Tuesday, April 28, 2015

O'Malley's 'zero-tolerance' crime policy while mayor of Baltimore under fire as city burns

Democrat Martin O'Malley is not only a former Maryland governor, he served two terms as mayor of Baltimore. And his get-tough Rudy Giuliani-style policing policy is under fire as Baltimore burns. O'Malley is considering running for president.

From the Washington Post:
It was as a crime-busting mayor some 15 years ago that O'Malley first gained national attention. Although he is positioning himself as a progressive alternative to Hillary Clinton, O'Malley also touts a police crackdown during his time as mayor that led to a stark reduction in drug violence and homicides as one of his major achievements.

Yet some civic leaders and community activists in Baltimore portray O'Malley's policing policies in troubling terms. The say the "zero-tolerance" approach mistreated young black men even as it helped dramatically reduce crime, fueling a deep mistrust of law enforcement that flared anew last week when Gray died after suffering a spinal injury while in police custody.

Police in Baltimore — like their counterparts elsewhere — have had strained relations with African Americans for generations. But community leaders say the relationship reached a nadir during O'Malley's tenure, thanks to a policing strategy that resulted in tens of thousands of arrests for minor offenses such as loitering and littering.

Although prosecutors declined to bring many of the cases, activists contend that those who were arrested often could not get their records expunged, making it harder for them to get jobs.
O'Malley, who cancelled a trip to Ireland because of the mayhem in his hometown, was probably looking to parley his crime-busting reputation in a general election --but leftists will probably tear him apart during the primaries if he decides to challenge Hillary Clinton.

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