Why Baltimore Had a Ghastly 2017
The following is from the Trumpet Brief sent out yesterday. These daily e-mails contain personal messages from the Trumpet staff. Click here to join the over 20,000 members of our mailing list, so you don’t miss another message.
It’s official: 2017 was a gruesome year. Especially for cities like Baltimore, which hit a new record of 343 homicides—the most murders per capita in the city’s history. The predictable reason for this increase in crime: the disappearance of law enforcement.
In a revealing interview with National Public Radio (npr), Baltimore Pastor Kinji Scott traced the problem to the aftermath of Freddie Gray’s death. Gray, a black man, was a repeat offender drug dealer who died while in the custody of police officers, three of whom were black and three of whom were white. A number of black Baltimoreans then rioted. During and after the violence, Baltimore police began pulling back.
npr interviewer Lauren Frayer asked Scott, “After the death of Freddie Gray, yourself, families of victims, didn’t you want police to back off?”
Scott replied: “No. That represented our progressives, our activists, our liberal journalists, our politicians, but it did not represent the overall community. Because we know for a fact that around the time that Freddie Gray was killed, we started to see homicides increase. We had five homicides in that neighborhood while we were protesting.
“What I wanted to see happen was that people would be able to trust the relationship with our police department so that they would feel more comfortable. We’d have conversations with the police about crime in their neighborhood because they would feel safer. So we wanted the police there. We wanted them engaged in the community.”
This black pastor, who has also served in city government, plainly stated that black Baltimoreans didn’t want police to leave! It was the liberal journalists and progressives who wanted the police to back off—and after receiving such bad publicity, that is exactly what happened. Scott said, “[W]e don’t see the level of policing we need in our community to keep the crime down in our cities that we are seeing bleed to death.”
Law enforcement is gone, and look at the suffering that causes!
Yet as John Sexton asked at Hot Air, “Why would police risk their lives and their careers for neighborhoods willing to believe the absolute worst about them the moment something goes wrong?”
Sexton referred to one exceptional officer who did risk his life to help put murderers behind bars in West Baltimore: detective Sean Suiter. A 43-year-old Army veteran and a married father of five, Suiter was killed while investigating a triple homicide on November 15. During an altercation with a suspect, the assailant grabbed Suiter’s gun and shot him in the head.
Sexton asked, what would have happened if the outcome had been reversed, like it was in Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014? What if Suiter had won the tussle for the gun and shot the perpetrator in self-defense? He would be alive, but riots may well have exploded, and many would accuse Suiter of being a murderous racist, like they accuse former Ferguson officer Darren Wilson.
When it comes to trying to fight crime in dangerous neighborhoods, many of which are black due to the breakdown of black families, police officers are facing a lose-lose situation.
Pastor Scott pleaded for police to return to Baltimore’s black neighborhoods. But when asked if he was optimistic, he said no. “I look at the conclusion of 2017, these same cities—St. Louis, Baltimore, New Orleans and Chicago—these same black cities are still bleeding to death, and we’re still burying young men in these cities,” he said. “I’m a preacher, I want to be hopeful, but not as it stands, no. Not until we really have a real conversation with our front-line officers in the heart of our black communities that does not involve our people who are ‘leaders.’”
Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry examined the Baltimore riots in April 2015. His article “Your Cities Are Burned With Fire” looks at the Bible’s perspective of what happens when law enforcement comes under attack. It explains why America’s cities are plagued with violence.
If you would like to hear more about this topic, you can listen to my recent Trumpet Daily Radio Show.