After Freddie Gray, Baltimore police take a tentative step away from lethal force

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A new use-of-force policy from the Baltimore Police Department requires its officers to de-escalate violent situations, to report colleagues who use inappropriate force, and to respect the "sanctity of life." Read the rest

Second Baltimore cop cleared of all charges in Freddie Gray death

Edward Nero arrives for his trial over the death of Freddie Gray at a courthouse in Baltimore. May 23, 2016. REUTERS
A second Baltimore police officer involved in the arrest and death of Freddie Gray was acquitted Monday. Gray, who was black, died in police custody one year ago, in Maryland.

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DeRay Mckesson running for mayor: "I am a son of Baltimore"

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Civil rights activist DeRay Mckesson is running for mayor of Baltimore. He would get my vote if I lived there.

I have come to realize that the traditional pathway to politics, and the traditional politicians who follow these well-worn paths, will not lead us to the transformational change our city needs. Many have accepted that our current political reality is fixed and irreversible — that we must resign ourselves to accept the way that City Hall functions, or the role of money and connections in dictating who runs and wins elections. They have bought into the notion that there is only one road that leads to serve as an elected leader.

A member of the Black Lives Matter movement, Mckesson has done much to draw the public's eye to America's lingering problems of race and power, especially when it comes to policing. The Baltimore Sun says his jump into politics, though, is a surprise.

He said he planned to release a platform within a week. He said it would include a call for internal school system audits to be made public.

Mckesson was the 13th and final candidate to jump into the primary race. In deep-blue Baltimore, the Democratic primary has long determined the winner of the general election.

Watch for this narrative in the media: that he's just a protest candidate. Then, if he does too well for their comfort, watch for this one: that by seeking to win, he's becoming like all the other politicians, i.e. betraying the role they prefer him to play. Read the rest

Owner of "Relentlessly Gay" yard raising money to make yard MOAR GHEY

When Baltimore's Julie Baker hung some rainbow-colored solar lights in her yard, a helpful neighbor slipped a charming note through her door chastising her for her "Relentlessly Gay" yard, threatening to call the police unless it came into compliance with the "Christian" neighborhood ethic. Read the rest

Baltimore's police brutality is just the beginning

Matt Taibbi writes that the recent blow-up is about much more than the killing of Freddie Gray. Beyond that murder, there is a complex legal infrastructure that encourages — and covers up — police violence.
Most Americans have never experienced this kind of policing. They haven't had to stare down the barrel of a service revolver drawn for no reason at a routine stop. They haven't had their wife and kids put on an ice-cold sidewalk curb while cops ran their license plate. They haven't ever been told to get the fuck back in their car right now, been accused of having too prominent a "bulge," had their dog shot and their kids handcuffed near its body during a wrong-door raid, watched their seven-year-old dragged to jail for sitting on a dirt bike, or dealt with any of a thousand other positively crazy things nonwhite America has come to expect from an interaction with law enforcement. "It's everywhere," says Christen Brown, who as a 24-year-old city parks employee was allegedly roughed up and arrested just for filming police in a parking lot. "You can be somewhere minding your business and they will find their best way to fuck with you, point blank. It's blatant disrespect."

Photo: A demonstrator raises his arms as he faces law enforcement officers near Baltimore Police Department Western District during a protest against the death of Freddie Gray in police custody, in Baltimore April 25, 2015. Thousands of people marched peacefully through downtown Baltimore on Saturday to protest the unexplained death of the 25-year-old black man in police custody but pockets of violence erupted when a small group smashed windows and threw bottles at officers.

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TODAY: Buy a bundle of wonderful games, send money to Baltimore kids

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The Devs With Baltimore bundle contains independently-made games "donated by their authors in support of the Baltimore Algebra Project and in solidarity with protesters resisting antiblack state/police violence and white supremacy." It's available til a minute before midnight EST today, May 4, so get it now. Read the rest

Fox affiliate fakes "kill a cop" protester chant

Baltimore's WBFF -- a Fox affiliate -- edited protests of an anti-police-violence protest to make it sound like the protesters were chanting "kill a cop." Read the rest

Mystery man has petition approved by Supreme Court, can't be found

Bobby Chen wrote his own petition to the Supreme Court over his suit against the City of Baltimore, which demolished his house and trashed all his stuff -- and the Supreme Court granted it. Read the rest

Edgar Allan Poe as an astronaut

Courtesy of Zombie37 in the Boing Boing Flickr pool, a photo of a smashing pasteup of Edgar Allan Poe as an astronaut, by TOVEN at Station North in Baltimore.

Poe Astronaut on Howard St. Read the rest