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April 30, 2015

Baltimore Headlines

Sheriff: I was told to stand down during riots.

Obviously. We saw the cops standing down and retreating from rioters.

"I was sick to my stomach like everybody else. … This was urban warfare, no question about it. They were coming in absolutely beaten down. The [city officers] got out of their vehicles, thanked us profusely for being there, apologized to us for having to be there. They said we could have handled this, we were very capable of handling this, but we were told to stand down, repeatedly told to stand down," he said. "I had never heard that order come from anyone -- we went right out to our posts as soon as we got there, so I never heard the mayor say that. But repeatedly these guys, and there were many high-ranking officials from the Baltimore City Police Department … and these guys told me they were essentially neutered from the start. They were spayed from the start. They were told to stand down, you will not take any action, let them destroy property. I couldn’t believe it, I'm a 31-year veteran of law enforcement. … I had never heard anything like this before in my life and these guys obviously aren't gonna speak out and the more I thought about this, … I had to say a few things. I apologize if I’ve upset people, but I believe in saying it like it is."

Freddie Gray was killed, initial investigations find, by a blow to the head in the back of the prison transport van.

An investigation into the death of Baltimore resident Freddie Gray has found no evidence that his fatal injuries were caused during the videotaped arrest and interaction with police officers, according to multiple law enforcement sources.

Sources said the medical examiner found Gray's catastrophic injury was caused when he slammed into the back of the police transport van, apparently breaking his neck; a head injury he sustained matches a bolt in the back of the van.

Details surrounding exactly what caused Gray to slam into the back of the van was unclear.

As you've probably heard, it is suspected that Gray was the recipient of a so-called "rough ride," an extrajudicial punishment by which police handcuff a suspect -- but do not secure him to a seat with seatbelts -- and then toss him around the back of a police van by taking corners hard, driving over bumpy roads, etc.

This much-linked Washington Post story reports on a prisoner claiming that Gray was pounding his head on the inside of the police van, like he was trying to harm himself. But let's be serious, prisoners have enormous incentives to make up things that will be useful to their captors.


Tavis Smiley says riots could be "the new normal," calling the resort to mass violence, strangely, "a dignity thing."


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