Since 2011 over 100 people have won lawsuits against the Baltimore Police Department for use of excessive force. Many of the officers involved were given a slap on the wrist, did not even lose their job, and continued to walk free after terrorizing the very people they were entrusted to protect.
In the rare instance an officer actually stood up against one of his own, the results were typical and disappointing to say the least.
After blowing the whistle on two fellow officers after they assaulted a suspect in 2011, former officer Joseph Crystal was forced to resign after continued harassment from officers in his department for being a snitch.
The message is clear. Cops protect their own, this allegiance is placed above, right, wrong, injustice, and justice. Any officer who fails to comply with this code of “honor” pays the price.
The 10,000 protesters who marched the streets of Baltimore for justice in the death of Freddie Gray should not be expected to answer for, or be responsible for the actions of looters and vandals. The protesters do not represent them, and are in no way responsible for those taking advantage of a moment of civil unrest.
No amount of looting or vandalism discredits the true issue at hand. And to those who actually care, no amount of misdirection is going to numb the pain and hurt levied against communities by lawless, power hungry police officers who walk free time and time again after they destroy and end lives.
When men are left beaten or dead, and those responsible are more likely to receive paid vacations during “investigations” than prison sentences, you would be naive to not expect outrage.
The riots in Baltimore are tame and what is to be expected given the devastating circumstance those protesting find themselves in. The fact media outlets claim to be appalled and shocked by a few days of mayhem in response to decades of oppression and systematic police brutality only goes to showcase the flippancy with which they view the devastation caused by systematic unpunished police brutality against entire communities.
While I do not condone violence, and while I do not support looting or robbing random businesses who are innocent in this situation, I also must be honest in saying, I really don’t give a damn about a looted CVS store, and I really don’t give a damn about a few people getting roughed up amongst some rioters, and I really don’t give a damn about people setting fire to police vehicles.
I just don’t.
The thought of a broken window or a pair of stolen Reeboks isn’t going to keep me up at night, it just isn’t. It shouldn’t keep you up at night either. A looted CVS store has never been cause for national outrage or national attention before, so why would it suddenly be so important now?
The media is intentionally changing the narrative of this story.
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.
Something has to change. If you expect the community to do nothing or depend on and have faith in a justice system that has failed them over and over and over again then you are completely illogical.
The justice system and the police force that victims are told to put their trust in, are the very entities that have oppressed them for decades. We have reached a point where there is no reasonable or logical hope for legal means of retaliation or justice.
Do you honestly expect these people to just sit down, shut up and trust the moral sensibilities of their oppressors, hoping their oppressors decide to yield justice against themselves?
That is insanity.
We as a nation need help, this is about more than Freddie Gray, the riots in Ferguson, or the Baltimore Police Department, this is about an epidemic of unbridled police power throughout our entire nation and it has gone on for far too long.
Right now communities such as the impoverished areas of Baltimore are feeling the brunt of police violence because police know they can get away with attacking those of little power, with little influence, and little means of retaliation. Police consistently attack those who are impoverished and consistently attack minorities because they know that they can.
It is up to us to tell them they can not. It is up to us to let them know we do care, we will speak up, and we will make sure officers are held accountable for their actions.
We are not looking at an instance of “two wrongs” but an example of an oppressed and victimized community taking a stand, taking action -any action, against their violent oppressors.
And it is only at this point the media has the gall to act offended by violence? It is at this point the media has chosen to make a call for peace?
Where was the media’s concern with violence when Freddie Gray was being murdered? Where was the media’s concern with violence while the Baltimore police murdered 6 black men from January 2014 to March 2015 alone?
This isn’t a game, it isn’t a soundbite. We are talking about human lives, and it is only when those victimized take a stand against their oppressors that our media has the audacity to position itself as the moral authority on the issue of violence.
The media coverage over this has been disgusting, and we should all be disgusted. The outrage felt by these protesters is more than justified. Condemning peaceful protesters, or even those who are opportunistic looters, over state funded murderers is morally indefensible.
Crime and injustice are not the same thing. If a robber robs a store, and is then apprehended tried and convicted; justice was served. Robbery is not something our society repeatedly turns a blind eye to. Authoritative abuse is. When a cop can murder a man on camera, and walk away a free man. No justice was served.
This is not just one cop. It is not a few “bad apples”, but every member of the police force who turned a blind eye to misconduct and did nothing is also responsible for the situation at hand. They are the ones responsible for the situation in Baltimore. Their families, their friends, their loved ones who did not speak out against their deplorable actions are also responsible. The time has come for us to hold officers accountable for their actions, for even in their inaction they have chosen action.
“Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.” ― Dietrich Bonhoeffer