So that Department of Justice report about the Baltimore Police Department is pretty (and deservedly) harsh. If you were a high-ranking politician who was able to influence BPD policy, this might cause you to do a little reflection. Or, if you’re Martin O’Malley, it might make you want to remind everyone that it’s not your fault.
The report singles out the BPD’s “zero tolerance” policy, which went into effect when O’Malley was mayor. Such policies were popular across the country during the late 1990s and mid 2000s, following from the “broken windows” theory of policing. But they also have been blamed for raising arrest rates, escalating police harassment, and eroding the trust between community members and police.
The DOJ report isn’t the first time O’Malley has been called out for his approach to policing. (There was, of course, that whole storyline on The Wire.) That might be why our former mayor/governor/presidential candidate had his response to the DOJ ready in less than 24 hours. First, he went on MSNBC, where he dodged a question about zero tolerance policing and its impact on the city. Then, he released statement on Wednesday:
“It is a shame that the DOJ review of policing in Baltimore chose not to look at the data and trends on enforcement levels, discourtesy, excessive force, and police involved shootings prior to 2010,” O’Malley said. ” Such a review would have shown reductions in each of [those] categories of police misconduct even as Baltimore closed down open air drug markets and achieved historic reductions in violent crime.”
In other words: Please don’t blame this on me.
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