Justice has not yet been served
Why the arrest of six Baltimore officers isn’t enough
Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby charged six Baltimore police officers with the unlawful death of Freddie Gray on Friday, who was arrested and beaten into a coma, later dying from his injuries. The announcement was met with cheers from the crowd of protesters who gathered to hear the prosecutor speak.
While the arrest of the police officers has left some people with the idea that justice was done, it’s important not to get too hasty.
Don’t get me wrong – the fact that six officers were actually brought up on charges is a huge step in the right direction in order to actually prove the justice system in this country still works. But a lot of injustice went on in the city of Baltimore following the arrests.
For starters, these officers getting arrested doesn’t mean that justice has been served. That will take months of hearings.
Protesters are still subject to arrest if they are out past the police-enforced curfew, many times in a violent and unnecessary fashion.
The most disturbing part of the curfew is, perhaps, the fact that the police gave certain protesters “Baltimore Police Peacekeepers” badges, letting certain protesters stay on the streets during the city-wide curfew.
Popular activist Deray Mckesson posted a picture of the badge he was given on twitter on Friday. Many of his followers had strong feelings about the passes.
While it may not seem that bad at first, many people see practices such as this as derivatives of dark times in human history. One Twitter user likened badge-holders to overseers, who would look over slaves on plantations to keep them in line.
Twitter user @CherronLampkins replied to the tweet saying: “Slave freedom travel papers”
Twitter user @QueenNzinga13 said: “PeaceKeepers like In hunger games when peacekeepers Abused the people more than they help the ... nvm ... the odds are never in our favor”
While likening them to overseers is a stretch, it is still interesting to see who has more or less rights than other people.
Curfew breaking and other minor offenses fit into the umbrella of “Broken Windows” policing, a police doctrine that in many cases is detrimental to inner-city communities.
This policing theory basically states that by cracking down on minor offenses, crime rates will go down across the board. The problem with this doctrine is that it is mainly used in lower-class communities and communities of color, feeding people to the prison-industrial complex. Added to this is the fact that studies have suggested the system doesn’t actually decrease crime rates, as suggested in an article published by Slate Magazine.
It should be worth mentioning that most high-profile deaths of people of color at the hands of police have been because of this system.
Mike Brown, Eric Garner, Walter Scott and Freddie Gray were all victims of this policing policy, which is still implemented today.
There is still a lot of work to be done in Baltimore and across the country so that preventable deaths such as these can be prevented. And for those who say that the arrests of these officers is unreasonable, at least they will get their day in court to prove their innocence; Freddy Gray will not.
James Battle is an assistant features editor and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org