By Doni Glover, Publisher
I Am Black Wall Street
Unapologetically Black: Doni Glover Autobiography
Thursdays at Midnight on WEAA 88.9 FM
(BALTIMORE – November 29, 2021) – I’m not sure whose fault it is. I’m also not sure if someone has played a very cruel joke on Baltimore. But while there’s plenty of blame to go around, one thing is for sure: Baltimore is more violent and has more brazen criminality than ever before in my 56 years of living here.
Something has gone terribly awry, and not a soul claims ownership of the problem. Instead, we hear a ton of deflection and finger-pointing.
People in the community could care less about politics. They just want to be able to go and come without being harassed by drug dealers and not having someone break into their house while they are away.
Ever since Freddie Gray, all kinds of experts have exerted their authority over how we live in this city. I wonder where they live, quite frankly. I ask because if they did live here, their perspective would be quite different.
Going back to the early 1900s when Baltimore Mayor J. Barry Mahool, the Father of Segregation, was in charge, the segregation of Baltimore’s neighborhoods was the law of the day. How far have we come as a city to remedy the harm caused by decades of apartheid?
Question: Does the City of Baltimore pay the same kind of attention to Sandtown as it does Guilford? The answer is no. One is mostly Black and low to middle income, and the other is mostly white and much better off economically.
Another question: If criminal activity was happening in both communities, which one will get more immediate attention? Guilford, hands down!
One remedy levied on the City police since the riots of 2015 was the Consent Decree. After the Freddie Gray Unrest, the Department of Justice stepped in and now the Baltimore Police Department has to undergo a re-training. This has resulted in a mindset among many cops that they won’t be as aggressive and pro-active as in years prior to the Consent Decree.
The truth is the cops have to go through a bunch of red tape just to stop a person from loitering.
While I was no fan of the Zero Tolerance mantra under then-Mayor Martin O’Malley, the Consent Decree has swung the pendulum completely in the other direction.
People say, ‘Oh, cops ought to keep doing their job.’
But then, on the other hand, the Baltimore City State’s Attorney states that her office is no longer prosecuting low-level crimes.
An old African proverb comes to mind, “When the elephants fight, it is the grass who suffers.” This means that when our leadership is not on the same page, it is the people in the community who have to live with such unwise decisions. For the record, I have ushered three white addicts and one Black addict out of vacant houses in Sandtown since Friday evening. Last weekend, there were two fires and one break-in in a 2-square block area. Again, the culprits were addicts getting high in vacants.
Through Zero Tolerance, people got locked up for sitting on their own steps. I was given a citation for propelling a bicycle in the city limits without a headlight. The way the cops pulled up on me, you would have thought I just knocked off an armored truck or something.
Today, it’s the complete opposite. People are shooting dope in public. People are breaking into vacants in broad daylight. Dealers are slinging in ear shot of police, touting their products in front of children and seniors. The level of respect we once had as a community is so far gone and so far removed, I don’t know if it will ever return. The Baltimore I grew up in is a totally different animal where politicians have not been very effective. Something has to change … and soon.