Just in time for Black History Month, stories are coming out about how ridiculously terrible the Baltimore Police Department is. This piece in the Atlantic just gets worse and worse the more you read:
The Baltimore Police Department Is Badly Broken
Ward’s testimony suggests a police unit that acted as a criminal gang, but with the advantage of legal guns, badges, and the state’s monopoly on the use of force. Some of the offenses are appalling but nonviolent: Seizing money from suspects, the cops would simply pocket part of it. In one case, prosecutors played a tape in which the force opens a safe, and its leader, Sergeant Wayne Jenkins, is heard instructing them not to touch anything, to give the appearance of careful propriety. In fact, Ward testified, the crew had already removed $100,000 of the $200,000 they found in the safe, then reenacted the event for the camera after splitting the first 100 grand among themselves. (Jenkins has also pleaded guilty.)
But other behavior is more shocking. The unit would find groups of men, drive toward them at high speed, and throw the doors open, to see who would run. Then they’d chase and detain those who fled—even though it’s easy to imagine anyone who had just had a car drive at them might split. According to Ward, officers might do this between 10 and 50 times a night.
Officers also sought out “dope-boy cars”—Honda Accords, Acura TLs, and others—and would pull them over for pretextual reasons like overly tinted windows or seat-belt violations. Any man over 18 carrying a book bag might be stopped as inherently suspicious. Ward also said the unit used illegal GPS trackers, and kept BB guns on hand if they needed to plant them in a pinch. He testified that Jenkins claimed to be a federal agent when seizing money.
Wow. Fucking. Wow. I mean, we all know about cops planting drugs. But fake guns? Really?
This is why I don't believe anything cops say. He had a gun? Yeah right. He ran? Gee I wonder why.
And if you're thinking that this is just one bad police department (that's as convincing as one bad police officer), try reading what Michael Harriot of The Root has to say about it.
I know what you’re thinking: After the death of Freddie Gray and the discovery of multiple officers who planted drugs on suspects, the Baltimore Police Department is one of the most corrupt departments in the country.
Or maybe Baltimore is indicative of police departments all over the country. Maybe they’re like the one in Cleveland, which hired the cop who killed Tamir Rice after he was fired by another police department. Or like the South Carolina state trooper who said he shot a man because he was moving erratically while reaching for his wallet. Or when a paid police informant planted cocaine in a store owner’s shop.
It is not just Baltimore cops. It is cops. They will shoot you in the face in front of your infant daughter. They will choke you to sleep for selling cigarettes. They will shoot you in the back for walking away. And they will get away with it so often that we are shocked when they are indicted.
Yeah. At some point you have to admit that the problem is the police in general. It's the institution.