Baltimore Cop in the Hood

Thursday, April 30th, 2015

A former Baltimore cop explains things:

You know, cops are put in this horrible position where they have to solve the problems of America that nobody wants to deal with. The same idiots who burned shit down Monday, they’re gonna be there today and tomorrow. The cops are always dealing with them, whether they’re burning things down or not. They’re always there.

I was speaking to a cop, a black guy from East Baltimore, and he’s like look, “Cops reflect where they work. Yeah they can be dicks, but that’s the neighborhood they’re working in. Whether they’re from there or not, they end up speaking the language of the ghetto.”


And they feel that outsiders, particularly liberals and the media don’t really understand what cops have to deal with. They know things are fucked up, but we put cops in an impossible situation. We tell them to do the best they can, and then when an individual cop messes up, everybody blames the police. And cops feel strangely victimized by this system — they’re put in the middle and used as political tools.


Of course, another thing is that most people who can leave have left. And so, in these pockets, how can you have good community relations when a substantial number of people are actively or passively involved in crime?

I think there are a lot of cops that just say, “Fuck ‘em, they want burn their neighborhood, let ‘em.” But on the other hand, the cops are out there putting their lives on the line to save their city.

This jumped out:

What does a cop feel when the police begin assembling as they did on Monday to confront unrest?

Whatever they’re doing, keep in mind, they’ve never done it before. They’ve never really trained for this. We had like a half day of riot training in the academy. There’s fear, but mostly of the unknown. You’re going to work and kissing your loved ones and you don’t know what the hell you’re going into. You don’t know if and when you’re coming home. You don’t know. I try not be a cop cheerleader, but they could, at some point, say, “Fuck it, I quit. I don’t like this job anyway.”

There are still swaths of vacant lots in the Eastern District that haven’t recovered from the ’68 riot, he notes.


  1. Haploid says:

    Interesting that when asked about solutions, he basically shrugs and says “Throw more money at it.”

  2. Faze says:

    “There are still swaths of vacant lots in the Eastern District that haven’t recovered from the ’68 riot … ”

    Same with the city where I live. In fact, there are huge swaths of the inner city that were burned in the riots of the 60s that were never rebuilt – and no one ever talks about it. The riots of the 60s were the biggest thing that happened in that decade. They had the most impact on the most people’s lives, they transformed our cities, and were the real shaper of racial relations going forward. The Civil Right Act was small potatoes. Everything that’s happened in American cities since the riots, has been in reaction to the riots. Not being able to talk frankly about the riots of the 60s is one of the many factors that has distorted the national conversation about race and cities.

  3. Rollory says:

    “they could, at some point, say, “Fuck it, I quit. I don’t like this job anyway.””

    To all honest and good police officers out there:

    Please. Do this.

    It will clarify matters.

    It will also put the responsibility for maintaining some sort of civilized society back squarely where it belongs: on the average citizen.

    Maintenance of civilized order has been outsourced to police the same way teaching children has been outsourced to public schools. Both are a mistake. Both are the result of the citizenry being unwilling to assume responsibilities properly theirs.

    Sheriffs and posses of able-bodied citizenry worked fine for maintaining order for a long time. But the men have to be willing to accept that this is part of their social responsibility, part of the cost of maintaining a free society. The police state is the alternative, once those men decide they just don’t feel like doing it anymore.

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