What’s next in Freddie Gray death investigation?

30 Apr 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Baltimore Officials: No Immediate Decision in Gray Case.

City officials said a completed investigation would be announced by Friday May 1, 2015 and then turned over to State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby’s office for review.

As chaos descended on Baltimore Monday, city police commissioner Anthony Batts implemented two strategies to help quash the looting and rioting that ensued after the funeral of 25-year-old Freddie Gray.BALTIMORE — Having weathered two all-night curfews with no major disturbances, Baltimore officials are now trying to manage growing expectations they will immediately decide whether to prosecute six police officers involved in the arrest of a black man who later died of injuries he apparently received while in custody.

The streets of Baltimore experienced a quieter night Wednesday as the riots that marred the city earlier in the week were muted by a strict 10 p.m. curfew and a massive police presence. In an effort to be transparent, authorities have told the community they plan to turn over the findings of a police investigation into Freddie Gray’s death to a state’s attorney by Friday. They arrived in Baltimore after the death of Freddie Gray with the same ol’ custom suits and rhetoric that they have used on their macabre death tours since I was a kid. In New York, hundreds of protestors gathered in Union Square in a show of solidarity to those in Baltimore rallying after Gray suffered fatal injuries while in police custody. Batts, who served as police chief in Long Beach and Oakland, Cal. before taking the Baltimore job, was seen in uniform chasing after two men, both of whom were wearing backpacks and hoodies.

But protesters on the streets and high school students who met with Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake on Wednesday have said there are rumors circulating that some kind of “verdict” will be rendered as soon as Friday. The protests also criticized police tactics in light of the deaths of Gray, Michael Brown and Eric Garner, the latter killed after police administered a chokehold while placing him in custody. “Freddie Gray, Michael Brown. Hassan Murphy, a lawyer for Gray’s family, underscored their comments, saying, “This family wants justice and they want justice that comes at the right time and not too soon.” Gray, 25, was pinned to a sidewalk, handcuffed and hoisted into a police van where he was put in leg irons after Baltimore officers said he made eye contact with them and ran. While police warned that protestors who blocked traffic would be arrested, the march eventually made it way to the Holland Tunnel, obstructing that passage’s entrance. Batts said another man who was in the van during the tail end of Gray’s ride told investigators that Gray was “was still moving around, that he was kicking and making noises” up until the van arrived at the station.

Batts said the man also said the driver did not speed, make sudden stops or “drive erratically.” But somewhere along the way, Gray suffered a fatal spinal injury, and the six officers involved were suspended with pay amid the criminal investigation. Listeners of a popular Baltimore radio show where I often contribute called in to say how grateful they were for the clergy’s attendance and the peaceful marches they have been participating in. Though Batts lent a personal hand to the effort to curtail crime, he admitted in a press conference after the night of rioting that police were “outnumbered” and “outflanked.” “We needed to have more resources out there,” he said. The mayor and others tried to stay focused on the positive Wednesday, applauding residents for obeying the 10 p.m.-5 a.m. curfew that first went into effect Tuesday night and for preventing a repeat of Monday night’s violence.

The old Christian rhetoric seems to work great for the 20 and over crowd but it’s evident that the young people of Baltimore don’t care – they feel that these methods are dated and do not work. What began as peaceful demonstration devolved into minor chaos as protestors hurled rocks at police vehicles and set a portable toilet on fire, the Huffington Post reports.

Scenes of chaos and violence cast a shadow over the city as 144 vehicles were set on fire and 20 police officers were injured in the worst riots to hit Baltimore in decades. Today they look better than yesterday, so we’re making a lot of progress.” There were signs throughout the city of life getting back to normal, with schools reopening and cars rolling as usual through streets that had been cleared of debris. In May, WJZ reported that Batts and three detectives were returning from the scene of an officer-involved shooting and approached six men standing outside of a deli. But widespread protests Wednesday night — not only in Baltimore, but in several cities including Boston, New York and Washington, D.C. — made it clear that tensions over the case are far from subsiding. This comes as Baltimore police spokesman Captain Eric Kowalczyk said investigations into Gary’s death, which are to be released on Friday, would not be made public. “We cannot release all of the information from this investigation to the public because if there is a decision to charge in any event by the state’s attorney’s office, the integrity of that investigation has to be protected,” he said.

Gray’s death was the latest in a series of high-profile cases around the country in which black men have died as the result of encounters with police. Wednesday night’s protests in Ferguson were calmer, but not without incident, as dozens of demonstrators returned to the streets, where they blocked traffic and chanted “No justice, no peace. Police will give their findings to prosecutors and the US Department of Justice is conducting a separate probe into possible civil rights violations in Gray’s death. Presidential hopeful Hilary Clinton weighed in on the civil unrest in Baltimore and called for an end to excessive prison sentences that burden black communities.

While the exact nature of Gray’s death remains unclear, a new witness who was also in the back of the police van with Gray has revealed more information while also shifting blame away from police. Gray was arrested without force or incident.” Meanwhile, hundreds of protesters arrested during Baltimore’s riots were released from jail without charges Wednesday night, as police were unable to complete their paperwork on time, NBC News reports. A public defender filed habeas corpus petitions on behalf of many of the protestors arrested Monday, resulting in their release from the Baltimore Central Booking and Intake Center. He died April 19th; his funeral Monday was among the factors that sparked the initial wave of Baltimore riots. 2015 may not bring everything that Back to the Future II promised it would: flying cars, self-lacing shoes, we don’t see ’em happening over the next 12 months. (Then again, don’t bet against Nike.) But this year will definitely pack plenty of punch when it comes to cultural happenings.

Mad Max will roar back out of the apocalypse while Mad Men rides off into the sunset, rock’s Antichrist Superstar and hip-hop’s Yeezus will rise again. While law enforcers have existed in one form or another for centuries, the modern police have their roots in the relatively recent rise of modern property relations 200 years ago, and the “disorderly conduct” of the urban poor. Like every structure we’ve known all our lives, it seems that the policing paradigm is inescapable and everlasting, and the only thing keeping us from the precipice of a dystopic Wild West scenario.

Rather than be scared of our impending Road Warrior future, check out just a few of the practicable, real-world alternatives to the modern system known as policing: Unarmed but trained people, often formerly violent offenders themselves, patrolling their neighborhoods to curb violence right where it starts. Stop believing that police are heroes because they are the only ones willing to get in the way of knives or guns – so are the members of groups like Cure Violence, who were the subject of the 2012 documentary The Interrupters. There are also feminist models that specifically organize patrols of local women, who reduce everything from cat-calling and partner violence to gang murders in places like Brooklyn. While police forces have benefited from military-grade weapons and equipment, some of the most violent neighborhoods have found success through peace rather than war.

Violent offenses count for a fraction of the 11 to 14 million arrests every year, and yet there is no real conversation about what constitutes a crime and what permits society to put a person in chains and a cage. Decriminalization doesn’t work on its own: The cannabis trade that used to employ poor Blacks, Latinos, indigenous and poor whites in its distribution is now starting to be monopolized by already-rich landowners. To quote investigative journalist Christian Parenti’s remarks on criminal justice reform in his book Lockdown America, what we really need most of all is “less.” Also known as reparative or transformative justice, these models represent an alternative to courts and jails. From hippie communes to the IRA and anti-Apartheid South African guerrillas to even some U.S. cities like Philadelphia’s experiment with community courts, spaces are created where accountability is understood as a community issue and the entire community, along with the so-called perpetrator and the victim of a given offense, try to restore and even transform everyone in the process.

Communities that have tools to engage with each other about problems and disputes don’t have to consider what to do after anti-social behaviors are exhibited in the first place. In Mexico, where one of the world’s most corrupt police forces only has credibility as a criminal syndicate, there have been armed groups of Policia Comunitaria and Autodefensas organized by local residents for self-defense from narcotraffickers, femicide and police. We have created a tremendous amount of mental illness, and in the real debt and austerity dystopia we’re living in, we have refused to treat each other for our physical and mental wounds. Mental health has often been a trapdoor for other forms of institutionalized social control as bad as any prison, but shifting toward preventative, supportive and independent living care can help keep those most impacted from ending up in handcuffs or dead on the street.

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