Police responded to the 1900 block of Collington Avenue in East Baltimore on Sunday, where two men were found shot in the back; one was pronounced dead at the scene. This marked the 43rd and final homicide for the city in May, its deadliest month in over four decades (August ’72). Since the riots and community outrage followed the April 19 police custody death of Freddie Gray, resulting in indictments of six Baltimore Police officers, shootings have skyrocketed while arrests have plummeted.
Gray’s death put Baltimore City leadership and its police department in the national spotlight, where all have fallen under tremendous amounts of criticism. All of these circumstances have put Baltimore’s law enforcement into a reactive state. Police are now hesitant to do their jobs for fear that one potential misstep or miscommunication could land them in the court of public opinion, or in the court of law facing criminal charges like the six aforementioned offers. There seems to be a vacuum of leadership and answers to an extremely complex problem. The solution goes back to the fundamental issue of trust; however, trust doesn’t begin to cement with words, but action.
There are a few bad apples in every industry; Wall Street has its insider trading, baseball has its juicers, law enforcement has those who choose to ignore the law and communities has its criminals. But, imagine if Wall Street ceased to exist, baseball stopped being played and police stopped policing? The good apples overwhelmingly outweigh the bad in every instance; it’s imperative communities and the city structure allow these good officers to productively protect to ensure our region is a safe place to live, work and raise a family.