Friday, October 13, 2006

State Big Shot Draws Attention to City Problem

"Mass arrests of innocent people, it’s unconstitutional in my view."

An astute characterization of the arrest policy in Baltimore City. What's surprising is that it came from the mouth of Republican Gov. Robert Ehrlich.

Ehrlich's declaration on WBAL radio, as reported by The Examiner, is the first recognition of the serious problem by a prominent statewide politician. The political calculation behind his statement is obvious: Ehrlich is finding yet another issue with which to tackle Mayor Martin O'Malley, his Democratic opponent in next month's gubernatorial election.

But whatever his political motivations, Ehrlich's declaration should be applauded for drawing attention to a devastating problem. Baltimore police are on a rampage, arresting largely innocent people for insignificant crimes like loitering. The result is increased distrust of police by city residents. An us-versus-them mentality is fostered when a person feels like he could be randomly arrested by a corrupt and abusive police department. This outgrowth of the War on Drugs is devastating for some of our neighborhoods which are truly in need of public servants to clamp down on real crime.

from The League: Reassembled


Blogger Stephanie Dray said...

As a purely political matter: Either O'Malley is soft on crime, or he's tough on crime. I'm not sure Ehrlich can have both sides of the same issue.

10/13/2006 03:52:00 PM  

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