I hope that you will take time to really sit with Baynard Woods’ piece on the death of Baltimore teen Donnell Rochester.
Rochester was shot and killed by Baltimore Police Officer Connor Murray, after a brief police pursuit. Back in June, we published part one of Woods’ investigation into the incident. That piece focused on who Rochester was. This story centers on what happened to him.
Woods spent a lot of time with Rochester’s mother, Danielle Brown, to piece together a careful examination of Rochester’s life and his death. He also spent time combing through police reports, speaking to activists, and talking to witnesses. So many times, when someone loses their life in a police shooting, the incident is painted with broad strokes that remove the humanity of the life lost and the family that person left behind. Woods’ story zooms in on the details with care.
“Though these four shots—and two more fired by Officer Robert Mauri—were the result of a split-second decision, as police unions and apologists often remind the public after a shooting, they were also only the final link in a series of systemic issues that put an 18-year-old queer Black youth in the sights of the four police officers who chased him down,” Woods writes.
In this issue, Baltimore Courtwatch also writes about young people and policing. They say that city leaders are unfairly cracking down on young people.
“Blaming children for the problems adults have caused is convenient for politicians due to the massive power imbalance,” they write.
Arts and Culture Editor Teri Henderson writes about Black Celebration, a new dance party for “people of color who are fans of goth, industrial, punk, darkwave, and other electronic music subcultures,” she writes.
“Mira and I do this not only for ourselves but for just the greater community around us,” cofounder Jerrod Bronson told Henderson. “We are here, but we’re setting the space for you guys to come through and help us grow and flourish.”
On our photostory page, we have photos shot by Myles Michelin of Adnan Syed. Syed’s conviction for the 1999 murder of Hae Min Lee was overturned and then reinstated. Syad argues that he never got a fair trial. He’s now waiting to find out his fate.
Just in time for Halloween, Dominic Griffin is here with a review of “Dogface: A Trap House Horror,” which is currently streaming on Peacock. We also have a lovely poem from Writers in Baltimore participant Lillian Green.
Thanks for reading.