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Guest Opinion: What #BaltimoreUprising means for Palo Alto

 

In the aftermath of Freddie Gray's death in the back of a police van while handcuffed and shackled, Baltimore teenagers, tired of being targeted, took to the city's streets on the afternoon of Monday, April 27. Some were accused of breaking into stores and stealing, other accused of throwing rocks at the police (who threw rocks back). As the protest against yet another instance of black murder by cop intensified, Twitter users coined the hashtag #BaltimoreUprising.

The Baltimore city police commissioner hailed one mother's actions that day, when she physically disciplined her teenage son for participating in the protests. He "wish[ed he had more parents who took charge of their kids tonight," turning what was Toya Graham's fear that her son would become another Freddie Gray into an indictment of all other black parents who were supposedly unable to control their children.

The hypocrisy of his words was all too apparent: Surely Freddie Gray's parents wished the police commissioner had control of his officers the night Freddie died. No matter how much property damage the multi-day protest caused, it pales to the cost of Baltimore's police conduct problem; since 2011, Baltimore has paid more than $5 million to victims of police brutality.

But what does #BaltimoreUprising mean for Palo Alto? Palo Alto is not Baltimore. And while statistics on police-involved shootings are notoriously hard to come by for any police department, never, in the eight years I've lived here, have I heard of a police shooting here.

But the fear apparent in Ms. Graham's actions reflected a sentiment shared by black parents across the country, including here in Palo Alto.

Black parents must teach our children how to get along in this world as black, part of which is encapsulated in "The Talk." The Talk explains how to behave around the police when they are Driving or Walking or Playing While Black -- always be polite, say "yes, officer," follow directions to a T, keep your hands on the steering wheel or wall, out of your pockets, and move very slowly. Never argue with an officer. Never run from an officer. Failure to do any of those things could get you arrested.

Failure could get you killed.

Now, I admit, my fears of my sons being killed by the Palo Alto police are low. But I do fear the threat of other types of bias and prejudice. These threats on our physical and mental well-being -- micro-aggressions, as we sociologists call them -- stem from the same mentality that sees black bodies as less than fully deserving of compassion and respect when it comes to the police.

The findings of a recent experiment by Stanford University psychologists illustrates how black bodies are judged more harshly and are less likely to be afforded the benefit of the doubt than their nonblack counterparts. In the study, actual K-12 teachers were presented with details of misbehavior by a student. The researchers used names to suggest the race and gender of the student. Teachers were asked to rate, among other things, the severity of the punishment each child should receive for the misbehavior.

The results show that while teachers perceived similarly the first infraction by black boys and white boys, by the second infraction, teachers were more likely to see the black boys' behavior as indicative of a pattern of deviance. As a result, the teachers were more likely to see themselves suspending that black male student down the line.

While district-level data on school discipline is hard to find (and even harder to disaggregate by race), anecdotally, I constantly hear stories from black parents in this area that affirm the study's findings. There's the parent whose black son was pulled out of class by a truant officer who questioned him accusingly about why another chronically absent child was missing school. There's the parent whose second-grade black son was forced to write an apology letter for sexual harassment after he placed his hand in a girl's seat right before she sat down, an act that he intended to be funny, not threatening. (He's 7.) There are the parents who found themselves called to the school more than a few times because their kindergartener had a hard time sitting still on the carpet.

The perception of black bodies as troublesome is also felt outside of Palo Alto schools and into the streets of our suburb. A black high school boy was interrogated outside of his classroom by the managers of a nearby shop who claimed he stole something during his lunch break. (He did not.) A Caltrain conductor kicked a 12-year-old black boy, riding the train alone for the first time, off the train because he purchased the wrong ticket.

Despite his tears, his mother's pleading on the phone in an attempt to explain to the conductor what happened, and the fact that he was only one stop away from home, he was left crying at a station by himself. Every single black man I know that lives in Palo Alto has been pulled over by the police more than once.

So what does Baltimore mean for Palo Alto? A 2013 study found that, in comparison to white boys, black boys as young as 10 are perceived to be older than they are, guiltier of the crime of which they are accused, and more likely to encounter police force if accused of a crime.

My son will be 10 in six months.

Baltimore means that I see my child in Michael Brown, Freddie Gray and Tamir Rice, the last a 12-year-old boy with a toy gun shot dead by Cleveland police. I can see that if my son makes just one silly decision to get himself in trouble at school, his actions are going to be judged more harshly than those of his friends. If the mistake happens to be outside of school, that judgment just might turn violent.

So, even though those young men lost their lives many miles away and under different circumstances, I can still see their faces in Palo Alto. All I have to do is look into the face of my son.

LaToya Baldwin Clark is a lawyer, sociologist, and a child and parent advocate. She lives in Palo Alto, and two of her children attend school in the Palo Alto Unified School District.

Comments

16 people like this
Posted by Parent
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 5, 2015 at 7:49 am

I can't comment on how different an African American parent has to parent their child, but I do say that we should all teach our kids to be respectful of all adults as well as police officers. I think we should all teach more respect to teachers, Caltrain officials, or any person who is doing their job and is in authority over our kids. I think too many kids are disrespectful to authority.

These adults doing their jobs deserve our kids' respect and good manners regardless as to whether they are police, store clerks, or anything else. Teaching manners and respect to our kids is important, regardless of the color of their skin.

As I said, I can't speak from the point of view of other races, but I teach my kids that they need to be respectful to everyone and then they will be treated with respect by them. A simple "excuse me", "I'm sorry", "please" and "thankyou" used by young people can make a very big difference to the attitude of the adults they encounter. I teach my kids this and if I find them being disrespectful they have to listen to the talk once again.


22 people like this
Posted by James
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 5, 2015 at 9:47 am

My white son was stopped two times by the cops while in high school. He deserved each stop (and frisk). I got the late night phone call to come down to the arrest site (both in PA, but coming back from EPA clubs). He had been drinking and driving. He was not legally drunk, but still he had broken the law. Both times I asked the cops to arrest him and put him in jail for a night (at least). I was told that PA police do not do that unless provoked to do so; since he did not resist, and told the truth, it was considered a "teaching moment by (pissed off) parent". I told the cops that no lesson will be learned unless he has to pay the price. They told me that he was not legally drunk (<.05), so they refused to arrest him.

Now to race: On one of these incidents, his two black friends with him ran and got away...leaving him to take the rap. Both of his black friends lived in PA, and their families were much wealthier than ours. That was a seminal moment for my son...he finally realized that being cool and acting like he was from the 'hood', didn't cut it for his white ass. They were not his friends anymore, after that.

My son got the 'talk' several times, from me and my wife. He did as he was told (cooperate with police). His two black friends probably got the 'talk', too, but they wanted to rebel. [Portion removed.] Baltimore is a breakdown of the black respect for the law, and themselves. It is not a problem with the cops: Notice how bad it can get when the cops go passive?

[Portion removed.]


16 people like this
Posted by 38 year resident
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 5, 2015 at 10:12 am

[Portion removed.]

Having "The Talk" is something that all parents should do with their children regardless of color. Michael Brown would be alive today had he respected the officers instructions and moved from the middle of the street.

No one can deny that there is a disproportionate number of black men who are pulled over by police who may not have reasonable cause to do so, however no one can deny that there is also an extremely disproportionate number of black men who commit crimes relative to the population.

Perhaps, part of "The Talk" should include some time on obeying the laws that exist in this country so that you never put yourself in a position to be arrested. It may not end all of the unnecessary police stops, but I'm sure it would go a long way toward decreasing the odds. All Lives Matter.


2 people like this
Posted by JLS mom of 2
a resident of JLS Middle School
on Jun 5, 2015 at 10:52 am

JLS mom of 2 is a registered user.

[Portion removed.] Thank you very much for proving the very point that Dr. Baldwin Clark is making. On the plus side you are very unlikely to be shot in Palo Alto even if you are black as all that blood would mess up the jewel-encrusted sidewalks.

On the other hand, I do recall a Latino man shot to death on Stanford campus for looking in car windows.


10 people like this
Posted by Be Kind PA
a resident of JLS Middle School
on Jun 5, 2015 at 11:05 am

Be Kind PA is a registered user.

It's too bad there's no way to enforce a minimum education requirement for posting comments to this article. The quality of the dialogue would be much higher if people actually had an ounce of education on the topic Ms. Baldwin Clark has raised.

Thank you, Ms. Baldwin Clark, for an insightful and truthful look into a serious issue we have in this country.


18 people like this
Posted by rick
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 5, 2015 at 2:13 pm

rick is a registered user.

@ JLS mom, you forgot the part about that burglar on Stanford Avenue using his stolen BMW to ram and pin one of the officers.


2 people like this
Posted by JLS mom of 2
a resident of JLS Middle School
on Jun 5, 2015 at 10:13 pm

JLS mom of 2 is a registered user.

In the Pedro Calderon (age 20) case, the police saw an unarmed Latino man on Raimundo avenue and said that he "matched the description" of a burglery suspect. Meaning he was brown. He was looking in car windows. He may or may not have stolen a car or some stuff. Maybe he was a thief. That is not a capital crime. The officer tried to stop him and he did not stop but tried to drive away. She, according to news reports "dove into his car" through the window and grabbed the wheel to try to stop him from driving away. He tried to drive away and she got minor injuries to her leg when his car pinned her body which was hanging out the window, in to her car.

She responded by shooting him to death. Another officer also fired his gun.

So let's review. Calderon was not a killer. He was a petty thief and was driving a stolen car. He did not run up to her on Raimundo Ave and try to kill her. He did not see the officer standing on the street and try to pin her with his car or run her down. He was not sought in connection with a rape or a murder or an arson.

The police saw a brown man on campus, pulled him over, and then the officer dove headfirst into his car, got very very minor injuries in a scuffle when he failed to obey her instructions, and then she shot him to death.

He was unarmed.

Auto theft is not a capital crime. This was before #BaltimoreUprising or #ICan'tbreathe, or #HandsUpDon'tShoot or whatever. But 300 protestors turned out on campus to protest this police shooting of an unarmed brown man on campus.




12 people like this
Posted by Mike-Crescent Park
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 6, 2015 at 10:40 am

Mike-Crescent Park is a registered user.

Unfortunately Ms Clark twists facts and misstates incidents as she tries to make her case.

Interviews by CBS News of the mother who grabbed her 16 year old son quote her motivation. It was not only concern for her sons safety in the middle of a riot but also the mothers belief that vandalism and rioting are not what she wants her son doing.

What Ms Clark calls a "protest" whose economic devastation to Baltimore is enormous is clearly a riot and vandalism and looting. Ms Clark says "The hypocrisy of his words was all too apparent: Surely Freddie Gray's parents wished the police commissioner had control of his officers the night Freddie died. No matter how much property damage the multi-day protest caused, it pales to the cost of Baltimore's police conduct problem; since 2011, Baltimore has paid more than $5 million to victims of police brutality." This suggestion of who is really causing costs to Baltimore is just not true. The Baltimore Sun reports resulting property damage alone at over $8M with no current calculation yet of the total economic damage caused by the riots. It will go much much higher and with future economic impact to the city on businesses and people considering locating there.

Web Link

Whatever point Ms Clark wants to make, she is not helped by blatant misstatements and ignoring of facts.


9 people like this
Posted by Truth
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 6, 2015 at 12:07 pm

Truth is a registered user.


I’m not sure where Ms. Clark is from or what experiences have shaped her opinion in this fashion, but education is no replacement for experience.

My African American son and daughter was raise in Palo Alto, educated in Palo Alto and neither I nor they experienced a one moment of fearing the police.

We relocated here in 1999 from the South and I believe I know what real fear of people of all colors and the police looks like and feels like.

I realized that most things have gray areas in some variations, but my main fear since we moved to Palo Alto was while in their teenage years they would somehow visit East Palo Alto.

To all the people who comment blindly on this article you may not understand the truth (FACTS) of the situation in Ferguson Missouri or Baltimore.

Although I have learned one distinct thing while living in California if we want to place culpability or make justifications for any event I’m sure we can go all the way back to blame and link Christopher Columbus’ mother for any and all destructive events in our history.

Teresa


15 people like this
Posted by C Wilson George
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 6, 2015 at 1:50 pm

C Wilson George is a registered user.

[Portion removed.]

Our author writes:

“No matter how much property damage the multi-day
protest caused, it pales to the cost of Baltimore's police
conduct problem; since 2011, Baltimore has paid more than
$5 million to victims of police brutality.”

No, it doesn’t! The City of Baltimore is now estimating the cost of this protest is at $20M—a lot more than this author’s specious claims. [Portion removed.]

Our Author writes:

“Never argue with an officer. Never run from an officer.
Failure to do any of those things could get you arrested.”

This Palo Alto mother seems almost angry that her children (and all blacks) should have to act in a way that allows the police to do whatever job they have to do with as little unnecessary interaction with the person being stopped/detained. It probably will come as a great surprise to this woman that her prescription for how to act when detained by a police officer is valid for people of all races. It’s amazing how valuable common sense can be when liberally applied.

“Baltimore means that I see my child in Michael Brown,
Freddie Gray and Tamir Rice"

Michael Brown was killed trying to attack a police officer. Michael Brown could well have been trying to kill a police officer. Freddie Gray died in police custody. While six officers have been charged in his death, without a trial--we don’t know what happened. Tamir Rice was shot because he waved a bb-gun at a police officer, rather than dropping it as he was instructed. This was a tragic accident. There is no evidence that had the same situation occurred with a White youth, that the results would have been any different. One can only wonder what our Palo Alto mother sees in her children that comes close to these three?

It’s difficult to understand why this Palo Alto mother, and lawyer, seems to not see that criminality of those shot by police, was involved in two of her examples, and the Rice shooting, while certainly a tragedy, could have been avoided if the child had simply understood to put his bb-gun down on the ground. As written, this Palo Alto mother seems to be saying that the police are the problem here—not those who have created the initial situations. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

[Portion removed.]


8 people like this
Posted by Be Kind PA
a resident of JLS Middle School
on Jun 6, 2015 at 4:35 pm

Be Kind PA is a registered user.

It's clear some people are missing some of the points Ms. Baldwin Clark is making.

The facts that people need to do some research on include the disproportionate targeting of Blacks by police, and the more severe treatment they receive for similar infractions. It doesn't take a huge amount of effort to read up on the topic, but one has to be open-minded enough, and care enough, to actually do it. Just two examples:

Fourteen Examples of Racism in Criminal Justice System:
Web Link

Ten Ways Criminal Justice Is One Of The Great Civil Rights Crises Of Our Time:
Web Link

Freddie Gray was illegally arrested (the knife he had was legal), after being detained by police for no reason. He then died in police custody after police officers failed to secure him per department policy. There is no disputing those facts. The legal case is simply to determine of which criminal charges the officers will be convicted.

I'm not going to defend the Baltimore rioting, but when people are repressed long enough, a boiling point is reached. One need look no further than the Boston Tea Party for an example.


12 people like this
Posted by LaToya Baldwin Clark
a resident of Escondido School
on Jun 6, 2015 at 6:22 pm

LaToya Baldwin Clark is a registered user.

Thank you for your comments. I can't address everything that is written above, but I will do my best.

(1) First, the point of the article was not to say that I fear that my children will be killed by Palo Alto police. I say as much here: "And while statistics on police-involved shootings are notoriously hard to come by for any police department, never, in the eight years I've lived here, have I heard of a police shooting here." So the piece is not only about the extra-judicial killings by police, but about the assumptions that underlie those killings. Specifically, how society looks at and treats young black men. It's fascinating that we can even engage in a debate about this -- study after study shows that black children are judged more harshly for the same behavior of their white peers. That is a fact.

(2) The issue of the cost of the so-called "rioting" is an interesting one. The links provided by the various commenters refer to wildly different estimates - $8 million in one, $20 million in another. Nevertheless, the point is this -- no amount of money can bring back or truly compensate for a life. As the Atlantic wrote, summarizing a key point in the Baltimore Sun's coverage of police brutality: "$5.7 million is the amount the city paid to victims of brutality between 2011 and 2014. And as huge as that figure is, the more staggering number in the article is this one: "Over the past four years, more than 100 people have won court judgments or settlements related to allegations of brutality and civil-rights violations." What tiny percentage of the unjustly beaten win formal legal judgments?"

Web Link

In other words, $5.7 million is likely a fraction of what the judgments could have been had every case been zealously advocated. Furthermore, of those 100 people who have won judgments,

Furthermore, Baltimore has paid over $5 million defending those cases against police brutality, and have budgeted over $4 million for fiscal year 2015 alone to defend against more lawsuits. While it is true that some lawsuits will be frivolous, we know that many poor and low-income people -- likely those who are being brutalized -- have less access to legal representation in civil cases. So there are countless cases of police brutality that will simply never be adjudicated.

Therefore, whether the property damage is $8 million or $20 million -- the cost of police brutality almost surely vastly exceeds that amount.

(3) After I wrote this piece, the Guardian UK published the results of research and combing through police data for the first five months of 2015 that was previously unavailable. It shows that Black people killed by the police are TWICE as likely to be UNARMED at the time of death than white people killed by the police. A full 30% of black people killed by the police were unarmed, compared to only 15% of white people killed by the police. Thus, to say that the blame for black deaths by the hands of the police lies with the black "thugs" who create life-or-death situations for the police, means that you believe that unarmed black people are more dangerous than armed white people. I'm not sure how one can justify that belief in the light of this data.

(4) Lastly, on the particular case of Tamir Rice, the 12-year-old shot by the police. The person who called 911 reported a kid playing with what the caller believed to be a toy gun. TWO seconds after pulling up a few feet away from Tamir, an officer shot and killed the child. He was never instructed to put the gun down, and even if he was, he never had the time to do so.

Web Link

It's Tamir's case, and Tamir's face, that I can see in my son's face. It is the mountains of sociological evidence that show black boys are seen as criminals even when they've done nothing illegal. It's my legal training and knowledge that let me know that people most vulnerable to police injustice are also those with less access to the justice system.

Is every single case of a black person being killed by a police officer about race? Of course not. But that's not the point. Far too many of them are. And that's what scares me.


4 people like this
Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 6, 2015 at 10:01 pm

Craig Laughton is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


7 people like this
Posted by Be Kind PA
a resident of JLS Middle School
on Jun 6, 2015 at 10:31 pm

Be Kind PA is a registered user.

Craig,

Would you please cite some sources for your claims? And what did you think of the links I posted? Are you too busy, Craig, to read the statistics and provide an informed response? Is it easier, Craig, to ignore uncomfortable facts and instead just post non-facts?

Is this really the best you can do, Craig?


6 people like this
Posted by Skeptical
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 6, 2015 at 10:42 pm

Skeptical is a registered user.

"Let me just start with the Tamir Rice case. The kid was aiming a gun at the cop, when he showed up. Presumably the cop wanted to go home to his family that night. The cop shot first. What was the kid doing with a toy gun that was modified to look real? Where was the parental control? Why is the cop being blamed by LaToya? Why isn't she sympathetic to the cop?"

From what I have read, he did not wave anything at the police. The 911 call(s?) about him said he was waving a gun. From what I read the police told him to put his hands in the air... he supposedly reached to his waistband... and they shot him. So I don't believe the police even saw the gun, orange tip removed or not. The other disturbing thing is that apparently they did not attempt to administer any first aid.

I am not saying this to claim the police were right or wrong. I am just trying to clarify the facts.


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Posted by Be Kind PA
a resident of JLS Middle School
on Jun 6, 2015 at 11:43 pm

Be Kind PA is a registered user.

Yes, common police tactic is to claim the accused/victim did something that justified their action, after they realize they screwed up. The Blue Line.

Take a look at one of the most famous cases of egregious police mistakes, Harold Thomas. A decorated police officer who worked in one of the most prestigious anti-crime units in New York. He went out one night, and after doing nothing wrong, found himself having his head bashed against his hood and being arrested, for doing nothing other than looking "suspicious," despite his police ID. Here is a great article on Black police officers who fear for their own safety, because of their skin color, even among other (white) police officers:

Web Link

I support our police department, they do a fantastic job of keeping us safe, but not all police are good, and refusing to recognize that and correct the problem leads us into anarchy.


7 people like this
Posted by Sparty
a resident of another community
on Jun 7, 2015 at 1:55 am

Sparty is a registered user.

>On the other hand, I do recall a Latino man shot to death on Stanford campus for looking in car windows.


Ah yes, selective memory. Forgot that person "looking in car windows" was doing so at a time where several car break ins had occurred there on Stanford Ave. And that the person shot matched a description of someone who had been doing those car break ins. And that the Stanford deputy called in to PAPD for backup...and the suspect tried to pin the PA officer between two cars.

And... the car the suspect was driving was stolen off a driveway. The driveway that belonged to a woman who had been carjacked for her other car at the Redwood City Target.

Not to mention after being stolen, that car was involved in kidnappings and other carjackings.


5 people like this
Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 7, 2015 at 7:41 am

Craig Laughton is a registered user.

>From what I have read, he did not wave anything at the police. The 911 call(s?) about him said he was waving a gun. From what I read the police told him to put his hands in the air... he supposedly reached to his waistband... and they shot him

Skeptical, you are correct. I was relying on initial reports I had heard (should have done my homework). However, it doesn't alter the basic story...or the response by the police. The perp was reported on 911 calls to be waving a pistol at people nearby...this is the information that the cops had. He went for his waistband, where his gun was, and one of the cops shot him. The perp was 195 lbs., and looked to be a serious deal to the cops, assuming they did not want to get shot. Seems like a justified police use of force to me.

A more fundamental question is: What was the perp doing with a toy pistol, modified to look like a real gun? When I was a kid, I was never allowed to play with toy guns that looked anything like the real thing...and I was always told to never point toy guns at the police or any other unaware people. The bottom line, at least to me, is the Tamir Rice case should not be used as an example of some type of police war on black people. Of course, the Brown case in Ferguson was used in this way, so it is not a surprise. The main issue is not police misconduct, it is black criminality (and the main victims are black people). Where is the outrage on the part of those like of LaToya?


4 people like this
Posted by Skeptical
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 7, 2015 at 10:14 am

Skeptical is a registered user.

The Tamir Rice case and the Michael Brown case are not in the same category. Tamir Rice did absolutely nothing wrong, except play with a toy that had the orange tip removed(apparently not by him).

The 911 callers allegedly said he was, possibly a juvenile waiving a, possibly, fake gun. Maybe the dispatcher did not forward those facts to the officers, I don't know.

The disturbing part is the speed at which he was shot. The other guy's partner did not even get a chance to open his door before Tamir was shot. And then after doing that, they did not attempt to render aid. I can see why a reasonable person might conclude that the police do not value the lives of black people.

I am not one to jump up every time a black person is shot and claim it is police brutality or racism; however, I am also not one who thinks that police are Gods and can do no wrong. The police have a difficult job to do, no doubt about that.

I do have a problem with people trying to defend the police by trying to tear down the victim. And yes, Tamir was a victim in this case. And you are engaging in the same tactic by referring to him a a 'perp' and saying he is waving the gun at police. As far as I have read, the *kid* did nothing wrong(and he may have weighed 180 pounds, but he was still a kid).


4 people like this
Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 7, 2015 at 11:04 am

Craig Laughton is a registered user.

>The Tamir Rice case and the Michael Brown case are not in the same category

Their crimes were different, a lot different, but the reaction to their interaction with police are quite similar...especially to people like LaToya ("Baltimore means that I see my child in Michael Brown, Freddie Gray and Tamir Rice"). It is one aspect of the mindset of victimization by the black community. The black, inner city main issue, with respect to law enforcement, is criminality by blacks, not the police. [Portion removed.]


3 people like this
Posted by Skeptical
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 7, 2015 at 12:10 pm

Skeptical is a registered user.

You are doing the same thing again! In the Tamir Rice case there was *no* crime as far as I can tell.

I agree that people cry racism too quickly on cases. But I also believe there *are* cases which are egregious and which the police overstep, and people on the opposite side want to throw the egregious cases in along with the bogus cases and paint them all with the same brush to diminish any possible problem.

You can't see a video like that South(?) Carolina man who was running away from the cop and he shot him in the back and think there is not something seriously wrong.


5 people like this
Posted by Be Kind PA
a resident of JLS Middle School
on Jun 7, 2015 at 12:37 pm

Be Kind PA is a registered user.

I see Craig is going to ignore the inconvenient truths that show how wrong he is.

Fourteen Examples of Racism in Criminal Justice System:
Web Link

Ten Ways Criminal Justice Is One Of The Great Civil Rights Crises Of Our Time:
Web Link


1 person likes this
Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 7, 2015 at 1:20 pm

Craig Laughton is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


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Posted by Skeptical
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 7, 2015 at 2:03 pm

Skeptical is a registered user.

I don't think the claim of illegal arrest can be made in the Freddie gray case based on my understanding of the law. He did have a knife. In retrospect the knife might not be illegal(last I read they were debating that), but I believe that if the officers in good faith briefed it was illegal then they were justified in arresting him.

I have a big problem with their actions on the way to the station. Not securing him. Probably giving him a 'rough ride', which they have been sued for in the past. And then after injuring him not getting medical attention.


2 people like this
Posted by Be Kind PA
a resident of JLS Middle School
on Jun 8, 2015 at 12:56 am

Be Kind PA is a registered user.

We'll see whether the courts decide Freddie Gray's arrest was illegal or not, but articles like this one lean heavily toward it being not legal:

Web Link

I find it amazing that police can pursue someone and search them simply because they made eye contact and then appeared to flee. How do the police prove the person fled upon making eye contact? It doesn't appear witnesses are necessary, so it seems the only thing cops need to do is claim a suspect fled after they looked at him and he is fair game to be detained and searched, and then arrested for a legal knife. Once arrested, the police can fail to follow department procedures and kill the innocent person in the back of the police van.

And a human being is now dead, because a couple of cops claim they looked at and he ran.

A ridiculous amount of money is now being spent to prosecute a biased system and rogue cops.

Based on the outcome, is it really any surprise someone might run when he saw police looking his way?


1 person likes this
Posted by Skeptical
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 8, 2015 at 10:55 am

Skeptical is a registered user.

"I find it amazing that police can pursue someone and search them simply because they made eye contact and then appeared to flee. How do the police prove the person fled upon making eye contact? It doesn't appear witnesses are necessary, so it seems the only thing cops need to do is claim a suspect fled after they looked at him and he is fair game to be detained and searched, and then arrested for a legal knife. Once arrested, the police can fail to follow department procedures and kill the innocent person in the back of the police van."

I am sorry I cannot see the link(I have to sign up for something). If what you wrote were true then there would be an issue, but I think you a confusing a few facts.

So having not read that article, and not being a lawyer, and missing some key facts will not prevent me from talking anyway:)

I would divide this up into two parts. Should the police have been allowed to run after him and search him, and then based on the knife should they be allowed to arrest him.

I am going to make a few assumptions in this note so be warned:)

First, I think that the police have to right to pursue you, detain you, and question you if they think you looked at them and ran as a result of seeing them. I think there was even a Supreme Court case on this. They cannot arrest you for it. I am not sure if they are allowed to search you or not, but I would think they would not be allowed to just on the basis of fleeing.

Now here is an assumption... I think I read that Freddie had a police record and convictions. Now if he was out on parole/probation(I am not sure if there is a difference in those two) I believe as a condition you generally agree to waive your rights in regards to searches. Pretty much the police can search you at any time and with no warrant and with not even a suspicion of wrongdoing. So *if* that were the case then the police were within their legal rights.

When you say the arrest was illegal... now that to me implies that the arresting officers broke the law. I think if they found that knife, and reasonably believed that it was illegal(it doesn't have to be illegal in the end-- that is for the court to decide) then they are legally justified in arresting him. Whether or not in the end the knife is ruled to be legal/illegal does not make the officers involved in the arrest criminals or not. If they reasonably believed it to be illegal then I believe they are covered. The arrest may be thrown out and any evidence collected as a result of the arrest may be thrown out, but there is no legal issue with the police. Of course if he was not on probation then this all goes out the window.

Of course the police should be held accountable for everything that happened in the van and they will. And the City of Baltimore will pay a lot of money to Freddie's family as a result. No small consolation but someone will be held accountable.


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Posted by Jerry99
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 10, 2015 at 11:43 am

Jerry99 is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


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Posted by C Wilson George
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 10, 2015 at 12:38 pm

C Wilson George is a registered user.

The estimate for the damage to the downtown Baltimore area has been officially estimated at $20M. Since this amount does not include the private loses, it’s hard to believe that if all of these amounts were known to the public the total cost would exceed $50M.

Web Link

The $20 million estimate released by city officials does not include the cost to businesses of the unrest. The figure also does not include state or federal costs. It's unclear when those figures will be tallied.
---

As someone who has actually lived in Baltimore for a time, and in Palo Alto for a bit longer—there is no way that anyone can create parallels between the two cities. When I lived in that city, there was at least one to four murders a night. People walking down the street were shot—with most being killed—and the perpetrators would then rifle through their belongings, taking what they wanted, and then walked away from the body. That level of crime does not exist here, in Palo Alto.

Palo Alto has a very small number of recorded murders, per year. The murders that do occur often involve people who know each other, allowing the Palo Alto Police to solve those crimes. Palo Alto did have two murders many years ago (David Kay and Maria Hsiao). When those responsible in the Kay murder were identified—they were not Palo Alto residents. The Hsiao shooting is still unsolved.

The Baltimore Sun has recently reported that Baltimore ranks number five in the US for murders:

Web Link

These murders are not the result of police killing Blacks—they are the result of Blacks killing Blacks. It’s so very interesting that few Black activists in the US seem to have noticed these horrific statistics. Somehow, the Freddie Gray death is all that matters to them.

[Portion removed.]


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Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 10, 2015 at 12:58 pm

Craig Laughton is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


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Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 10, 2015 at 1:19 pm

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

[Portion removed.]

Palo Alto is not an industrial city with a major port and blocks of boarded up buildings. Palo Alto is 26 square miles and has a totally different economy than Baltimore.

Maryland has a black governor. Baltimore has a black mayor, black chief of police, both of which took no action during the riots which allowed people to loot and totally destroy sections of the city.

So why is this lengthy article missing some key information?


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Posted by LaToya Baldwin Clark
a resident of Escondido School
on Jun 10, 2015 at 1:32 pm

LaToya Baldwin Clark is a registered user.

I'm afraid that the comments on my piece have diverted from the basic point, which is clearly stated here:

"But what does #BaltimoreUprising mean for Palo Alto? Palo Alto is not Baltimore. And while statistics on police-involved shootings are notoriously hard to come by for any police department, never, in the eight years I've lived here, have I heard of a police shooting here.

But the fear apparent in Ms. Graham's actions reflected a sentiment shared by black parents across the country, including here in Palo Alto.

Black parents must teach our children how to get along in this world as black, part of which is encapsulated in "The Talk." The Talk explains how to behave around the police when they are Driving or Walking or Playing While Black — always be polite, say "yes, officer," follow directions to a T, keep your hands on the steering wheel or wall, out of your pockets, and move very slowly. Never argue with an officer. Never run from an officer. Failure to do any of those things could get you arrested.

Failure could get you killed.

Now, I admit, my fears of my sons being killed by the Palo Alto police are low. But I do fear the threat of other types of bias and prejudice. These threats on our physical and mental well-being — micro-aggressions, as we sociologists call them — stem from the same mentality that sees black bodies as less than fully deserving of compassion and respect when it comes to the police."

Above, I clearly state three things: (1) Palo Alto is not Baltimore; (2) I'm not afraid that my son will be shot by the police in Palo Alto (although, nothing is impossible); and (3) the sentiment behind these police actions is one where black bodies are less deserving of compassion and respect.

My argument is that the same beliefs and biases that motivate police misconduct toward black people are also apparent in other situations involving black children, situations that have absolutely occurred here in Palo Alto. I know this because I've interviewed many black Palo Altan parents, who live in Palo Alto, and whose children have been mistreated. We have a new Minority Achievement and Talent Development taskforce whose recent report details how parents of black and Latino children have been disrespected and their children treated in a discriminatory and biased manner. These are not isolated stories.

Web Link

The issue of "black-on-black crime" is irrelevant to accusations of police misconduct. The police are government employees, part of a justice system that includes prosecutors, juries, judges and lawyers. To equate people killing each other to state-sponsored -- or state-sanctioned -- violence is both morally wrong and logically wrong. The police cannot behave as judge, jury, and executioner -- that is not their role. The police alone do not have the right to sentence people to death or grave bodily harm, and that is especially true when a person has not committed any crime.

I'm bowing out of this conversation after this comment because I'm disappointed in the turn it's taken. But, since some may be more interested in other tales of violence against black children, I suggest you Google "McKinney Texas Pool Party" and/or watch the HBO documentary "Southern Rites" for more perspectives on this issue.

Thank you for reading.


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Posted by Be Kind PA
a resident of JLS Middle School
on Jun 10, 2015 at 1:51 pm

Be Kind PA is a registered user.

Thank you, Ms. Baldwin Clark, for eloquently correcting the irrelevant and distracting comments on this thread. It's too bad that people are either incapable or unwilling to think objectively about what you wrote rather than use this forum to disrespectfully and inaccurately represent your points. Unfortunately, it's a very common tactic on this forum.

A lot of intelligent people read this forum but don't have time or patience to respond. I'm certain that most people understand your actual point and are simply dismissing the usual suspects that dominate every post of this forum.

You did make a difference in your post, and made intelligent people think. Thank you for that.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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