The Department of Justice report on the police in Baltimore is out and it is not good.There will be those who want to argue politics about it. There will be those who say it’s playing the race card, others playing the gender card, some police-hating. The report is not esoteric politics. When African-Americans have complained in the past that it felt like the police were occupying forces, most of us White folk thought it was hyperbole or put another way, that they were either lying about the situation or just whining.
The Baltimore police force is rotten to the core. Even good cops there let injustice happen.But this isn’t just about the police or even law enforcement in general. It’s about people arrested for loitering in their own yards who now have been to jail for nothing,rape victims mocked, arrests with planted evidence. People’s lives changed forever. In France, this is the kind of thing that caused the storming of the Bastille.
How do you give someone time back? How do you get a childhood back? How do you you know who got a fair trial and who did not?How do you make reparations? You can’t, really, but we damn well better try.
How do you justify money spent on prisons to hold innocent people, and budgets destroyed by the cost of doing so? People didn’t eat or have day care or educational supplies because that money went to pay for jails, lawyers fees, trials that didn’t have to happen.
We don’t have to elect Donald Trump. He’s already here and working on the Baltimore police department. This is “law and order”.
Do we now let everyone out of jail until their case can be tried again? Do we fire every police officer or member of the criminal justice system as there is suddenly “reasonable doubt”?
I don’t know how to fix this. I don’t know how we apologize for the disruption of people’s lives? Let’s start by acknowledging that these things happened. Then let’s get a whole new team.