Would a "police state" be necessary if Baltimore wasn't 65 percent black? [Arrests for minor crimes spur resentment in some Baltimore neighborhoods, Baltimore Sun, August 23, 2015]:
For Tayvon Wiggins, applying for a job brings almost certain disappointment. "I go through the interview process, but as soon as they check my background, I can't pass it," the West Baltimore man said.
He has been convicted of minor traffic violations but believes the real problem stems from other arrests that remain on his record even though they were never prosecuted.
Wiggins, who has been working odd jobs as he moves to get those records expunged, illustrates the frustration felt by some Baltimoreans who have trouble finding employment because of arrests, including those for minor charges such as trespassing.
The issue, which has sparked resentment in West Baltimore and other neighborhoods for years, has received new attention in the aftermath of Freddie Gray's death.
State's Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby contends that Gray, who sustained a fatal spinal injury while in police custody, was arrested illegally because officers patrolling in West Baltimore failed to establish probable cause.
He was detained near the corner of North Avenue and Mount Street a month after Mosby asked police for enhanced drug enforcement in that area.
Some residents complain that "clearing the corner" — a practice of making arrests on minor offenses to disperse people in drug-infested areas or to investigate more serious crimes — is a law enforcement strategy that continues to harm residents and has contributed to a distrust of police.
Though charges are often dropped by prosecutors, the arrests can remain on records for years. That has helped to drive up the number of statewide expungements, as Marylanders try to cleanse records that may be reviewed by potential employers.
Baltimore police counter that they have abandoned the zero-tolerance strategy that led to mass arrests — and a 2006 lawsuit by the NAACP and the American Civil Liberties Union. Statistics bear out that assertion.
The number of arrests for minor crimes such as failure to obey, loitering and disorderly conduct has dropped significantly across Baltimore — from 5,401 in 2005 to 2,016 last year.
There are also fewer cases in which police make arrests only to see prosecutors release them without charges; there were 10,844 such cases in 2009 and 956 last year. Baltimore police are now targeting the "worst of the worst," said Col. Darryl DeSousa, who until recently headed the patrol division.
Minor nuisance offenses are increasingly addressed with citations rather than arrests, he said. Still, many Baltimoreans complain that police continue to enforce nuisance laws unfairly. Although police officials have disavowed the mass-arrest strategy, African-Americans are still being arrested disproportionately for minor crimes, according to a Baltimore Sun analysis of city data.
Blacks make up 64 percent of the city's population but accounted for 93 percent of loitering arrests and 84 percent of trespass arrests in 2014.
"The reason why the arrest disparity is so high is that police are posted all over in our neighborhoods," said the Rev. Cortly "C.D." Witherspoon, a West Baltimore clergyman and president of the local chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. "It's like a police state."
Police experts note that some neighborhoods, including parts of West Baltimore, have a greater police presence because that is where homicides, shootings and other major crimes are concentrated.
This year, as the city experiences a spike in homicides — already surpassing the total for 2014 — most of the killings have occurred in impoverished sections of East and West Baltimore.Broken Windows Policing in Baltimore is impossible because the 65 percent black city is a broken city: where violent and petty crimes are almost entirely committed by the black majority, and the almost entirely black elected (or appointed) government/bureaucracy will continue to stay in power as long as this black crime - and fear of black crime - keeps the city from being gentrified.
Trespassing is not a minor offense: it's the type of crime driving down property values and keeping businesses from investing in a city.
It's the toleration of this type of crime - and persecution of the police who falsely believe they uphold the white man's law and not the Africanization of the city - ensuring Baltimore remains a broken city.