Baltimore's Live "The Wire"

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State's Prosecutor Mosby

The right-wing, as always, is seeking to blame Freddie Gray's death on anybody other than the real culprits-the police.

First they tried to say that Gray had a pre-existing spinal injury from a car accident that was quickly dispelled by court records.  When that didn't stick, they leaked a bogus report to The Washington Post from police investigators that Freddy Gray tried to hurt himself.  That, according to a second prisoner being carried in the same van, Gray “was intentionally trying to injure himself” by “banging against the walls” of the van.

The tall tale came in advance of the Baltimore Police Commissioner's report which together with the medical report led Marilyn Mosby, the State's Prosecutor, to announce charges against six police officers, ranging from second-degree murder, involuntary manslaughter and other charges.

This apocryphal "leaks" by the police, raised more questions than answers, but gave fodder to Fox News --along with their continuous footage of burning police cars-- to dismiss the inappropriate behavior of the law enforcement officers and the need for a change in U.S. policing policies.

In addition to information about what happened to Freddie Gray, provided by the State's Prosecutor, the African-American community wants answers to  the "leaks" designed to mislead the public.

As the drones continue to fly over the city, marshall law is still in place in Baltimore. Meanwhile, largely peaceful demonstrations are mounting around the country to protest this latest lynching by police of a Black man.

The conditions of life for Black people in Baltimore mirrors that of most African-American communities nationwide: high unemployment; poor housing; inadequate education; mass incarceration; and police violence. Over $5.7 million has been paid out by Baltimore since 2011 in over 100 police brutality lawsuits. The criminalization of the victim and the community is becoming "old hat" and stale- especially after it's repeated time and time again and with a quickening regularity.

In Baltimore multi-national corporations moved their businesses overseas and the city lost it's manufacturing base; it has never fully recovered. Although there has been a sort of "economic revival", Baltimore's inner city has yet to benefit.  The facts bear this out: Unemployment is 8.4 percent city wide as of February, 2015.  Most estimates place the unemployment in the African-American community at double that of the White community.  The national rate of unemployment for Whites is 4.7 percent, for Blacks it is 10.1.

The median income for White families in Baltimore is $60,550; for African Americans, it's $33,610. What's more, for young African-American males between the ages of 20 and 24, the  2013 unemployment rate was 37 percent, while for Whites in the same age group, it was 10 percent according to most recent data  from the U.S. Census Bureau. 

Ninety-two percent of marijuana possession arrests in Baltimore were of African Americans, one of the highest racial disparities in the USA Blacks in Baltimore are more than 5.6 times more likely to be arrested for possession of marijuana than whites even though marijuana use among the races is similar.

African-Americans in Baltimore are eight times more likely to die from complications of HIV/AIDS than whites and twice as likely to die from diabetes related causes as Whites.

African-American babies in Baltimore are nine times more likely to die before age one than White infants in the city. Nearly 57 percent of Baltimore students graduate from high school.  The national rate is about 80 percent.

Gone are the hopes of many Black youth about their future. If the authorities and politicians are not careful, the chickens will come home to roost.

 

Dred-Scott Keyes is editor and Producer of weekly news magazine "The Cutting Edge".  

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