The Freddie Gray Fiasco And The Coming End of Policing
The late Freddie Gray, somewhat overshadowed by his arrest record
The case against the officers involved in the arrest of the late Freddie Gray of Baltimore is already collapsing. Lawyers for the six officers charged (three of whom are African-American) identify the openly admitted political motivations of State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby and her conflict of interest as wife of Councilman Nick Mosby (email him)as compelling reasons to remove her from the case [Officers in Freddie Gray case move to dismiss charges, by Justin Fenton, Baltimore Sun, May 8, 2015]. The charges filed against the officers are filled with errors because of Mosby’s haste to seize the political spotlight instead of undertaking a proper investigation [Police charges in Freddie Gray case are incompetent at best, by Page Croyder, Baltimore Sun, May 5, 2015]. The arrest documents for some of the officers were even filled out with the wrong names [Freddie Gray arrest documents drawn up for wrong people, by Justin Fenton, Baltimore Sun, May 4, 2015].
And yet, this basic incompetence conceals a larger truth—law enforcement as a whole is being targeted because of its necessarily disproportionate impact on African-Americans (because they commit a disproportionate amount of crime). The case against the officers involved in the arrest of the late Freddie Gray shows the real agenda of the Minority Occupation Government is to end any real efforts at fighting crime in major cities, precisely because too many of those being arrested are black. The late Freddie Gray was a typical example of this criminal population: more than 20 criminal court cases against him, five still active at the time of his death. [What we know, don’t know about Freddie Gray’s death, by Ashley Fantz and Greg Botelho, CNN, April 29, 2015].
Out of necessity, policing involves putting what cops call the habeas grabus on bad guys. For the uninitiated, habeas grabus is a play on habeas corpus, a legal term that is loosely translated as bring the body. To detain a suspect means one occasionally has to fight them, search them, handcuff them, and go hands-on with criminals. To fight crime, you actually have to get out of the patrol car and engage with the population.
In the Gray case, the most severe charge has been leveled against (black) officer Caesar R. Goodson. He is being charged with “second-degree depraved heart murder” because of supposedly acting with “reckless disregard for human life” when the officer should have known his actions were life threatening. The actual cause of death was a head injury resulting from a fall in the van [Law enforcement sources say Freddie Gray suffered head injury in police transport van, by Brad Bell, ABC, April 30, 2015]. The key to the case will be determining whether officers took proper precautions to ensure the safety of a suspect who may have been acting violently during transport, even trying to hurt himself [Disputed report: Freddie Gray Hurt Himself in Police Van, NBC, April 29, 2015].
But what’s really ominous: the charges of second degree assault and false imprisonment against the bike patrol officers who initiated the pursuit and eventual arrest of Gray. Supposedly, a bicycle patrol lieutenant spotted Gray, made eye contact, and Gray then immediately fled on foot. [Timeline: Freddie Gray’s Arrest, Death And The Aftermath, Baltimore Sun, May 2, 2015]
A common complaint of the Main Stream Media is that Gray shouldn’t have been approached by police at all and was justified in fleeing because of police oppressing black people [Why Freddie Gray ran, The Baltimore Sun, April 25, 2015]. Yet in Terry v. Ohio, the Supreme Court said that the police only need reasonable suspicion that a crime has been committed, was being committed, or will be committed to stop, detain, and question a person, and use any reasonable amount of force to effect a stop and detention. And the Supreme Court ruled in Illinois v. Wardlow that flight at the sight of police officers is inherently suspicious.
The video of the arrest shows Gray was taken down by officers, hardly a case of “not resisting.” Furthermore, Gray was formally charged not with fleeing or resisting, but with possessing an illegal knife [What Freddie Gray’s knife says about police power in America, by Patrik Jonsson, Christian Science Monitor, May 7, 2015].
This arrest resulted from the engaged, “broken windows” style policing that liberals, including former Baltimore mayor and progressive hero Martin O’ Malley were boasting about not long ago. Gray brought this result upon himself through his long criminal career, fleeing officers, resisting, and then thrashing about in the police van.
During his time in the police van, Gray reportedly asked for an inhaler and at another point said he could not breathe. However, the cause of death was the catastrophic injury he sustained when he struck his head. If a crime was committed here, it was involuntary homicide and should be laid at the feet of those officers who did not properly secure him or provide aid after Gray’s injury.
So why are the white officers who originally detained him being charged? Because the black State’s Attorney appears intent on conducting a jihad against white police officers who proactively enforce the law against black criminals. And her allies in the legal profession are celebrating the implications:
Dwight Pettit, a lawyer who handles police brutality cases in Baltimore — and worked to help elect Ms. Mosby — said her emphasis on the officers’ lack of probable cause in arresting Mr. Gray was significant. Rarely, he said, are police officers prosecuted for making false arrests — and too often, they do not worry about lacking probable cause.
He called the charges of false imprisonment “something new for police activity, which offends the constitutional rights of citizens.”
[6 Baltimore Police Officers Charged in Freddie Gray Death, by Alan Blinder and Richard Perez-Pena, New York Times, May 1, 2015].
Needless to say, the federal government is also intervening, as the Department of Justice has already launched a “civil rights probe” into the Baltimore police [After Freddie Gray death, U.S. starts civil rights probe of Baltimore police, by Mark Puente, Baltimore Sun, May 8, 2015]. And so-called “civil rights campaigners” like Al Sharpton are escalating calls for law enforcement as a whole to be federalized [One view: Want a lawless police force? Federalize it, by Glenn Reynolds, Reno Gazette-Journal, May 6, 2015].
And police officers around the country will take the hint. As they say in the INS, “no cases, no problems, few cases, few problems, and many cases, many problems.” White officers will stay in their cruisers instead of putting the “habeas grabus” on blacks.
Of course, crime will increase and we will go back to the bad old of days of unsafe cities Broken Windows policing was designed to prevent. Ironically, African-Americans will be the biggest victims of this.
But then, as we see with our nation-breaking (and wage-suppressing) immigration policy, the Left is not interested in taking care of its constituents—only punishing its enemies.
The blogger Federale (Email him) is a 4th generation Californian and a veteran of federal law enforcement, including service in the legacy Immigration and Naturalization Service, the Department of Homeland Security, and other federal law enforcement agencies.
Federale`s opinions do not represent those of the Department of Homeland Security or the federal government, and are an exercise of rights protected by the 1st Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.