Week In Review: Hogan goes full Trump, a police shooting, police department chaos, more

Courtesy governor.maryland.gov

-Baltimore City Police are still investigating after they said Sgt. Isaac Carrington was shot Thursday in an attempted robbery while he was off-duty. Carrington, who has been with the department for 22 years,  was outside of his Northeast Baltimore home, officers say, when he was shot. The 43-year-old is currently in critical condition. There was a big to-do the following day when WJZ-TV reported that police had apprehended two people who were riding in a car thought to be similar to the one Carrington’s shooters used to get away in. Turns out the people in that car had nothing to do with it and were arrested for outstanding warrants. The television station issued an update not long after but their mistakes could have meant that two people could have had their names tied to a very high-profile case. Remember: it’s way more important to be right than to be first, fellow journalists. Meanwhile, other cars fitting the description of the shooter’s car have been stopped and many are scrutinizing details of the shooting (or lack thereof) and finding echoes of Sean Suiter’s shooting in 2017.

-The Baltimore Police Department’s new Deputy Commissioner in charge of Public Integrity—Internal Affairs, basically—is Brian Nadeau, who has been in charge of the F.B.I.’s Baltimore Field Office since 2015, so he has been here for the death of Freddie Gray and the Gun Trace Task Force scandal. A few months ago, Harrison had named Michelle Wilson, an assistant Maryland Attorney General, to the job but after two days it was announced she would not be joining the department. Though a direct connection was never made, many pointed to Wilson’s public criticism of State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby and her claims that Mosby lied about an incident she witnessed. This of course all means BPD has been without a permanent leader when it comes to investigating cops for awhile now, so someone taking the job is a move in the right direction. There is, of course, no shortage of problems within the police department. Just this week, three Baltimore police officers were sentenced: Arthur Williams, who pummelled a man on Monument Street in 2018 received nine months in jail; Carlos Rivera-Martinez, who beat up a minor in front of City Hall on July 5, 2016 received six months in jail; and Aaron Heilman, who was found in his police vehicle drunk last year, received probation and community service for his on-duty DUI.

-Governor Larry Hogan, who for a hot minute there was floating the idea of running for president as a sort of anti-Trump Republican, and who has successfully recast himself as a reasonable moderate even though he is far from it, went Full Trump this week when he used the shooting of Sgt. saac Carrington to critique Baltimore and its politicians. “We ask that you keep this officer in your prayers as he fights for his life. But thoughts and prayers alone are not enough. We have been pushing to get these violent shooters off the streets,” Hogan tweeted, trying to score quick political points. As many pointed out, Hogan has been withholding $245 million in funds that would help Baltimore, including police funding for technology upgrades and rape kit funding. A follow-up tweet said, “Now is the time for city and legislative leaders to finally join us and support our efforts,” using the longstanding “us vs. them” approach to politics that further isolates Baltimore. Hogan’s solution, mind you, is mandatory-minimums for first-time gun offenders which have shown not to work and is essentially just a stronger version of a bill already passed—mandatory minimums of 10 years for a second violent crime offense. As the Beat’s Lisa Snowden-McCray observed: “Larry Hogan is gaslighting an entire city.”  

-Toni Morrison died this week at the age of 88. Selfishly, we wish she was still here. Thankfully, though, she left us with so much wisdom about love, racism, and the world that we can use as  armor or comfort to get through these tough times. Take this selection from a 1975 speech she gave at Portland State University: “The very serious function of racism…is distraction. It keeps you from doing your work. It keep you explaining, over and over again, your reason for being,” Here in Baltimore, the writer’s group Zora’s Den will be paying tribute to Morrison on Thursday, Aug. 15 at the Eubie Blake National Jazz Institute and Cultural Center (847 N. Howard St.) with readings from Abdu Ali, Cija Jefferson, Victoria Kennedy, and more.

-On Tuesday evening, a sudden and massive rain storm exploded over Baltimore, flooding streets, causing power outages, closing businesses early, trapping people in their cars, and generally making life even worse for those experiencing homelessness.. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. was flooded with water covering cars tires, the area on Charles Street by Penn Station was the same, while the neighborhoods of Harbor East, Fells Point, and Little Italy were flooded. The whole thing was terrifying and it caused a lot of damage—there was even hail—and as is often the case, made many of us think about the climate crisis and also how this city has been developed and the most vulnerable.

-Baltimore City Council President Bernard “Jack” Young has been working to make sure Baltimore’s immigrant community feels as safe as they can. In July, after the Trump  administration announced upcoming U.S. Immigration and Customs officials raids in Baltimore and around the country, Young and Police Commissioner Michael Harrison announced that they would not be offering any aid in those raids. On Wednesday, Young’s office announced an executive order declaring that “city personnel will not arrest, detain, or investigate an individual based on a federal administrative warrant, a belief that the person is not present legally in the United States, or suspicion that the individual has committed a civil immigration violation.” Young also announced that he’s allocating more funding for the Safe City Baltimore program, which offers legal aid to people facing deportation.

-About three months after a ransomware attack all but halted city government, the ability for the city to process and for citizens to pay water bills returned this week, covering the span of April through July. Despite calls from some for relief from the bills (they’ll also reflect a rate increase), there won’t be any kind of discount for the inconvenience and confusion surrounding the water billing process. However, the Department of Public Works is offering a monthly payment plan for those who won’t be able to pay all at once. Learn more about that here. There is also this op-ed from members of the Baltimore Right to Water Coalition which broke down what Baltimoreans need to know about the rate hike which really will be a problem for low-income folks.

-Right-winger Scott Presler, who ran the racist, anti-Muslim group ACT For America and is a fervid Trump supporter brought some Trumpian bad faith to Baltimore when he organized a trash clean-up in West Baltimore. He claims he and his group of hundreds cleaned up tons of trash and Presler also rather ridiculously, tweeted out a photo of a newspaper from 2008 about Obama’s presidential victory and claimed he found this eleven year old paper in the trash and I guess was trying to say something about how Obama failed? Who knows. As District 12 City Council candidate Dave Heilker pointed out, the numbers they suggested they cleaned up are hard to prove really and the likelihood of them finding a newspaper in perfect condition is shady. We’ll also add that there are plenty of efforts of people cleaning Baltimore up every day (we often mention them in our Community Events calendar) and joining up with one of those instead of setting up their own and boasting about it would get them a lot further. Also: there are way bigger problems in Baltimore than trash. Honestly though, we don’t expect to see these people back in Baltimore again—or let’s check in on Presler’s crew in six months or a year from now.

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