More Arrests like this Please

After reading about the insane number of unnecessary and ineffective arrests there were in Maryland last year, the news that a a coordinated police action in Maryland and New Jersey netted nearly 200 arrests that, at least at this point, seem extremely worthwhile.
Over 80% of the
fugitives arrested were wanted for violent crimes or had prior convictions
or arrests for violent crimes. As part of the arrests announced today, more
than 323 cases have now been closed. In addition, Operation
FALCON-Baltimore also resulted in at least 24 gang-related arrests and the
arrests of four of Baltimore's Most Wanted fugitives.

This is a definitely preferable to the zero-tolerance approach once championed in Baltimore by our current Governor.

I would be curious to know how many of those arrested had some sort of connection to the illegal drug trade.

Erasing the Stain of Overzealous Policing

This figure from the Sun today is frightening. Over 21,000 people were arrested in Maryland last year but were never charged. Let me clarify, over 20,000 innocent people were arrested last year in Maryland, assuming you believe that whole "innocent until proven guilty" hoopla.

The problem is, lots and lots of people DO NOT believe this basic tenet of American Justice, and when they see an arrest record on a job application, they wince, whether indictments were brought and time was served or not. So 20,000 innocent people are now at an employment disadvantage, in some cases, for doing nothing more that being in the wrong place at the wrong time (and possibly being the wrong color).

I hope this bill passes, and whether it does or not, it should serve as a lesson to Maryland's police that their "arrest now, ask questions later" strategy is a failed one.


Calling All Maryland Progressives

We have a new home at the new and improved FREE STATE POLITICS! The site will only be worthwhile if as many people as possible get on and participate, so go sign up and get in on the future of the progressive blogosphere in Maryland.


NAACP President Steps Down

Some bloggers are calling this a crisis in Black Leadership. I am inclined to agree, only because of the reason Mr. Gordon chose to step down.

He wanted to move the NAACP into the 21st century, and the NAACP refused to follow.
Gordon also clashed with board members on his vision for the organization, the source said. Where board members wanted to retain social justice activities, Gordon wanted to implement social service efforts, including programs to help African-Americans build wealth, the source said.

Now, its not really my place to criticize the NAACP, so I will try to keep it to a minimum. Apparently, Mr. Gordon's corporate attitude didn't gybe with the civil-rights activist culture at the group. Some in Maryland criticized Gordonfor leading the charge to move the NAACP out of Baltimore to the DC suburbs. Perhaps Mr. Gordon's willingness to make large changes to move the organization forward was what caused the conflict.

Gordon was also apparently trying to move the organization to include public service and assisting in minority business development. The board of the NAACP wanted to remain primarily a social-justice organization. This is where I see the major problem. I am concerned about the relevancy of the NAACP in an ever changing world, one where the power of single issue interest groups is waning and the power of the grassroots over the internet is growing. The Social Justice approach is important, and the NAACP must remain an advocate for the rights of Blacks. However, the NAACP must also be willing to change and to grow in the ways that the community demands. I don't see how it could be a bad thing for the NAACP to expand into realms such as public service and minority business development.

What is most troubling is that the NAACP seems to be rejecting grassroots organizational tools like public service and business development. Now is not the time in history for the NAACP to constricting their mission.

Bowling Brook Death Ruled Homicide

The news just gets worse and worse when it comes to juvenile detention in Maryland. The Sun is reporting that the death of Isaiah Simmons III has been classified as a homocide.
"The medical examiner's office told us the manner of death was homicide, and the cause of death was sudden death by restraint," said Danielle Carter, the sister of the dead youth, Isaiah Simmons of East Baltimore. "That's all we have so far. They haven't released a full report to us yet."

A medical examiner's ruling that a death was a homicide does not mean a crime has been committed, but that a person has died as a result of the actions of another person or people. It is the responsibility of the state's attorney's office to determine if criminal charges are warranted
This is just one more example of the terrible conditions at our correctional facilities throughout the state, but specifically at juvenile centers. This is especially troubling because it is juvenile criminals in which society places the majority of our hope for rehabilitation. When the conditions are out of control like this, its makes one question whether our juvenile justice system is truly serving the interests of the people.

Adam Meister's Campaign gets Going

Adam Meister is running for City Council in District 11, the district that will be/could be has been vacated by Keiffer Mitchell due to his Mayoral run. I am not in the 11th district, but I am interested in Meister's candidacy because of it's grassroots nature. I would like to see more on the issue/policy side of Meister's site, which is admittedly in it's infancy.