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Monday, May 23, 2016

DEPRAVED HEARTS AND MISSING AMBULANCES IN FREDDIE GRAY'S CHOCOLATE CITY


In case you've forgotten, some of the officers were charged with "Depraved Heart Murder" in the Freddie Gray case. Now that one of the officers who illegally detained Gray in the first place has been set free, not by a jury, but by a judge. Now, I'm wondering whose heart is actually depraved.

So many black people I've spoken to today are not surprised that Freddie Gray's killers appear to be walking one by one. But we should be. The Mayor was black, the Prosecutor is black, and they are both reigning in a town nicknamed "Chocolate City"

We should be outraged that white supremacy is rolling so quickly in Baltimore, just as unencumbered as it does in the mid west.  

* * * * *

ON ASSESSING A DEPRAVED HEART

Years ago, while on a jury
, I listened to this dead faced black man, a fire department arson investigator, say about another, obviously mentally ill black man on trial,



"Yes, I've met dozens of people 
like him over the years, 
in various stages of self-destruction"


I hated that arson investigator for second or ten. I flat hated his bored black face. 

The black man that the state was trying for arson, was  very obviously off his medication. He waved at me, wriggled his fingers and giggled like a little girl though he had to be 40 or 50 years old. Later, I found out this man had schizophrenia. During the trial I found out this had been homeless more often than not. And since his current home had just burned to the ground, he asked the Arson Investigator if he'd get sent to a mental institution (where there's food and shelter) for a couple of days if he confessed to the arson.  

Apparently, the Arson Investigator said something that the defendant took to be "yes." So the defendant confessed.  Later physical evidence made it clear the defendant had lied in his confession.

When I thought about the Arson Investigator afterward, I thought about how  how judgmental I may have been. I thought about how many self-destructive people the Arson Investigator truly may have met in run down neighborhoods where arson occurs regularly. I wondered what I'd be like if I were him. 


I'd like to think I could get THAT jaded, but.... And I'm pretty sure I was "raised better than that," but...


THE DEPRAVED HEARTS OF POLICEMEN?
Last year, a woman at work told me she used to work in an Emergency Room. She told me the police would walk in and drop the drug addict or drunk on the floor in a heap. Just drop him or her on the floor until the emergency room personnel could find a cot or a bed for the person the officers dragged in. 


I thought about what my behavior would be like after months or years of dragging drunk or high people, covered in vomit and feces into an Emergency Room. I'd like to think I'd GENTLY lay a person down on the floor. But I'd definitely lay a person a down if a cot or bed was not instantly forthcoming because the Emergency Room personnel were busy with somebody else. 
POLICE VAN ON LEFT -- what should happen for an arrested, able-bodied person

ARRESTED CENTER - Freddie Gray, decidedly looking like he's not able-bodied

AMBULANCE ON THE  RIGHT - the vehicle you use for someone injured/damaged


CHARGING FREDDIE GRAY VAN  OFFICERS WITH "DEPRAVED HEART MURDER"


All this let me to thinking about just how horrible the officers in Freddie Gray's van were.

I wondered if maybe they weren't as "depraved" as Marilyn Mosby made them out to be.
If  Sgt Alicia White, Officer William Porter, and  Officer Caesar Goodson Jr. pick up vomit cover, feces covered drunks and drug addicts routinely, then they are picking up people that look like they are completely out of it every day.  That is, they are probably picking up people that look like Freddie Gray, on the surface, every single day.

The thing they might not have known about Freddie Gray is that he was not high or drunk but severely beaten and/or deprived of medication.  (If Gray was not completely conscious, his neck muscles weren't going be doing their job were they?)

If you, as van personnel that came along later,  don't know a person is not drunk and not high but unable to control some of his bodily functions due a beating and/or due to asthma, THEN when you look in back of the van, at some point midway through the trip, and see somebody relatively limp, you're not going to be alarmed.

In order for the officers in the van to be alarmed, don't they have to know why Freddie couldn't walk on his own, get in the van, and buckle his own seat belt? 


Marilyn Mosby's "The Van Did It" theory combined with the implied "The Beating Was A Minor Factor" theory put a mixture of black and white faces in the news as "possibly guilty."

Coincidentally, there probably isn't another image that would have stopped the Baltimore Uprising faster than to put up a picture of 6 police officers that virtually screams "Freddie Gray's death is not about race"


The only image that would have stopped Black Lives Matter Protests and the resulting white riots* faster would have been if the prosecutor who charged the 6 officers was black too and then said something that implied the black officers were mostly to blame for Freddie's death because of a failure to put a seat belt on him.


Oh wait!!! That's exactly what happened.



Questions

 If the white officers know that Freddie Gray is not so drunk or so high that he cannot walk, climb into a van, sit in the van, and put on his own seat belt when instructed, why did they call for a police van and put him in a police van instead of putting him in an ambulance?  


Who had the final decision on police van versus ambulance?


And if "The Van Did It" for sure, why wasn't the person who decided on a police van instead of an ambulance charged?**

Would Mosby's "THE VAN DID IT" even be an issue if Freddie can climb in the van, sit down in the van, and put the seatbelt on himself.?

I have serious questions about what the Black Van Officers ignored. They stopped and talked to Gray more than once. But I see film of that police van up on two wheels going around a corner in order to give credence to "The Van Did It" story.  I might understand they should have stopped to go directly to a hospital based on verbal complaints. But I still  don't know how they could have known how badly Gray was beaten.

And Gray looked badly beaten to me.

I'm gonna say we, as black and brown people, made the mistake of trusting black faces in high places. 
We should have questioned Marilyn Mosby's approach to this a long time ago.
Baltimore has had black and brown people running it for a long time. Therefore Baltimore has more than earned the title "Chocolate City."  And yet Baltimore does NOT have the lowest police brutality rate in the country.


"Mayor Rawlings-Blake may be African American, but under her leadership, large swaths of Black Baltimore have remained poor, unemployed and perpetually harassed and abused by the police. In the last four years alone, more than 100 people have won civil suits against police brutality. During Rawlings-Blake’s tenure, the city has been forced to pay $5.7 million to settle civil suits regarding police misconduct and brutality—an amount that does not include the $5.8 million Baltimore has paid to defend police who have abused the Black public." 
 http://inthesetimes.com/article/17888/baltimore_riots_black_politicians


And if a white male prosecutor had brought 3 black officers in from side, from out of nowhere, and said, "The Van Did It!" we'd have known he was manipulating the media in order to end the riots, instantly.**

When Mosby mentioned the lack of a seatbelt four times during the interview that ended The Baltimore Uprising, I couldn't figure out why she would let the arresting white officers out of the hot box.

Back in 2015, I thought the arresting officers would get a slap on the wrist even if they were indicted.  Today, the judge made sure the slap on the wrist didn't even happen.

The judge in Nero's case said the other officer, Officer Garrett Miller was responsible for the beating. So now, I have another question -- mostly born of my own ignorance. 

Will the same judge be in charge of Officer Miller's case? (Miller is the other arresting officer)

If a different judge sits for Miller's case, what's to stop that judge from saying "Nero" is primarily responsible for the arrest? (Do the judges have to agree?) 

Even if neither of these things is possible, "The Van Did It" means somebody in the van has to go to jail for Freddie Gray's murder, doesn't it? If at least one of white officers is not squarely blamed for arresting and putting Freddie Gray in a police van instead of an ambulance, what other choice is Marilyn Mosby going to have but to get AT LEAST ONE person for Freddie Gray's death?

Is she really going to put one of the black officers in jail for Freddie Gray's death because the officers weren't able to assess his true condition -- no matter how many times they stopped? Isn't that an ambulance crew is for?

And if you really decide that "The Van Did It" how can all three officers be equally responsible? One person has to be in charge of where the police van goes next. Three of them can't be arguing about what to take seriously and what not to take seriously and how fast to take it seriously.

If the purpose of the police van is to be an ambulance for arrested people then it should be outfitted like one and the people who are working in the van should be trained like ambulance personnel -- stopping to pick up other prisoners etc, shouldn't be a choice.


I don't know what to hope at this point.

Should I hope Mosby's got video of that van up on two wheels? For all I know, one or two or all of the black officers involved are like Uncle Ruckus on steroids.  For all I know Freddie Gray's breathing was obviously labored --- and they should have turned that police van into an ambulance, as far as racing to a hospital is concerned.

But how many times have the arrested people who are lying and complaining, while perfectly healthy, about a van that looks as uncomfortable as hell to me -- uncomfortable for a healthy person.

Should I hope the officers can explain why they put Gray in the back unsecured? Is it obvious to someone other than me that they laid him in his stomach instead of stuffing him onto that bench with a seatbelt because he was already hurt?

Should I hope Mosby's fired for putting three innocent black people in the center of a mess created by two or three white officers arresting Freddie Gray for running while being black?

Should I ignore all of this and hope somebody asks her how the hell she let the Nero get away with his part in this, then just  pray she get's Miller?  


(*- It's been said that the "riot" element of The Baltimore Uprising was caused by the predominantly white anti-protesters as the protests in black neighborhoods were peaceful) 



(**-I'm not sure that's the exact inside of the van above. But if it is, does that van look like it's for someone that's hurt? I'm not sure I could keep my spine straight for one good brake stomp if I'm sitting on a narrow ledge and also sideways to the momentum of the car)


MOSBY'S SPEECH, 

HER DECISION TO ARREST FROM MAY 2015