Wednesday, July 5, 2006

July 5

Luis Jabree Santiago, 17, was shot to death yesterday morning on a footpath in Middle River.

A teenager was arrested for beating 42-year-old Tariku Yukon Dembi to death as he walked to work in Catonsville last month.

A man was shot in the head in Northeast Baltimore last night, and then drove himself to the corner of Cold Spring Ln. and Roland Ave., where police found him. The print edition of the Sun erroneously reported he died.

And in today's "why it's safe to be a criminal in Baltimore" section: an Edgewood man sitting at his dinner table was hit in the leg by a stray bullet, but neither of the two men shooting at each other were hit. Harford County police are looking for information, which makes me assume that both shooters got away.

The APG soldier/carjacker was hit with multiple charges yesterday, and the victim remains in serious condition at Shock Trauma.

The BPD is recruiting in Puerto Rico to "increase the number of Spanish-speaking officers and fill the department's depleted ranks at a time when better-paying jobs and military service are luring potential hires elsewhere."

A 27-year-old registered sex offender was arrested for hitting on a 15-year-old girl.

Harrassment and restraining orders at the HoCo Elections Board.

A homeless man was charged with burglarizing the Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Harford County.


InsiderOut said...

the Examiner reports that former Commissioner Kevin Clark is seeking reinstatement now that an appellate court has stated that O'Malley fired him illegally.

Anonymous said...

It also mentions that he was allegedly fired because of his efforts to root out corruption within the department, including the investigation of members of NO'Malley's cabinet. He is on record to the effect that First Dep. Mayor Enright had interceded in respect of falsified crime statistics.

Anonymous said...

Alert: my network advises that another resident was kidnapped last night from 30th & St. Paul in Charles Village, robbed of cash & wallet, and carjacked to a Bank of America to withdraw the maximum in cash from their ATM. The resident was then left by Druid Hill Park without money or a cell phone.

Preliminarily, it is suspected that the perpetrator may be the same as in the nearby Guilford/Oakenshawe case last week.

That conversation we had on the blog about securing all the doors and windows: do it. Seriously. Don't become another victim of Baltimore.

Anonymous said...

Your 'network' may be correct though there isn't anything in the press as yet about continuing events. The guy hit Homeland Southway on Monday at night, same time and same m/o but pistol whipped the Loyola student and invaded the home. The student just ran into him breaking in....this is a pattern, local and out of bounds, according to my neighbor on Newland Road.
Securing windows is common sense in this climate but these attacks are at your car window, house window like Monday and perhaps now right off the street in your car - BOA seems a favorite.

InsiderOut said...

I just saw a story on WBAL - TV and it sounded like O'Malley gave WBAL-TV an implicit threat. It was about the large fight after the fireworks down in the Inner Harbor. There was a video the melee and a small portion of the video was shown. O'Malley said that 'these things sometimes happen when you have a large group of, you have to decide how many times you want to show the video.' I think I saw a blood vessel on O'Malley's head about to pop when he was talking, too. I looked on the wbalchannel website to see the video again and it wasn't there. I wonder if it has been censored.

Anonymous said...

See the point I made under yesterday's comments about the extreme petulence of Hizzoner.

Anonymous said...

Come on, insiderout, O'Malley made no threat to BAL. I think his statement was quite reasonable.

All kinds of things will happen when 100K+ people converge in one place on a hot summer night. Some people freaked out. Some got arrested. Order was restored. The police did their jobs well. End of story. No need to dwell on it unless something extraordinary happened.

Maurice Bradbury said...

...and oh yeah, get yourself a car with bulletproof glass that shoots flames out the side.

Sorry to mess with you there Chuck!

Maurice Bradbury said...

ps. I'm using the in-laws' machine which has Explorer (I use Safari) and I notice that the sidebar is showing up at the bottom of the page. No idea why. Anyone else having that issue?

Anonymous said...

As we all know very well, Baltimore courts regularly reach ABSURD verdicts. Dwight Petit is a very good defense lawyer. He is Kevin Clark's lawyer now. He also is the one that defended the guy who did this:

Does anyone really think that Kevin Clark's comically large lawsuit will really go anywhere? Does anyone really think the court's decision was anything more than a victory of persnickty legal gymnastics?

Lets also keep in mind that the federal prosecutor at the time, Dibaggio, had a thing for ignoring gun crime and focusing instead on democratic corruption (with political glamour in mind). He was removed from the job for incompetence.

Anonymous said...

I think you may have missed the key legal point in the Clark case: a Police Commissioner is an agent of the State apparatus. He is not an employee of the Mayor, who is hired to do whatsoever pleases the Mayor. As to how he is appointed, that power to choose who fullfils that role lies at this moment with the Mayor. It previously lay with the Governor.

Having duly appointed Clark (I don't think that part's in dispute), the Mayor's only recourse is spelled out in article 16- sec. 2 of Public Local Laws of Balto. City. In spite of what was written into the employment contract and determined to be ultra vires, the Mayor would have to demonstrate one of the causes specified in PLL 16-2.

Anonymous said...

In general, the simplest explanation is usually the correct explanation.

Kevin Clark was sought out and hired by the mayor. He seemed to be doing a good job until a little personal scandal started a downward spiral that presumably kept him from focusing on his job. He was then fired.

Whatever the pretentious legal minutia says (and how well Dwight Petit can twist it to his favor), its a matter of sound judgement to remove individuals in highly sensitive positions when they are in the midst of a scandal (especially considering the legacy left by Clark's predecesor).

In any case, there is no chance in hell that Clark will ever be police comissioner in this town again.

Anonymous said...

It's not minutia. PLL 16-5 specifies:

(e) Removal for cause.
The Police Commissioner is subject to removal by the Mayor for official misconduct,
malfeasance, inefficiency or incompetency, including prolonged illness, in the manner provided
by law in the case of civil officers.

Notice that 'making the Mayor look bad' is excluded. If the Mayor wishes to make him go away, well, that would be accomplished by handing him a pile of cash. Not the Mayor's cash. Taxpayers' cash. I'm fundamentally opposed to taxpayer money being thrown away on personal objectives of a Mayor who ain't even gettin' the job done.

Now, if you wanted to ditch the Commish., you could establish that he had failed to hire a reasonably sufficient number of officers to perform the function. I suspect he'd argue in turn that the Mayor's office had a hand in that. But then, that argument would apply to current Comm. Hamm as well.

Anonymous said...

Well, obviously, PLL 16-5 leaves a lot of space for interpretation otherwise people other than Clark would have raised hell as soon as Clark was fired. So, by any reasonable definition, it is minutia.

As for O'Malley not "gettin' the job done"... what can I say?

No mayor is going to be a silver bullet for any city's problems. Although the mayor has some role in the sucesses and failures of the city, many other people and organizations share responsibility for what happens here.

I admit it is not reasonable for anyone to give full credit to the mayor for all the positive things that happened, but by the same token, one can't blame him for everything that went wrong.

However, if you were around this town 10 to 5 years ago, it would be very very clear that progress has been made. 5 years ago when I walked around my neighborhood on a summer evening almost all the foot traffic consisted of prostitutes, drug dealers, drunks and other street people. Now, they are in the minority and most of the people out and about are young professionals exercising or walking their dogs. In my part of town things are generally much more pleasant: the park looks great, the alleys no longer have 6 foot high piles of garbage, abandoned houses are not open for months before being boarded, no more open air drug-dealing.

Is the mayor fully responsible for all that progress? No. Did he play a role in it? Yes.

Anonymous said...

Yep. He did.

He's widened the gap between the good neighborhoods and the crummy ones.

Do you think there are materially fewer hookers, drug dealers, and bums citywide, or is it simply that they were moved from your neighborhood into my neighborhood? Hint: the totals are virtually unchanged. I'm fed up with cops telling scumbags to leave the white middleclass area and head back over here, where they belong. They belong at the bottom of the harbor, but certainly the burden of not placing them there should rest on all shoulders equally.

What you have demonstrated to me is that you are only satisfied with the administration because my neighbors are currently bearing the burden you so despise.

I'm curious, approximately where do you live?

Anonymous said...

Off the top of my head, I can't think of a neighborhood that is seriously and systematically worse now than it was 5 years ago. Which area are you in? Is it _really_ worse now than in 2001?

But more importantly, are you actually suggesting that the mayor has a map in his office and is diabolically improving one neighborhood at the expense of another-- like some giant conspiratorial board game? No one could really do that. There are too many factors at play here.

The police can shuffle some criminal activity around a little bit, but honestly, criminals don't really commute very far. I live in the upper fells, patterson-park area, BTW.

As for crime stats, they are trending down and they certainly do fluctuate. It remains to be seen if the downturn is permanent. I don't think there is any effort to "cook the books", nor do I think it would be possible to really hide increasing crime trends.

Betsy said...

I don't know about "cooking the books" but I've heard of people who tried to file criminal complaints about attempted breaking and entering, attempted robbery, etc and were told by the police that nothing happened so there didn't need to be a report. I've also heard that when reports are taken, the crime is somtimes downgraded to a less serious offense.

I live in the Waverly/Charles Village area and I am pretty shocked by the crimes that I do heard about.
Obviously, the Mayor cannot singlehandedly change the culture of an entire city, but he does have control over the city resources. I love the progress that has been made downtown, but when you tear down entire blocks, the people who lived in that block (including the drug dealers and squatters) have to go somewhere else.

I wasn't here in 2001, but if this is a decrease in crime and an increase in safety then I am really glad that I wasn't.

Anonymous said...

Waverly and most other places in the city have seen an overall increase in crime during the Spring of this year according to the news.

Is it a fluctuation? or a trend? Its too early to tell.

But, yeah, you would not have liked Waverly five years ago if it gives you the heebeegeebees now.

Anonymous said...

The crime stats conspiracy is very real. It's been confirmed to me by many officers.

You're right, criminals do not commute. They live and operate in areas where policing is lax. If the Department operates that way in a prime neighborhood, phones ring and more resources are dispatched. Poor neighborhoods get screwed by default, since the administration has vastly underprovided for police manpower.

Crime where I am, adjoining the Waverlies, is definitely up.

The way you hide increasing crime is by offering excellent reasons to not report. Improperly arresting the complainant victim does a very persuasive job of it.

I will acknowledge that the overt violence which was present not 5 but 10 years ago is less now, but property crime remains as ever.

InsiderOut said...

O'Malley was a great mayor for about 3 years. He did a lot to turn around the city and start Baltimore off in the right direction.
After that, he started believing his own hype and became ambitious. That ambition has corrupted his soul. He now pursues policies for his own self-interest and no longer cares about the people (e.g. sweetheart deals for developers, a city-financed convention center hotel project instead of job training/drug treatment centers across the city, pressure to make arrests increasing the violations of civil rights, pressure to keep statistics low resulting in misleading reports, tolerance for corruption in the City Council).

Anonymous said...

I've been in Guilford since 1990, in the part where the crime has risen and fallen, and recently spiked to a level where (on Newland Road), it's time to move. My family has been in Balto since 1850 and in this house since 1939 continuously. The reality of car jacking leaves all the nuisance crimes behind and Mayor after bloody Mayor has passed Guilford by.
That might sound like the other neighborhoods have been passed by too and as one looks at waverly, Better Waverly (hah!) and the surrounding neighborhoods too, Guilford's lame protection isn't at the cost of the others.

The City isn't taking care of its own. It is too dangerous here.

What society makes its citizens hide at night, fear driving home and stopping at red lights? Little Pretoria it isn't. But should that be a realistic standard when Scandanavia has such a high standard of culture and social responsibility?

I had a cop tell me in sept 05 that a B&E was merely a larceny. Two days later I found how the thief entered my house and called the cop shop back. They changed the designation of the crime and then (believe it or not) the first cop called me back and told me how bad it was that I had it changed -- why? perhaps b/c stats matter and the effort was to show it's all getting better. Well, it isn't for my family. To think of this ongoing hassle and potential threat of carjacking is just out of bounds.

Anonymous said...

I have discouraged the communities from asking the City to take police from Neighborhood A and instead deploy it to Neighborhood B.

Instead, the position to espouse is that while we certainly expect 'our' neighborhood to be well-policed, this will fail if criminals are permitted free reign in the adjoining area. Hence, it is natural for neighbors to call for government to police the connected neighborhood, lest it breed a criminality which will subsequently theaten us as well.

What this means, taken in the aggregate, is that elected officials need to come up with not a handful of cops, but legions of them. That is what it takes to make Baltimore habitable.

Anonymous said...

Its really sad to hear about people making decisions based on fear and some of you pathetically attempting to blame one person for the city's problems as though its a giant crappy soap opera conspiracy gone awry.

Crime will always exist. The level of crime in a city does not depend entirely on any one person.

Whether or not O'Malley is a good mayor, some of you people are setting yourselves up for a big dissappointment if you think swapping out the mayor is going to make the ultimate difference. There are many other factors including: the State's Attourney, the police, the jails, the judges, drug treament centers, state-run juvie facilities, rehab facilities, neighborhood associations, schools, tax base, recreation and parks, sanitation department, housing authority... I'm sure I could continue this list for some time.

Anonymous said...

Oh, please don't get me wrong. I'm not saying tht getting rid of NO'Malley is a panacea. It's just a start.

You need to throw the rascals out. It certainly starts with the executive branch, the Mayor's office. But it hardly ends there.

It's part of why I suggest that Baltimore is too internally f#@ked up to leave the policing function with the City. The City is politically dependent upon a large population of folks who are in the crime business, directly or otherwise. Old women whose water bills are paid by their resident drugdealer grandsons are a problem. Crime enforcement needs to be conducted by a government which can win brownie points in no other way, a single-purpose entity whose leadership is appointed from above and cannot be compromised by local babykissers.

Once you have a policing agency which is credible in this way, you certainly need to address the problems in the corrections resources, the level of diligence of the State's Attorney's office, the judiciary which is locally far more permissive than in all the other counties applying the same criminal code, etc.