Tag: police

Small Town Drama: Frosty the Snowman Feuds with Police in Eastern Shore

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Don’t let all the peace, love, and joy talk fool you — the holidays are a stressful time. So stressful, in fact, that you might just want to dress up like Frosty the Snowman, disrupt a parade, fight a cop, and kick a dog. Allegedly.

That’s what went down at the Chestertown Christmas parade on the Eastern Shore last weekend, at least according to the police. Kevin Michael Walsh, 52, has served as the parade’s Frosty for more than a decade. This year, though, things got a little heated:  a dog-handling officer tried to remove Walsh from the parade (for unclear reasons), so Walsh removed the head of his Frosty costume and hit the cop in the face with it. And then he kicked Henzo, the police dog. Walsh says he was wrongfully charged, and claims that he only got agitated after he got arrested.

Which all sounds very ridiculous, but there’s also a darker side to the story:  commenters on the Huffington Post are claiming that Walsh has been suffering the effects of a recent stroke. The police “follow around bothering him until he gets annoyed and loud, then [they] arrest him,” writes a local. “They [the police] don’t seem to have to answer to anyone.”

Baltimore Police Target Hopkins’ Under-Age Drinkers

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I always thought that Charles Village just needed more bars, since the ones that do exist (the Charles Village Pub, Maxies, that underground one that smells kind of funny) are inevitably packed and miserable on a weekend night. Packed with underage drinkers, it seems, as recent efforts by the Baltimore police have shown. And when police chase the youngsters away, the bars are pleasant for the rest of us — though perhaps not for the business owners themselves.

Midway through October, a Hopkins freshman was hospitalized with alcohol poisoning after a late night at Maxies; for a few days afterward, police flanked the bar’s front door and patio, giving mean looks to anyone who looked under 21 and was trying to enter. (But — and not that you need us to convince you — college students drink, including the underage ones. And as many as 20 percent of college students have fake IDs, according to a 2002 Harvard study.) Lat May, a University of Maryland student from Potomac was charged with making and selling fake IDs. 

The police presence — which has died down somewhat in the past few weeks — puts a damper on area businesses, which depend on students who (even if they are of age) may not feel welcome at places with significant police presence. But such is the downside of operating in a college town.

Believe in the Crime Cameras

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A four-year study of police surveillance cameras in Baltimore, Chicago, and DC released yesterday found that the technology has been working, at least in Baltimore, reducing crime to the point of noticeable savings in taxpayer dollars.

Despite the apparent success of the program, I wonder about the long-term effects of abundant police surveillance on these neighborhoods. In the short run it deters crime on certain blocks, but won’t it also deter people from moving into those places? Sure, the cameras may beat back a certain number of shootings and robberies, but are they turning these neighborhoods around?

Whatever the answers to these questions, it looks like the cameras are here to stay, at least for now.

"Towson Toilet Bomber" Goes to Trial Next Week

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Duane “Shorty” Davis goes on trial next week for terrorism charges — for leaving a decorated toilet outside a Towson courthouse. Davis is an artist, a former barbecue chef, and a political activist; his art of choice is making politically-charged toilet sculptures. When Davis dropped off one of  his sculptures outside the courthouse last year (“festooned with newspaper clippings, an electronic transmitter and a cell phone,” according to the Baltimore Sun), the police brought the bomb squad in. Now Davis faces up to ten years in jail.

This week, Davis and filmmaker Rob Fiks stopped by the Marc Steiner Show to talk about the trial, and about the documentary Fiks is making about Davis’ life. The white art school filmmaker; the black political activist on trial; the accusations of police misconduct… and the toilet art at the center of the controversy:  something about the story seems so wonderfully Baltimore.  What won’t be wonderful, though, is if Davis ends up in jail for a misunderstood artistic statement. Locking him up doesn’t seem like it’ll make the world a safer place. We wish him luck at next week’s court date.

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