In the Media: Trials in Gray Case Will Resume in May; Baltimore County Addresses Housing Segregation
A digest of Baltimore news from local sources.
From the Baltimore Sun: Trials in Freddie Gray Case to Resume in May
"The trials of the six Baltimore police officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray are poised to resume in May, following the one-year anniversary of the 25-year-old's death from injuries sustained in police custody.
"Officer Edward M. Nero, one of the officers involved in Gray's initial arrest, will be tried May 10, followed on June 6 by Officer Caesar R. Goodson Jr., the driver of the van in which prosecutors say Gray suffered the injuries that proved fatal.
"The cases have been on hold in recent months, after Officer William G. Porter's attorneys and prosecutors filed appeals to the higher courts challenging rulings by Circuit Judge Barry G. Williams.
"The Court of Appeals ruled on those challenges on March 8, siding with prosecutors and ordering that Porter must testify against his fellow officers if prosecutors call him as a witness. Prosecutors are granting Porter limited immunity for his testimony.
"The new schedule calls for Lt. Brian W. Rice to be tried on July 5, Officer Garrett E. Miller on July 27, Porter to be retried on Sept. 6, and Sgt. Alicia White on Oct. 13."
From the Baltimore Sun: Baltimore County to Curb Housing Segregation
"Baltimore County officials announced plans Tuesday to begin dismantling decades of discriminatory housing policies and the segregation they have wrought by expanding the number of affordable rental homes in prosperous communities from Cockeysville to Catonsville and from Towson to White Marsh.
"After nearly five years of negotiations, county officials agreed to resolve a federal housing discrimination complaint with a deal that U.S. officials called "groundbreaking" in its scope: The county is to spend $30 million over the next decade to entice developers to build 1,000 homes for low-income African-American families in prosperous county neighborhoods.
"The county also pledged to help 2,000 families on Section 8 rent subsidies to move from poor, predominantly African-American communities to better-integrated neighborhoods with stronger schools, lower crime and minimal clusters of subsidized homes.
"Activists hailed the agreement.
"The agreement resolves a federal housing complaint filed in 2011 by the local NAACP branch, Baltimore Neighborhoods Inc. and three county residents. They accused the county of perpetuating segregated clusters of minority renters with government subsidies by failing to expand affordable options in prosperous neighborhoods.
"The complainants alleged that the county had maintained policies that kept low-income and minority residents out of the best neighborhoods by spending most of its federal housing money on housing for the elderly occupied primarily by whites, demolishing and failing to replace 4,100 subsidized housing units for families since 1995, and locating Section 8 voucher holders in poor and segregated neighborhoods."
From City Paper: Mayoral Candidates Participate in First Forum on the Arts
"On Monday evening, the Maryland Institute College of Art’s Falvey Hall filled out to the lobby with well over 500 attendees for the city’s first-ever mayoral candidate forum focused on arts and culture.
"Citizen Artist Baltimore (CAB), an initiative of the Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance, Maryland Citizens for the Arts, and the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation, conducted seven listening sessions throughout the city last January and invited community members to participate in online surveys to determine the priorities the art community wishes to see addressed by Baltimore’s next mayor. The CAB steering committee then used those goals to formulate the questions presented to the candidates at the forum, as well as an online questionnaire. Though not yet available at the time of this story’s publication, the candidates’ responses to the questionnaire can be found at the CAB website, where video footage of the forum is also posted.
"Many of the candidates in attendance—Sheila Dixon, Catherine Pugh, DeRay Mckesson, Nick Mosby, Elizabeth Embry, David Warnock, Calvin Young, Joshua Harris, Cindy Walsh, and Wilton Wilson—overlapped on several issues. Gutierrez, Young, and Warnock supported audits to encourage equity in arts funding: Gutierrez called for full-scale audits on every city department, Young for audits on education and investments in museums, and Warnock emphasized that the money poured into North Avenue be audited and redirected into the city schools. Embry, Mosby, Mckesson, and Wilson promised some kind of city arts council, office, or committee (though none seemed to acknowledge the existing Baltimore Office of Promotion and Arts), while Warnock and Harris planned to establish cabinet-level positions in the mayor’s office focused on arts and culture. Gutierrez (who drew both laughs and cringes from the audience when—riffing off Mosby’s speech in which the councilman pointed to his background growing up in a low-income Northeast Baltimore home, repeating “statistically, I’m not supposed to be here”—he joked that statistically, he’s not supposed to be here either because he spent two years as a roadie for a punk band in Portland, Oregon) suggested a mayoral summit with members of the arts community."