Week in Review: Target closes in Mondawmin, Pugh and Commish offer shortsighted solutions for crime, and more

Illustration by Alex Fine.

-Target announced it would close its Mondawmin location in February because it was underperforming. Crucial to the redesign of Mondawmin Mall, the Target was a badly needed resource for many who didn’t have access to lots of shopping options in an area that had been neglected for years. Maybe we should consider investing locally and stop trying so hard to court giant corporate structures who will pull out the moment things don’t benefit them.

-In response to the alarming homicide rate and attacks by teens in neighborhoods that don’t usually see that sort of thing, Mayor Catherine Pugh decided that the heads of more than half of city agencies must meet up at police headquarters every morning to better combat crime—which pretty much means everybody answers to the police now? Crime is a symptom, not the disease, and it might help us all if we thought about it that way. Our other complaint? The mayor called for the private sector to help finance a $10 million expansion of the highly effective Safe Streets program while continuing to find more and more public funding for police and private developers.

-In response to attacks by teens in neighborhoods that don’t usually see that sort of thing, Commissioner Kevin Davis has announced a number of hasty crime prevention plans including one where young-looking undercover cops go to the neighborhoods to catch the bad kids, “21 Jump Street” style. Davis’ other big plan? Throw more teens in jail and charge 16-year-olds as adults—something the law demands for violent crime but a policy that has been shown not to work.

-With over a dozen allegations of sexual misconduct leveled against Kevin Spacey, Netflix has fired their leading man from “House of Cards”—and good riddance. Production has been put on hold while writers on show, which is filmed in Baltimore and other parts of Maryland, are scrambling to rewrite the final season. Locally, groups like Hollaback Baltimore have been putting together discussions and workshops as the #metoo movement pushes on and more stories come out. It’s time to reevaluate how we respond to abuse.

-Governor Larry Hogan condemned Roy Moore after the Alabama maniac was accused of propositioning a 14-year-old 40 years ago. While some have doubled down in support of Moore, Hogan at least said Moore has got to go, declaring him “unfit for office” and asking if Republicans “would be so quick to excuse him if the victim was their daughter or if the offender was a Democrat.” The bar for Republicans to do the right thing is so low.

-The Baltimore Museum of Art announced that in conjunction with a solo exhibition by famed artist Mark Bradford, whom BMA Director Christopher Bedford has called “the greatest living abstract painter,” Bradford will start a partnership with Greenmount West Community Center, providing training and equipment for a silk-screening project for kids. At a public talk hosted at Union Baptist Church over the weekend, Bradford and the BMA team emphasized the importance of strengthening community-driven projects that already exist and work, rightly echoing the sentiments of local organizers.

-Where there is black pain, there will always be white people looking to profit. Over on Twitter, one-time-officer-turned-police-brutality-pundit Michael Wood claimed that race was just “a social construct,” identified himself as “anti-identity politics,” and said that black women were falsely claiming “special exemption.” The internet—in particular Morgan University’s Dr. Lawrence Brown—came for him, much to the delight of many in Baltimore who are sick of Wood’s white-centered wokeness.

-A 2014 incident involving Baltimore resident Jamal Kennedy and Baltimore City Police outside Melba’s Place in Waverly has resulted in a $135,000 settlement with the city, the Baltimore Brew reported last week. Kennedy sued the city, claiming officers acted inappropriately when they tasered and beat him (the officers were cleared in court of all wrongdoing). The money, like all police settlements, comes with a gag order silencing Kennedy from talking about the specifics of his case.

-There were four homicides in Baltimore over the past week (Nov. 6-13, the week before the Beat to press), with two on Nov. 6 (Latasha Walls, Winfield Parker) and two on Nov. 12 (Dashon Griffin, Gerald Gardner). It follows the second ceasefire weekend where there was one homicide on Nov. 4 (Tony Mason Jr.) and a brief burst of hope where residents saw no homicides for most of last week. As of Nov. 13, day 316 of 2017, Baltimore has had 305 homicides.