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In the Media: Hogan Seeks To Halt MD Refugee Resettlement; Tawanda Jones Continues Fight for Justice

Maryland GovPics
Governor Hogan.

A digest of Baltimore news from local sources.

From The Baltimore Sun: Hogan Seeks Halt to Syrian Refugee Resettlement in MD.

“Gov. Larry Hogan asked the Obama administration Tuesday to halt any resettling in Maryland of refugees from the Syrian civil war until it is certain that they pose no threat to public safety.

“Hogan issued his statement one day after he declined to join more than 20 Republican governors and at least one Democrat in taking steps to keep such refugees out of their states. He had said Monday he would wait and make a "reasoned and careful" decision.

“The governor's statement Tuesday, couched as a request rather than a demand, was more measured in tone than those of many of his GOP peers, some of whom vowed to block any resettlement of refugees in their states.

“'As governor of Maryland, the safety and security of Marylanders remains my first priority,’ Hogan said. ‘Following the terrorist attacks on Paris just four days ago, and after careful consideration, I am now requesting that federal authorities cease any additional settlements of refugees from Syria in Maryland until the U.S. government can provide appropriate assurances that refugees from Syria pose no threat to public safety.’

“While governors can protest the resettlement of refugees in their states, they have little power to block such action. The courts have held that immigration falls under the authority of the federal government, and U.S. law gives the president broad powers to admit refugees.”

Full Article

From OnBckgrnd: Why Baltimore May Be Destined to Lose This ‘Crime Fight’ in a Single Email Chain

In my recent interview with homeless advocate Archie Moore, Moore expressed frustration over the fact that the city has done so little since April to address the plight of the poor, yet hurried to address issues of police equipment and training in the event of future unrest. Baltimore has surpassed 300 homicides for the year, and as the city continues to struggle with the increase in violence and how to best respond, we have been greeted with another fruit of that law-enforcement first mentality, a report from the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) on the Baltimore Police Department’s performance on April 27, commissioned by former Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony Batts in the wake of April’s unrest.

While the report may indeed lead to more “effective” law enforcement practices where handling civic unrest is concerned (effective being one of those terms whose meaning shifts depending on where one is standing), it certainly will do little to address the social conditions, of which policing is ultimately just a symptomatic part, that led to the unrest in the first place. The PERF report is another example, then, of the city’s emphasis on law enforcement and its relationship with the Baltimore Police Department to the neglect of vulnerable city residents and communities who almost invariably become the problem to be dealt with.

That tension between addressing the needs of vulnerable, generally poor and Black, residents and those of law enforcement are on full display in an email chain I acquired through an MPIA request, featuring a conversation between a representative from the Maryland Food Bank and various members of our city government regarding emergency food distribution efforts on April 28, 2015, the day after Freddie Gray’s funeral and the major unrest that followed.

Read the email correspondence at Onbkcgrnd.com

From The AFRO American: Tawanda Jones Wages Long Fight for Justice in Baltimore

“Every Wednesday for more than two years, Tawanda Jones has stood vigil — in front of City Hall, outside the state’s attorney’s office, on an East Baltimore street corner, in the freezing dark of winter, in the stifling heat of summer. Sometimes she is backed by supporters; sometimes she stands alone, a grim reminder of the deep divide between the police and the people of Baltimore.

"Before the world heard of Freddie Gray, a black man who died from injuries suffered in custody, Jones’ brother, Tyrone West, 44, died under murky circumstances after his own encounter with Baltimore police. Jones has been demonstrating against police abuse since West’s death in July 2013, two years before Gray’s death sparked protests and riots and led the U.S. Justice Department to launch an investigation into allegations of excessive force and unwarranted stops.

“'I never miss a Wednesday,' the prekindergarten teacher said. 'I’m one person, and I can still make that difference to save someone’s life. I can’t bring my brother back, but I can stop someone from feeling this type of pain. I’ll be out there by myself — it doesn’t matter.' 

"Since West Wednesdays began, the issue of race and police abuse exploded onto the national agenda with the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and a string of other incidents. 

"One recent Wednesday, as the sun set over Baltimore, Jones stood on the cobblestone walk beside a speaker turned toward City Hall. A handful of people joined her as she announced her tally.

“'Eight hundred and nineteen days,' she said, her voice echoing through the square. 'It’s been 819 days, 117 weeks, since my brother was brutally murdered by the police.'” 

Full Article

From The Washington Post: Man Sentenced to 4 years in Prison for Setting Fire to CVS During Baltimore Riots

“A 24-year-old Baltimore man who was accused of setting fire to a CVS store that was the epicenter of riots in that city following the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody has been sentenced to four years in prison.

“Raymon Carter was charged with rioting and arson of the store in April. The store in the 2500 block of Pennsylvania Avenue in Baltimore was the central point of riots after Gray’s death. Six Baltimore police officers have been charged in Gray’s death.

“Carter had made a plea deal with prosecutors for his involvement in the riots. According to prosecutors Carter talked about his plans to go to the scene of the riots. He went to the area of North and Pennsylvania avenues — near the CVS — and video surveillance later showed him watching the rioting around him as looters broke through the CVS and took items.”

Full Article