May 31, 2015

O'Malley's big problem

Kira Lerner, Think Progress -  As mayor of Baltimore from 1999 to 2007, O’Malley instated a “broken windows”-style of policing in an attempt to reduce crime which was rampant in the city at the time. Police officers were encouraged to make arrests for minor-level offenses, with the idea being that minor disorders create an environment in which violent crime occurs. O’Malley also implemented CityStat, a data-tracking management tool which was able to maximize efficiency and hold local government accountable. ....

... Matthew Crenson, a political science professor at Johns Hopkins University who is writing a book on the political history of Baltimore, told Think Progress the tough-on-drugs policing strategy put in place by O’Malley contributed to the unrest seen in the city today.

“One of the possible costs is that this creates a great deal of tension in relationships between the police and communities in their policing, because it means they’re always hassling people for minor offenses,” he said. “And that could conceivably create the atmosphere in which it’s very easy for a riot to break out when something like Freddie Gray’s death occurs. All the other Freddie Grays who live in segregated neighborhoods in Baltimore rise up and attack the police.”

Since his time as mayor, academics have come to question the effectiveness of the broken windows policing, Crenson said, adding that O’Malley takes credit for improving the safety of Baltimore when the rate of violent crime was actually dropping across the country, even in cities that did not use his style of policing.

“Not only that, but it continued to drop after he was out of office and the succeeding mayor abandoned the no tolerance policing policy,” Crenson said.

... African-American activist Kwame Rose ... also took issue with O’Malley’s spending as mayor.

“Martin O’Malley devoted a lot of attention and efforts to push legislation to fund a new youth juvenile justice center in downtown Baltimore — a $300 million facility,” he told Think Progress. “Meanwhile, there hasn’t been a new school built in Baltimore City in 50 years… It doesn’t add up.”

Michael D. Smigiel Sr, Baltimore Sun- The "broken windows" theory for stopping an acceleration of crime does not work well when human beings are concerned. Humans have rights. They have dignity, feelings and pride. When zero tolerance is applied to law enforcement in a neighborhood and people are arrested for littering while sitting on the steps of their home, taken to jail, and then never even charged with a crime, they end up with a record for having been arrested without the chance to challenge the charges. It results in a record that has numerous adverse effects, including stifling their ability to get a job or maintain one.

Tens of thousands of citizens cannot be treated in this manner without a deterioration in the relationship between the enforcers of this policy and those whom it is being enforced upon. Mr. O'Malley was aware of what was occurring and took the same attitude toward minorities in the city as toward law-abiding gun owners by arresting anyone carrying any gun, legal or not.

I sat in the Judiciary Committee listening as Del. Jill Carter brought this problem to our attention. The ACLU, the NAACP and countless citizens came before our committee and told us of these practices. Interestingly, the Democrat leadership in the legislature chose to protect Mr. O'Malley instead of the 250,000 minority citizens who were the victims of the O'Malley administration policing policy.

... We made attempts to alleviate the distrust, and those items can still be implemented today. For example, we offered a list of crimes for which arrest was not necessary but rather left to the discretion of the officer to either give a citation to the offender to appear in court for the offense, or to arrest if it were deemed necessary by the officer. This bill flew through the Judiciary Committee and the Maryland House with bipartisan support, but was picked apart in the Senate.

... O'Malley's policies as mayor contributed to the current riots, but he is not alone in responsibility. Those who knew about the unconstitutional actions of then Mayor O'Malley and did nothing when they possessed the power and obligation to do so, are also responsible.

.. What we do know is that Presidential Candidate O'Malley, will do what Governor O'Malley and Mayor O'Malley did before, which is to try to ignore responsibility for the effects of years of zero tolerance law enforcement practices that led to over 250,000 Baltimore residents being arrested but not charged.

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