Wandering Eye: A bougie hotel grows in midtown, the racial makeup of city police, and more

The Center for Public Integrity has an interesting series of charts plotting the racial makeup of city police forces against the racial makeup of the cities they police. Just about every police agency is whiter than its jurisdiction. Baltimore—though well integrated by the standards of the industry—is no exception. Half of the force is white, 47 percent African-American. The city of Baltimore is more like 64 percent African-American and 28 percent white. Hispanics comprise 4 percent of city residents, and about 2 percent of the police department. (Edward Ericson Jr.)


The Florida-based conceptual artist John Sims riled up right-wing news outlets over the last week, after it was reported he would orchestrate the burning and burial of 13 Confederate flags across former Confederate states (plus Kentucky and Missouri) on Memorial Day. The Sons of Confederate Veterans, naturally, spoke out against the project, calling it "terribly offensive." Other critics, such as Lesley Gordon, a professor at University of Akron, said they "don't see that in any way bringing people together and creating opportunities to learn," because those who benefit from white supremacy get miffed when their power feels threatened, even symbolically. In an interview with Bomb Magazine six years ago, the artist said of using the Confederate flag in his work that an "emotional tension was lessened. I am free, so to speak." Sims has been working with Confederate flag imagery for the last 15 years—sometimes hanging it from gallows, other times appropriating it by changing its red, white, and blue to Black Liberation flag colors of red, green, and black—and hopes the 13 burnings will turn into an annual ritual. Some of Sims' work is part of a show up at Creative Alliance through June 6; see our review of it in this week's paper. (Rebekah Kirkman)


Today in "holy shit, the 1 percent still doesn't get it" news, an old mansion in midtown is being turned into a boutique hotel with rooms ranging from $475 to $1,475. That's per night, folks. To give you a little sense of perspective, our rent in Charles Village is cheaper than the least expensive room in this hotel. On the bright side, the well-moneyed backers of the Ivy Hotel project used "some 60 artists and artisans" to bring the building up to snuff. That includes MICA students who worked on hand-painted coffee cabinets. According to The Sun, "The room rates include breakfast, afternoon tea, a car and driver, gratuities and other amenities, everything except dinner and spa services. Its website likens the experience to staying at the home of a generous friend." Damn, we need to find friends who are that generous. (Brandon Weigel)

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