We admire Art F City senior editor/CP arts contributor Michael Farley for many reasons, one of which is he knows his shit about both art and politics. When "The O'Reilly Factor" correspondent Jesse Watters went to Art Basel Miami Beach to try and trip up festival goers by asking artists about politics (what could all those flakey artists possibly know about politics?), he ran into Farley who ran circles around him in a debate about everything from Obamacare to ISIS. (For more on this, see "Crop Top Rites") The segment was heavily edited, but Farley wrote up a transcript (from memory) for Art F City (where, for example, he argued the merits of socialism and Watters stammered awkwardly), and it's full of inspirational, meme-able lines like "Do you know what makes a hurricane?"
The Baltimore Sun's thorough news coverage of Officer William Porter's trial has been very good—we admire and are admittedly jealous of its massive staff and resources, of which it takes full advantage—but then there was Tricia Bishop's tone-deaf op-ed, "What would you have done in William Porter's shoes?" Bishop cites a 2012 Sun investigation that showed 2,600 people showed up injured at Central Booking. But instead of worrying about the slew of medical problems that cops ignored during transports (the two most common symptoms: chest discomfort and shortness of breath—potentially serious, urgent signs), she channeled defense lawyers nearly verbatim, noting that transporting folks to ER is a big time suck for cops. She concluded: "Here's your choice: Risk wasting resources, which will leave some streets unpoliced; or gamble with two lives — your own and his. You decide." It's a deeply troubling kicker that equates Porter's jail time with Freddie Gray's death—and seems to suggest, with a shrug, that police can't be blamed for choosing efficiency and order over human life.
A former Baltimore prosecutor filed suit in federal court last week alleging that Baltimore State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby illegally fired her and five other prosecutors when she came into office because those prosecutors had supported Mosby's predecessor, Gregg Bernstein, in the Democratic primary election. Some of those prosecutors had been dismissed in the middle of criminal trials, which resulted in dropped charges. If the allegations in the lawsuit are true, it's not behavior that behooves the top prosecutor in the city.
Bernie Sanders breezed through Baltimore with the help of a bunch of opportunistic pastors for a quick tour of Sandtown-Winchester which he compared to a "third-world country." His poverty tour made it clear how old white liberals like Bern express sympathy—a kind of clueless shorthand in which all poverty is alike and attributed to like causes. We like Sanders—he stands for most of the right things—but this lazy declaration, along with a statement a while back that those in his native Vermont can handle loose gun laws but Baltimore cannot shows a sniff of white privilege. What about laws that apply to everyone? What about laws that ban guns altogether? We're feeling the Bern a little less this week. (See Op Alt)
As we went to press, a verdict in the trial of Police Officer William Porter, one of six officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray, was still pending. But the crux of the defense, regardless of how this goes down, stands: the police department is so screwed up that we can't possibly punish one officer for screwing up even when the screw-up resulted in a person's death. It was common practice to not strap in detainees, police witnesses testified, despite a policy explicitly instructing officers to buckle up detainees in the transport vans. Why? Because cops get lots of emails and don't read them all, apparently. No matter the outcome of these six trials, BPD needs to make some serious changes to improve accountability.(See Mobtown Beat)