Showing posts with label The Wire. Show all posts
Showing posts with label The Wire. Show all posts

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

CourtWatch Endorses Mizeur

From Steve J. Gewirtz of Charles Village Court Watch:

While I was actively doing a court watch, the one thing that I consistently noticed was that most violent crime had an addiction to illegal drugs at its root.  For example, when John Wagner murdered Stephen Pitcairn, Wagner and most of his apartment mates including Lavelva Merritt had spent the morning high on drugs and alcohol, and the robbery that led to the murder clearly was an effort to get money for drugs.  Police Commissioner Batts, having worked previously in California where a lot of gangs started, has made the point that gangs are at the root of our increase in murders this year, and those gangs exist largely to run drug operations.
When the 18th amendment to the U.S. constitution instituted prohibition of alcohol in the roaring 20s, it provided for concurrent enforcement by the states and the federal government. All but one of the then 48 states adopted prohibition.  The one that did not is our state -- Maryland.  Thus, enforcement of prohibition in Maryland came only from the federal government, and the Baltimore Sun named Maryland "the free state."  As we know, prohibition was a colossal failure that led to a lot of violence (think of Al Capone) and was repealed by the 21st amendment.  We should have learned something from prohibition, namely that trying to ban something that a lot of people want is not possible and that resulting black markets are accompanied by fights over territory in which to sell the something.  When prohibition was repealed, the violent crime subsided.
Today, our country jails more than 2 million people, many for violations of the prohibition of drugs.  We incarcerate people at the highest per capita rate in the world.  Yet people who want drugs still can get them.  In addition, every study shows that the rate of use of illegal drugs is the same for whites as for blacks, but blacks are charged with and jailed for drug crimes far more than whites.
At the same time, far more people die from legal drugs, namely tobacco and alcohol, than from all illegal drugs combined.
For these reasons, it has long been my view that most recreational drugs should be decriminalized.  Get rid of the black markets and we can get rid of much of the violence.  The war on drugs has been a colossal failure.  At the same time, I do believe in cracking down on violent criminals, especially multiple offenders, but if drugs were legal under appropriate safeguards,  there would be a lot less violent crime.  We would save much of the money now spent on prisons.  We also would be able to make drug treatment truly available on demand for anyone who needs it.  Many addicts would need to try more than one program to find one that works for them.
A good place to start is to end the prohibition of marijuana.  Two states so far, Colorado and Washington, have legalized the possession of small amounts, and both states plan to raise money by taxing the sale of marijuana.  There are problems to work through, especially since marijuana is still illegal under federal law.  For example, I understand that banks in Colorado will not accept deposits from marijuana dealers, and I suspect that this is because under federal law, knowingly accepting a deposit from a marijuana dealer constitutes the federal crime of money laundering.  Also, we need to plan for vigorous enforcement of laws against driving under the influence of marijuana -- think of the horrendous accident some years ago in Chase, Maryland because a train operator who was high on pot failed to begin to stop for a signal until it was too late. The first time I tried marijuana, I bicycled afterwards from one dorm to another, and I found myself coming up suddenly on stop signs.  Therefore, when the accident in Chase occurred, I knew exactly how it had come about.
Fortunately, marijuana is generally not an addictive drug. Addiction can be hard to break.  For years, I consumed huge amounts of caffeine, and it took numerous tries to break my addiction.  But I never had to worry about getting busted for buying a fix, and my addiction did not interfere with a career.
While we think about reducing crime, let me mention another issue. I have tutored a few students at the Waverly Library (before it was closed for renovation).  I can recall tutoring a fifth and a sixth grader in math and noticing that they would add two one digit numbers by counting on their fingers.  As far as I can tell, nothing is done for such students by the school system, and the ones I encountered at least were going for tutoring.  My guess is that when students get too far behind and see no future for themselves, that becomes the signal to join a gang and to get involved with drugs. We need to break this cycle.
In the gubernatorial race, one candidate so far has come out for legalization of marijuana, namely Delegate Heather Mizeur.  She would create a legal market for marijuana, would tax it, and would use the money to fund prekindergarten education.  This would be an excellent first step in reducing crime centered around the drug trade and in giving our children a jump on getting the education they need to feel that they have a future.  Kids from middle and upper class homes reach kindergarten already knowing the letters of the alphabet, but too many kids from poverty begin learning the letters in kindergarten.  She has also spoken of the need to end the system that sends too many kids into the court system rather than into college and careers.  I expect that we will see more details on what she plans to do, and I hope that other candidates will also discuss the issue.
As you may guess from what I have written above, I am supporting Heather Mazeur and her running mate Delman Coates for governor and lieutenant governor.  Heather will be speaking at a meeting at 7:30 p.m. next Monday, December 16 of the Old Goucher Community Association at Lovely Lane Methodist Church at 2200 St. Paul St. in Baltimore.  I hope that people will attend and will hear a really dynamic and inspirational speaker.  One of the things I most like about her and her running mate is that I expect them to do more than any recent governor to inspire all of us to do more to make our communities and our city and state a much better place.  They believe in government, as do I, but government cannot do everything.  We all need to contribute our time.
To learn more about Heather, go to her web site: If you are interested in meeting two members of the cast of The Wire, she has a fundraiser next Tuesday, December 17, and you can click on EVENTS to get details.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Art Imitates Life Imitates Art

... Wrote this post last week but never posted it. Der!

November 14 murder victim Eddie Blick Jr. was featured in the Al Jazeera's "Educating Black Boys" documentary.

Nathan Barksdale
Nathan Barksdale has been arrested on various heroin-dealing and gun-related charges*. Barksdale has claimed to be the inspiration for David Simon's character Avon Barksdale on "The Wire" (though Simon denies it, and Van Smith proves that the nickname "Bodie" was a latter-day addition to his moniker). Barksdale also claimed to be out of "the game" (of course) and is reportedly now in a wheelchair after having his leg amputated below the knee.* And in typical Baltimore fashion he's  related to Dante Barksdale, coordinator of Operation Safe Streets.

Too-cool-for-you Remington bar W.C. Harlan was robbed at gunpoint by a guy in a wig.

Evan Curbeam's family say that his death was accidental.

15 years for Darryl Robinson, 49, who allegedly managed an open-air drug market in Poplar Grove.

185 months for Rico Bias, alleged getaway driver for commercial robbers.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Personal Questions

A man shot to death in the head last night at E Monument and N Milton* is our 10th(?) murder of the year. The Ink details last week's three murders included two women, Melissa Davis (allegedly stabbed to death by her husband) and 17-year-old Michelle Adrian of Middletown, shot on West Baltimore street after following someone into a dark alley to buy drugs.

Judge Alfred Nance,
about 40 years ago
Down at the trial for Phylicia Barnes' alleged killer, Judge Alfred Nance reportedly wouldn't let reporters in the room for jury selection yesterday,* claiming there just wasn't any space because there were 200 prospective jurors and 125 courtroom seats. Uhm, so, doesn't that mean they have to bring prospective jurors over two batches anyway ... ? Fenton notes Nance has "been criticized in the past for asking personal questions of potential jurors, including asking women their marital status and criticizing the way a prospective juror wore his yarmulke. In 2001, Nance was issued a rare public reprimand by the judicial disabilities commission for behaving in an “undignified” and “demanding” manner toward women.Super. Jury selection continues today and tomorrow.

Fenton also Tweeted a photo of someone named Kim Trueheart getting arrested today at the courthouse. Police say she was "disorderly" at a press conference* last week, interrupting the Mayor with questions about the phone system, and Trueheart herself Tweeted that she was banned from City Hall. The Brew notes local yacktivists Sharon Black, Courtly Witherspoon and Tom Kiefaber have also been banned from city hall a/o charged with trespassing.

Ed Ericson Jr. mulls over the idea that publishing gun owners' personal information might help promote a fairer firearms licensing and permit system.

Justin George drops by the Ras-a-ter International Nightclub and Restaurant at 2103 N. Ave. (right), where seven people have been shot* over the past 14 months. The owner's now been charged with operating an illegal nightclub.

A resident of the Wells House drug treatment center on E. Baltimore Street allegedly threatened another resident with a butcher knife.

A group called "YES" has opened a drop-in center for homeless teens at 2315 N. Charles St.

Hagtown corrections officer Ryan Lohr is the 9th person to face Federal charges for the in-cell beating of inmate Kenneth Davis, the recipient of four beatings in 24 hours.

The CP has a tribute to Robert Chew, the actor who played Prop Joe on The Wire

Some fug fat guy exposed his dangly bits to some girls at the Columbia Mall.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

That's uncredible!

Michael Johnson is due to go to trial next month for the murder of Phylicia Barnes, now Fenton says that defense attorneys say that a witness says* that he saw Barnes in Cecil County, alone, before she died. Also the lead detective on the case was suspended for going rogue in search on his own missing daughter before Johnson was arrested. Hrm.

A hearing is scheduled today* for Alexander Kinyua, the Morgan Student who killed and then ate pieces of Kujoe Bonsafo Agyei-Kodie.  A week before Agyei-Kodie's murder, he also allegedly beat a fellow student with a baseball bat wrapped in barbed wire.

School-threat recap: threats at Arundel High = not credible. Threats at Laurel Junior High = credible.

Van Smith writes about the real backstories of a couple of guys who inspired The Wire

The Ink covers last week's four murders

What the heck? An alleged stranger walked up to a house in the 500 block of E. 30th street and fired a shotgun at it multiple times.

According to the Baltimore Guide blotter, the 500 block of N. Potomac is a burglar's buffet

The Patch's area blotter includes people robbed while waiting at a bus stop, because your life is just not shitty enough while you're waiting at a bus stop.

Who knew? It's apparently now common to smuggle booze from MD to NY, where state taxes are higher.

Bostonian, Miamian start work in SRB's admin. So city police won't live in the city, city council members like Rikki Spector won't live in their own districts, and no one from Baltimore is fit to hire to work for the mayor. Got it.

Well, that's nice, the women behind that anti-rape-culture Victoria's Secret parody,* Rebecca Nagle and Hannah Brancato, are from Baltimore.* (psst, Victoria's secret is ... South Carolina prisoners)

So much for West side redevelopment; the city's now selling off the "Superblock" at fire-sale prices

Friday, December 14, 2012


Todd Duffie, 36, the man shot on Lyndhurt Avenue yesterday, has died of his injuries.*

The Jesus-y Justin has more details on the death of Delma Barnes, reports that Barnes and Jewel O.J. Lucas had no prior relationship* -- their awesomely Baltimoreiffic conflict-resolution skills collided when they into some kind of disagreement at the Shell station.

A mega-bust yesterday: 34 people charged with trafficking in horse, tweed and other assorted controlled substances after a joint investigation (heh)

Sad, indeed: Donnie Andrews, the guy who supposedly inspired the "Omar" character from the Wire, has died.* Extra-poignant considering Andrews turned his life around; his very sweet wedding in 2007 was featured in the NYT's Vows section. (Don't quite get the "Omar inspiration" thing, though, since Andrews was 1). not gay and 2). an addict -- the real Omar would never get high on his own supply, and 3). doesn't seem to have been into robbing drug dealers.)

Two parents were arrested after intervening after intervening as their son was allegedly beat up by a bully who'd robbed him the day before. Hrm, something about this story doesn't wash, I dunno...

Monday, September 17, 2012

Paramedic assaults patient,
a gas cocktail,
a flipping scheme

Have you seen missing 9-year-old Jasaiah Roberts? He was last seen Saturday in the 3100 block of East Monument St. 

A 24-year-old man was shot in the chest on a basketball court in the 1400 block of N Caroline St. in the Oliver* neighborhood, reports the Sun's Mary Gail Hare

?! A woman in the 4600 block of York Road tried to sicken her niece by serving her water with gasoline in it.

?! A paramedic named Shaun White was arrested for assaulting a patient*. Fenton reports that the victim was a drunk 36-year-old woman and the assault was caught on tape* and involved a slap across the face. Oh my. And irony alert!! Olympic gold medalist Shaun White was also arrested this weekend-- he was drunk and assaulted a telephone and then himself by slapping his drunk face on the floor while trying to hit someone else. What does it all mean?!

Poor Anthony Batts! His contract with the city has him taking a $60,000 cut below what he was making in Oakland* to command a force six times smaller than ours.

One Kenneth Koehler pleaded guilty to mortgage fraud in a scheme whereby he lied like a rug to get fraudulent loans for six properties in Upper Fells Point, kept Fannie and Freddie's cash and then let the properties fall into foreclosure. Four of the houses are in the same block of S. Chapel St., one is 2217 Gough and another in the 200 block of S. Castle. The City Paper covered this story back in 2008, Koehler told Ed Ericsson he's owned 27 properties in and around Fells Point.

Glen Burnie dad Mitchell Gresham is being charged as an accessory to murder after helping his son, Cornelius Johnson, cover up the killing of his half-brother, Andrew Michael Johnson.  (Explains the Gazette, the brothers had the same mom but two different dads.)

More deets on Matthew Long, the grandson suspected in the deaths of the Peppers: he was en route to California and found in a Travel Inn in Weatherford, OK; the motel owner called the cops after not getting a response from Long's room. Creepy detail: the motel is two blocks from Dead Woman's Crossing, so named after a notorious murder in 1905 that, legend has it, led to a suspected accomplice poisoning herselfWhat does it all mean?!

From the "shocking to no one" files, Luke Broadwater reports that "More than half of the 1,900 city officials and employees required to complete ethics and financial disclosure forms fill out the forms incorrectly or not at all.*" In other unshocking news, all signs point to our gov eyeballing a 2016 presidential run. .. poor O'Malley, after all these years he's still trying to live down "Carcetti." Meowed the guv to Governing magazine, "David [Simon] came to Baltimore and saw nothing but suffering and hopelessness, and made a lot of money on it."

In the Patch metro blotter, a skeevy 20-something in Essex set fire to a garage,  a drive-by shooting in Pikesville, an armed robbery on a Sunday afternoon in Owings Mills.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Indicted, amped, divorced

A 29-count indictment against Perry Hall High shooter Robert Wayne Gladden Jr.

Remember kid-hatin' Judge Bruce Lamdin and his bon mots for domestic violence victims and other dumbasses? Well get off the watermelon truck, get your head out of where it was previously and put down your cocktail, because his pie hole's gotten him in trouble again.

County takes care a bidniz, though, already an arrest in the fatal stabbing of Darryl Wilson Lovellette Jr., who was shanked near the Sinix bar in Essex early Saturday morning-- one Christopher Michael Wolfe (right), age 21

Michael K. Williams told the New Jersey Star-Ledger about all the coke he did while playing Omar, which he kinda sorta alluded to but didn't quite admit during his talk at Morgan State a couple of years ago.

In other media news, homicide victim #138, Lindale Carrington, appeared on an episode of Divorce Court in 2010.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Trespassing, murder, Marlo, mastitis

Local celebuttorney Billy Murphy (above in the ponytail) is filing a lawsuit alleging the police department outsourced policing to a private security firm, Tenable Protective Services, and went as far as to allow the firm to arrest residents (shouldn't the security guards also be charged for impersonating officers? Sheeit.)

A federal jury has convicted one Frank Marfo for counts related to a $1 million scheme to steal money orders out of rent deposit boxes, and his part in paying $2,000 to have co-conspirator-cum witness Isaiah Cortez Callaway murdered.

Police have released photos of the victims in the Mt. Vernon shootings in hopes of sourcing more information about the motives or perps. I guess there were no crime cameras around? (Caution, the WBAL link also activates a VERY LOUD ad.)

In the Sun, an opinion piece re. the City Circuit Court's unfriendliness to breastfeeding that will have you clutching your hooters in sympathy.

Rough night in the county, with a guy shot in Dundalk and two guys stabbed in Essex.

In the Southern, two arrested for road-raging then exchanging punches at the McDonald's drive-thru, a man stabbed by a line-cutter, a stolen "Shitzu" (like a shih tzu, only shittier). And in the SE, "A man told police that he agreed to give his ex-girlfriend $15 to perform a sex act. He said that during the act the two men she brought with her attacked him."

What the?! Former owner of the Senator, Tom Kiefaber, was arrested and charged with trespassing, harassment and littering after allegedly berating and threatening workers renovating the theater. Says Friends of the Senator Theater's Laura Perkins,
"He has been arrested under a trespassing charge for being on City public property (the sidewalk) outside of The Senator Theatre. 6 police cars were sent to arrest him. He never crossed the property line of the theatre and never went inside. There was no confrontation. He says the latest they can hold him is until tomorrow around this time. This is just plain harassment by political cronies who have broken all kinds of laws, using the City police force as their personal security force."
Kiefaber claims that all he did was illegally use the Dumpster. Oh the dramz!

Out in RowLAND Park, where sheds and garages are always on the thievery menu, an alert from the listserv:
Three incidents involving African-American teens confronting neighbors and stealing bikes in broad daylight in the last three days in the first blocks of St. Mary's and Church lanes (between Roland and Woodlawn and Woodlawn and Hawthorn). Please don't leave bikes or anything else of value unsecured and in sight, and please call 911 immediately if you see anything suspicious. One neighbor was threatened with a stick. Police are aware of all incidents and took three teens away in handcuffs Sunday. If you had two bikes stolen yesterday, please call the Northern District at (410) 396-2455.

So. Bitchin! Remember in the Wire when Marlo gives Maurice Levy the number for his personal 'burner'? Call the number (410-915-0909), get treated to Jamie Hector delivering some of Marlo's greatest lines.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Omar's comin

Michael Kenneth Williams to give a free talk tonight at Morgan State, reports the Brew

Jury in Ken Harris case deadlocked, ordered to keep deliberating


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And a man and a woman shot last night on Claflin Ct. in Cherry Hill, the woman was shot in the back and died at Shock Trauma

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