theres-only-one-fix/

He notes that racism was pretty common on the force. However, take note of his solution to police violence. He says there's already plenty of race sensitivity classes, programs, etc... and they do nothing.

 

The problem isn't racial viewpoints. It's the fact there's a police state culture. Police officers are investigated by fellow officers... who they very well may know personally. The officer is always assumed innocent of misconduct, despite the fact the court system is supposed to be based on the idea that the government and its agents (i.e. the police) have to justify their actions. Any attempt to change this will be classed as "disrespect" towards the cops, despite the fact the one institution that has always been the backbone of tyranny is the police force; the police force is paradoxically the institution we need to trust, but also need to be the most wary of.

 

Assume we weed out every racist officer and somehow keep any more from being hired. Great progress, right?

 

Not really. Now they'll just shoot everyone equally. Race is just one face of the root problem of the police state. If it wasn't racial minorities, it would be dissidents or some other group. Just as there's no shortage of racial minorities being abused, there's no shortage of other vulnerable groups - which sometimes overlap with being white - likewise being victimized. There's a clear problem with being drunk on power, and hell, why wouldn't a lot of police be? They'll just be given a nice cushy paid leave and be cleared of any wrongdoing by their buddies further up the ladder.

 

Things like dashcams and gun cameras should not be treated as optional. They should be absolutely required, or else an officer will just have to settle for walking with a baton. The military has a high set of standards it holds its men and women to, and the police should be no different.

 

In short, while race awareness is a noble goal, it will not solve the underlying problem. I'd rather a force full of racist cops who have their every move recorded and who get investigated by outside agencies than a force full of color-blind cops who can get away with anything they so choose.

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You keep proposing that police are going after black people because they're an easy target, and that if we were to actually achieve racial equity, they would then go after someone else with the same veracity as they do black people. This makes no sense because black people aren't the only marginalized group existing in America right now. If we assume that the problem we've been witnessing is literally nothing but unchecked police power and that racism, for some strange reason, is barely apart of it, the police would already be doing that. They'd already be going after "dissidents" (who in the world is a dissident in America anyway?) and those other vulnerable groups. But they're not. Seriously, statistics show this. You can be a broke, mentally unstable motherfucker with not a hope in the world and so long as you're white, you've got a better chance than Freddie Gray of not being bothered. Seriously, let's not even pretend like white people are next in line here if we ever solve the issue of getting the police off our backs. They're not and never will be.

 

Checking the police's rampant ability to kill with impunity is important, but it's not going to solve racial inequity in our justice system, and really the police shootings are just a visible and grotesque extension of that overall problem that black people are so pissed off about. Making sure an officer can't kill you easily and get away with it is not going to solve the over-policing in black areas contrary to actual patterns of crime. Making sure a police officer can't kill you easily is not going to solve undoubtedly biased juries and judges convicting black people more often and with harsher sentencing than white people contrary to actual patterns of crime. It's not going to end the War on Drugs. It's not going to end stop-and-frisk. It's not going to stop feeding into the sheer irrational terror white people feel about impending danger from black people which leads to them voting in politicians and voting for propositions and budgets that have caused the very militarization of the police you keep trying to shift the focus to in the first place. Making sure we don't have another incident where a man's spine is severed is not going to magically solve the problem, just like the fucking Voting Rights Act (which has been gutted anyway) or the election of Obama hasn't magically solved the problem. We cannot fucking push racism into the background just because it makes white people uncomfortable. It is literally the problem black people have with the justice system.

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Things like dashcams and gun cameras should not be treated as optional. They should be absolutely required, or else an officer will just have to settle for walking with a baton.

I'd say the single most famous instance of "bunch of white cops beat the shit out of a black guy" pretty soundly proves that the existence of video doesn't necessarily mean anything when it comes to actions after the fact.

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Making sure an officer can't kill you easily and get away with it is not going to solve the over-policing in black areas contrary to actual patterns of crime.

Absolutely, but to take care of that requires tackling the myth that police presence has any impact on crime at all. It would seem counter-intuitive that less or more police has no impact, but the Kansas City experiment says it all. Criminals are going to do their crime regardless of how many police are around.

 

Making sure a police officer can't kill you easily is not going to solve undoubtedly biased juries and judges convicting black people more often and with harsher sentencing than white people contrary to actual patterns of crime.

There's nothing that can really be done with that. Judges have discretionary power since no one case is the same, and to find a completely unbiased jury on the issue of race is near impossible. It's convenient OJ isn't convicted when the jury is majority black, but is when it's majority white.

 

It's not going to end the War on Drugs. It's not going to end stop-and-frisk.

I would think any broad reform meant to curb police excess would target these as part of the goal, since they both are forms of invasion by the state.

 

It's not going to stop feeding into the sheer irrational terror white people feel about impending danger from black people which leads to them voting in politicians and voting for propositions and budgets that have caused the very militarization of the police you keep trying to shift the focus to in the first place.

And what will?

The only thing that really looks like it will work is the hardest option: time. Every minority has voiced reasons why it should be treated better, but only time actually brings that result about.

I don't think I'm alone in growing up without even considering the race of other students. Most policymakers aren't from my generation, though. I'm just going to need to wait patiently for older judges, police, etc. to retire and be replaced by younger ones who don't put race center-fold.

 

I'd say the single most famous instance of "bunch of white cops beat the shit out of a black guy" pretty soundly proves that the existence of video doesn't necessarily mean anything when it comes to actions after the fact.

That's also over 20 years ago.

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