Tuesday, December 15, 2015

They're Gonna Burn Down the Zoo!

National eyeballs are upon our fair city again as we wait for the verdict in the trail of officer William Porter, charged with involuntary manslaughter, second-degree assault, misconduct in office and reckless endangerment. There's scant precedent (in Baltimore or anywhere) for an officer to be criminally charged with reckless endangerment, and even Warren A. Brown says the evidence isn't there.*

The prosecution (Jayne Miller's girlfriend and retired Venable partner Michael Schatzow) presented no witness who said Porter's actions were unreasonable, a former BPD commander said that their orders were closer to "guiding principles" (a indictment of the BPD, to be sure). There's no agreement when and how Gray incurred his fatal injury, much less that Porter had an "evil motive." 

So, what have we learned since April? We still don't know who gave the order to stop bus service at Mondawmin, though we know more about the BPD "major shortcomings"* that possibly incited the riots and definitely made them worse: an unclear chain of command, poor intelligence, a missing mayor and a police chief employing a passive- aggressive "stand down" strategy.

The riots were not just wilding in the streets but led to conceptual chaos also: we learned how the Crips, Bloods and BGF were actually the good guys, trying to keep the peace and save officers. Flaming liberals found themselves agreeing with the sentiments of right-wing conspiracy theorists. The categorical confusion seems epitomized in the case of Gregory Bailey/Butler, the alleged CVS hose-stabber who was revealed to be a Poly graduate who lost a $46k athletic scholarship because of the city schools' miscalculation of his GPA, an injustice would surely compel the grittiest Brietbart bootstrapper to open fire (and given the 290 mass-shootings in the U.S. since the riots, the stabbing of a fire hose in front of a burning CVS seems adorably picayune).

So, here we go again. County schools have cancelled all field trips to the city until the end of the week.* From April until now the state's spent about $35 million to keep former residents of West Baltimore in jail. The jurors are deliberating with bowls of candy.