Baltimore Week In Review: Idiotic squeegee kids concerns, GTTF bombshells, and just in time for Pride—some more bulls escape

A slide from Ivan Bates’ presentation to the Commission To Restore Trust In Policing

-Governor Larry Hogan demands that the government start printing Harriet Tubman $20’s right away. It’s literally the least thing he could do to help Black people in Maryland, but regardless, many people will use this to tout his pretty much nonexistent bipartisanship.

-There’s more fallout from the self-dealing University of Maryland Medical System scandal that cost former mayor Catherine Pugh her job. This week, the Baltimore Sun reported that former state Sen. Francis X. Kelly resigned from the hospital system’s Board of Directors. Kelly said his sons would also be stepping down from six affiliated organizations which begs the question: Why were his sons on the boards of six affiliated organizations? We should also note that Kelly left voluntarily. Members of the UMMS board voted that he, along with other members who took leave of their own accord back when the scandal first broke, could come back. Oh.

-Relatively new Baltimore Police Commissioner Harrison does that thing that leaders in Baltimore tend to do where he caters to white folks’ fears at the expense of Black residents. At a crime walk Monday, he suggested that people should stop giving squeegee kids money, calling what they do “aggressive panhandling.” He seemed less interested in figuring out why the kids are out there and more interested in treating them as problems in their own city. Then two veteran Baltimore politicians who should certainly know better piled on: Mayor Jack Young stressed that squeegee-ing is against the law and worried that the squeegee kids are keeping people out of the city catering to county-goers; and councilperson Eric Costello suggested finding ways to fine the squeegee kids…who are squeegee-ing because they need money. Why are we still having this debate?

-On Tuesday, defense attorney Ivan Bates dropped a barrage of bombshells about the Gun Trace Task Force and police corruption at the Commission To Restore Trust In Policing, a state commission created to look into how something such as GTTF happened. Bates detailed his experiences as a lawyer who got to know GTTF leader Wayne Jenkins’ “M.O.” after defending  number of victims of GTTF. The implication was clear: If Bates knew about Jenkins and others (including recently indicted former Sgt. Keith Gladstone as far back as 2003) then how did the police and the State’s Attorney’s Office not know? Perhaps the most shocking bit was footage from a bench conference in which a prosecutor dismissed Bates’ concerns that body camera footage showed GTTF members arresting a man and then entering his house without a search warrant. “That has nothing to do with this case,” the prosecutor said. For more details read Beat managing editor Brandon Soderberg’s Tweet thread from the hearing. The following day, Baltimore Sun’s Justin Fenton published an epic three-part piece on GTTF—the most comprehensive piece since Jessica Lussenhop’s 2017 BBC piece “When Cops Become Robbers.”

-Even as it was revealed that the Baltimore police officer accused of sexually assaulting a woman was actually a security guard impersonating a police officer, there were plenty of reminders that BPD continues its streak of misconduct. Officer Arthur Williams who was caught on video last August giving a Baltimorean a brutal, MMA-style beating was found guilty this week of second-degree assault and misconduct in office. And earlier today, the BPD finally screened body camera footage of suspended and charged Baltimore Police Sergeant Ethan Newberg who last month, chased a man who mouthed off at him. The video shows Newberg chasing the man, another officer tackling him, and Newberg telling the man, “Take your charge like a man.” Harrison said he was disturbed by the video and intended to see how far into the department these kinds of problems go. You know, Commissioner Harrison is right. It really is hard to know how pervasive or systemic these problems are within BPD. If only there were a Department of Justice report from 2016 about the problems in the BPD or if the FBI had investigated a much-praised gun unit and indicted them or if a defense attorney had given a comprehensive presentation about how rogue cops got away with it for so long, then and only then, Harrison would know….UPSIDE DOWN SMILEY FACE EMOJI.

-According to a new study released this week by the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Baltimore’s Black residents suffer disproportionately under the city’s rising water rates. Ethan Mcleod of The Baltimore Fishbowl wrote that city council lawmakers used a press conference to announce the results of the study, and to tout a bill first presented by then-City-Council-President-now -Mayor Bernard “Jack” Young, that would determine how much residents would pay for water based on an income-related sliding scale. The Baltimore Department of Public works isn’t a fan of the plan, instead they are offering the H20 Assists program, which gives residents discounts and tax credits based on their proximity to the federal poverty level.

-It was July 22, 2016, the day before Baltimore’s Pride festivities, and everyone in the city stopped what they were doing to cheer on two bulls that escaped a local slaughterhouse. “Let’s start the myth,” tweeted author, poet, and friend of Baltimore Beat Anthony Moll. “That queers in Baltimore have a ritual of pardoning a bull each year before the start of Pride.” The bulls had escaped once before, in June of 2014. For three long years, our days were bereft of runaway bulls. It was sad, but we managed to soldier on. Until this week, when it happened again! Could it be that bulls develop a hankering for a revolution at the beginning of summer when the days get warmer and longer? Could it be that the bulls know that Pride is a time where we recognize that everyone should be free to be who they are? We don’t know. We do know this: you should take advantage of our various calendar listings to enjoy Pride the way a runaway bull would want you to.


No Comments Yet

Comments are closed