–According to The Baltimore Sun, the Baltimore City Police Department received a complaint against developer Scott Plank earlier this month saying he exposed himself to a female employee of the luxury condominium building where he lives in Locust Point. Plank, a wealthy and influential Baltimore businessman, calls the incident a “misunderstanding.” He was not charged with a crime. The Sun reports that the woman didn’t even want them to report on the incident because she feared she’d lose her job. Oh, by the way, Plank’s company, War Horse, helped finance a multi-million-dollar renovation of the western district police station. Amid a moment of totally welcome approach to kicking out all creeps, rapists, sexual harassers, and more, we have to ask: Will Scott Plank suffer?
-We’re in full-out Holiday-with-a-capital-H season (it began right after Thanksgiving, at midnight), and Jesus, Mary, and the man in the red suit have all conspired to bless us with a rare gift: a new Dru Hill album. The cover art for “Christmas in Baltimore” features a dragon wearing a Santa hat, a nod to the continuing theme of Asian-inspired dragon artwork found on most of the group’s releases. The timing feels just right, not only because of the time of year, but because Xscape, another early-’90s act, is also back and kicking ass. Long live the ‘90s R&B.
-The Baltimore Shomrim, a Jewish civilian patrol—basically a neighborhood watch group active in Northwest Baltimore—got a brand new Command Patrol Vehicle (specifically a 2017 Chevy Tahoe). At first the story was the mayor gifted it to them, but as the Baltimore Brew reported, the car was paid for with “casino impact dollars” (specifically Video Lottery Terminal dough, which is separate from city money via Horseshoe Casino funds) and had been in the works for a while or something; who knows, because it seems like councilperson Yitzy Schleifer, who said he didn’t have anything to do with getting the vehicle totally did have something to do with getting the vehicle, says the Baltimore Brew. What is absolutely clear: The city had a hand in giving a neighborhood watch a vehicle that looks like a cop vehicle, which is confusing and troubling and encourages vigilantism. The Baltimore Shomrim is rather notorious; in 2012 one of its members, Eliyahu Werdesheim, allegedly beat a 15-year-old black teen with a communication radio, stoking long-simmering tensions between the Jewish community and the black community.
-Nothing against Owings Mills—it’s a perfectly fine and lovely place—but it stung to find out Baltimore County is getting a new Costco (and the convenient shopping and employment opportunities that come with it) when Baltimore is still reeling from the news that the Target at Mondawmin is leaving early next year. It’s part of a project to reinvigorate the site of the former Owings Mills Mall, but, again, it makes us wonder what the future of Mondawmin Mall would be if the city advocated for its residents at all.
-Baltimore was the site of another battle against the Trump administration’s discriminatory military trans ban, and it was a win for those on the side of justice. U.S. District Judge Marvin J. Garbis granted a preliminary injunction, ruling that trans service people are already suffering because of the ban. Trump hasn’t been in office for a whole year, but he’s already done a lot of damage. Fights like these help to ensure this country’s most vulnerable and marginalized people are protected.
-It’s fun to see racist white guy Richard Spencer fail, so the news that he was unceremoniously booted from a Montgomery County farm was a nice Thanksgiving-week treat. Spencer and his think-tank the National Policy Institute used a third party company to book Rocklands Farm for the conference they were holding, but once the people in charge of the venue realized Spencer was involved, they shut the whole thing down. LOL.
-There are many frustrating aspects of the city and BPD’s handling of Detective Sean Suiter’s shooting death earlier this month. First, the police took over the Harlem Park area immediately, surrounding the place where the shooting happened, posting up with large guns, and forcing residents to show ID. Then there’s the fact that city leaders, many of whom have paid lip service to the need for police reform and the way poor black communities are most vulnerable to the police, simply allowed this to happen. Finally, there’s the fact that the BPD held a press conference the Wednesday evening right before Thanksgiving to drop the news that Suiter was scheduled to testify the day after he was killed. We had a bunch of follow-up questions about that conference, by the way, but our emails weren’t returned. Maybe the department’s communications officials were all out Black Friday shopping?
-If you think you hate Comcast now, just wait till the FCC votes to kill net neutrality. Without it, internet service providers like Comcast can do whatever they want with online content: slow it down, block it, and charge consumers more for fast-lane access. In short: rich fuckers threatening to control everyone else’s access to information and communication technology, all in the bullshit name of preserving the free market. Led by Trump-appointed FCC chairman Ajit Pai—big surprise, a former lawyer for Verizon—the commission will vote on Dec. 14. By the way, 25 percent of the internet comes out of Baltimore—there’s a massive internet server right below the Hutzler Bros. Palace Building. In case you didn’t already have a reason to take this personally (and you do; this affects everyone).
-There were three homicides in Baltimore since our last issue (Nov. 20-27, the week before the Beat goes to press): Two on Nov. 24 and another, Alexus McBride, on Nov. 25. All three of the homicide victims have yet to be named by the police, though McBride has been publicly mourned. As of Nov. 27, Baltimore has had 313 homicides.