Week In Review: Still processing the Keith Davis Jr. verdict, how Hogan piles on Cummings and helps Trump, and more

-We here at the Beat are still processing the guilty verdict Keith Davis Jr. received last week. While we won’t weigh in on whether or not Davis is guilty of the crime he’s been charged with—murder, this was Davis’ fourth murder trial—it was apparent that the case is full of holes and problems and always has been. As Davis’ defense explored the numerous ways Kevin Jones’ homicide was either poorly investigated or not investigated at all and more and more details don’t quite add up (cell phones kept for months by the lead homicide detective; the gun the defense has claimed was planted has its origins at a gun store frequented by cops and there’s no record of its sale; one of the officers who fired at Davis was investigated by the FBI for dealing drugs), the State’s Attorney’s Office played fast and loose with the details of the shooting and its evidence and have yet to locate a motive for Davis shooting Jones. The case shows what many critics of Marilyn Mosby’s office have already said: that its office will stop at nothing to secure a conviction and in this case, kept prosecuting him for the same crime until they got a guilty verdict (a previous guilty verdict was reversed after a star witness was shown to be misrepresented by the SAO). This verdict also shows how desperate Baltimoreans are to believe the police. And so, the Keith Davis Jr. saga continues.

-City Council President Brandon Scott introduced a sprawling, ambitious, and most importantly, thoughtful plan for Baltimore last week. The one getting the most press is a proposal to lower the voting age 16 because well, it’s a kinda wild idea (it’s also a good one, a smart way to engage the city’s youth politically) but the entire Legislative and Proposal Policy is worth a read (Baltimore Sun uploaded it so you can read it yourself here) and here are some of its highlights: end ‘gag orders’ in city legal settlements, strengthen city ethics watchdogs, expand access to public hearings, restore local control and oversight of the BPD, address trauma associated with violence and addiction, resist regressive ‘tough on crime’ laws, enact youth athletic protection, establish funding stream for the Equity Assistance Fund, and investigate racially and economically disparate impact of fines and fees.

-Retired Baltimore Raven Ed Reed did us proud this week when he turned up at Thursday’s Hall of Fame game wearing a shirt adorned with the faces of victims of police brutality—including Freddie Gray, Sandra Bland, and Mike Brown. It’s a big deal when you consider how hard National Football League owners have fought against Black players taking any kind of political stance. In case you missed it, quarterback Colin Kaepernick reached a settlement with the NFL back in February after he alleged that he was essentially blacklisted for his on-field protests against police brutality. Reed will be inducted into the Hall of Fame Saturday. We hope other prominent former Ravens—cough—Ray Lewis—cough—follow Reed’s lead.

-Last weekend, after Donald Trump decided to drag Rep Elijah Cummings and the city of Baltimore through the mud, everyone had something to say. Well, almost everyone. Maryland Governor Larry Hogan had apparently taken the weekend off and could only be bothered to issue a passive-aggressive statement through a representative that blamed both sides. “More attacks between politicians aren’t going to get us anywhere,” the statement said. Hogan eventually got around to addressing the insults himself but that wasn’t much better. “I don’t think you can put all the blame in Baltimore City on Elijah Cummings,” Hogan told Fox News, “but he could do more to help.” Getting tired of hearing us point out that Hogan isn’t the sensible moderate that everybody wants him to be? So are we.

-We kinda want to go to church now. Specifically, Morning Star Baptist Church of Christ in Southwest Baltimore, where this week members told U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson to kick rocks after he tried to hold a news conference on their property without their permission. Carson was there to justify President Donald Trump’s repeated attacks on Elijah Cummings and Baltimore City. Carson expressed annoyance about having to move, saying, “I mean, this is the level to which we have sunken as a society.” Also, of course, Carson has been using his time as the head of HUD to make life harder for the millions of people who depend on the government to have a roof over their heads, here in Baltimore and all over the country.

-Baltimore police veteran Lieutenant Robert Quick has been suspended, reports Fox 45’s Joy Leopola. “Sources tell me Quick is accused of teaching a class at the police academy while allegedly being intoxicated. He was removed from the class and suspended with pay,” Leopola tweeted. Quick is a member of the Consent Decree’s Implementation Team which has shocked many in Baltimore for some time. Why? Ok, well deep breath here: In 1996, Quick was part of a group of cops accused of detaining a man and calling him racist names; in 1997, a jury awarded a man named Brian Reddick $275,000 because a group of officers including Quick, violated his rights; in 1999, Quick was involved in the death of a man named Larry Hubbard, who those on the scene said Quick beat up and was then shot in the head by Quick’s partner at the time, Officer Barry W. Hamilton, because Hamitlon said, Hubbard fell on top of Quick (residents claimed Hubbard plead for his life before he was shot and killed); in 2000, Quick was arrested for drunk driving in White Marsh after he crashed his car into a parked car; in 2011, Quick was investigated along with Ian Dombrowski for overtime fraud due to payments being entered more than once once—both were cleared by then-State’s Attorney Greg Bernstein; and in 2014, Quick was suspended because he shared private police emails with Sheryl Goldstein, who had worked in the mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice and was the wife of Bernstein. It sure is interesting how everyone from Trump to well-meaning pontificators writing about the city’s problems don’t ever connect the city’s problems to something like this—a notorious cop suspended for allegedly showing up drunk to work.

-Baltimore Mayor Bernard “Jack” Young decided that while Trump and his followers were dragging Baltimore for being dirty and “rodent infested,” he might as well get in on the action, too. Local news cameras followed our mayor strolling around a neighborhood in East Baltimore, ranting over piles of trash he spotted. “We are not dirty but we’ve become dirty,” he said. Lots of people have pointed out that the big piles are more likely the work or contractors who might not even live in the city, rather than residents and that Young has been in office for decades now, so he should shoulder some of the blame for this sort of thing—and absolutely should not be shocked by it. Young would probably get more done if he actually talked to people here as opposed to yelling at them for TV cameras. 

-Of course, it was some rich dicks in the club level. Some people at the Orioles game last night unfurled a “Trump 2020” banner during the game and of course, most of the stadium boo-ed them and soon, they were escorted from the stadium (because Camden Yards doesn’t let you hang banners in the stadium). That’s about all there is to this one but well, let’s slow down here. Something awful is happening to Baltimore right now thanks to Trump, who has spent the last week targeting the city in speech, particularly one of its representatives Elijah Cummings, and even LOLZ-ing about the homicide rate. And just as Trump’s racism and his supporters’ bad faith arguments about why he isn’t racist and you indeed are the real racist sir, have bowled opposition over on a national level, it’s happening here as much of our city’s Democrats are as ineffectual as their national-facing counterparts (though they are still vastly preferred to um, actual fascists) and really are to blame for this city’s problems. That does not mean Trump isn’t also to blame or has any interest in helping out. Meanwhile, local news is uncritically profiling the propagandist who helped start this all and our governor gets national coverage opposing Trump while echoing Trump’s criticisms of Cummings. We’re fucked.

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