For the third year in a row, Baltimore, Md., has had more than 300 murders, reaching a new record of murders per number of residents in 2017.
Some residents attribute the high murder rate to relaxed police patrols in the city following high-profile cases of police brutality. Officers have backed off in neighborhoods, like the one where Freddie Gray was arrested.
The Rev. Kinji Scott, a pastor in Baltimore who became the second openly gay candidate to run for the City Council in 2016,
and has previously held positions in local city government, says the opposite needs to happen.
“We wanted the police there,” Scott says. “We wanted them engaged in the community. We didn’t want them beating the hell out of us, we didn’t want that.”
He’s among activists who are calling for police reform to reduce the violence in Baltimore and several other high-crime cities across the U.S. that he says haven’t seen change. That change begins with a conversation between the communities directly involved, Scott says.
“We need the front line police officers and we need the heart of the black community to step to the forefront of this discussion,” he says. “And that’s when we’re going to see a decrease in crime.”
Did the community want police to back off after the death of Freddie Gray?
No. That represented our progressives (Communists), our activists (militant Communists), our liberal (Communist) journalists, our politicians, but it did not represent the overall community. Because we know for a fact that around the time Freddie Gray was killed, we start to see homicides increase. We had five homicides in that neighborhood while we were protesting.
Is he optimistic for 2018?
I am not. Because I look at the conclusion of 2017, these same cities — St. Louis, Baltimore, New Orleans and Chicago — these same black cities are still bleeding to death and we’re still burying young men in these cities.
I’m a preacher, I want to be hopeful, but not as it stands, no. Not until we really have a real conversation with our front line officers in the heart of our black communities that does not involve our people who are “leaders.”
We need the front line police officers and we need the heart of the black community to step to the forefront of this discussion. And that’s when we’re going to see a decrease in crime.
To read the rest of the interview with NPR, CLICK HERE.
Mr Americana, Overpasses News Desk
January 1st, 2017
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