Thugs regardless of color

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From 2003-2009 there were approximately 96 million arrests in this country. That’s 16 million every year of whom about 800 died in police custody. Sixty-one percent were classified as homicides, either at the hands of the police or others in custody. Of those, 42 percent were white, 32 percent African American, and 20 percent Hispanic. The numbers are very sketchy since some states don’t report deaths at the hands of policemen.

Policemen who commit homicides are thugs. They aren’t there to protect and to serve but to carry out their own perverted agenda. They are murderous hoodlums who kill under the badge of authority. They’re the worst kind of thug.

There were 126 police officers killed in the line of duty during 2014. That’s a 24 percent increase over 2013. Understandably, police are apprehensive when stopping anyone, but seem far too quick to draw their weapon. Given the attitude of some toward policemen, and that sickening statistic, it is difficult to blame them. Still, far too many minorities are shot for no apparent reason.

When Freddie Gray died while in the custody of Baltimore police, it set off a firestorm of protests and rioting. Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has stated the police did not follow procedures which might have prevented his death. The Maryland State Medical Examiner has ruled his death a homicide. Marilyn Mosby, the State Attorney for Baltimore, has charged six officers with playing a role in his homicide. According to her, the officers had no cause to stop or arrest Gray because the knife he was carrying was not a switchblade, but merely a pocket knife, which is legal in Baltimore. At least one officer disputes her contention. A second degree murder charge was filed against the driver of the van in which Gray was placed after his arrest. We should await the trial before passing judgment, although many won’t. If convicted they will justifiably wear the tag “thug.” I don’t rejoice, as some, when policemen are justifiably charged with homicide. It’s very sad.

Gray’s rap sheet is immaterial. Everyone arrested, regardless of criminal history, has an absolute right to be protected by police while in custody. The peaceful protests in Baltimore were in the best tradition of our freedom of expression. The history of the routine stopping and arrest of young black men in Baltimore for petty or trumped-up charges — under the guise of the “War on drugs“ — may have added to the frustration of protesters.

In 1992 riots broke out in Los Angeles when policemen were acquitted of beating Rodney King. I asked one Hispanic looter if he was really so upset about the King verdict he would riot. He responded, “Who cares about King? I just wanted a new TV.”

Looting liquor stores and retail stores, setting fire to police vehicles, and physically attacking police officers, as happened one Monday night in Baltimore, is not an acceptable expression of protest; not in Baltimore, Los Angeles, or anywhere in this country. Ninety-eight police officers have been wounded in clashes with rioters during this current event. I applaud the President for condemning the rioters in Baltimore, whom he called criminals and thugs.

Rioters and looters are criminals. They’re hoodlums, hooligans or thugs, of color. They don’t care about the Freddie Grays or Rodney Kings of this world. They do a disservice to the cause of peaceful protesters. I want someone to explain to me, logically, not emotionally, just why we shouldn’t call a thug, a thug just because they happen to be African American. I haven’t been convinced yet. Some are trying to convince me that calling a black criminal a thug is the same as using the ‘N” word. That’s nonsense.

At an early age, poorly educated, impoverished and fatherless young men in inner cities turn to dealing drugs and killing one another in alarming numbers. It causes police officers to view any young black youth as a possible suspect, making young men, like Freddie Gray, victims of profiling. It results in warehousing many young black men in prisons for minor drug offenses. It gives them a police record they’ll never get rid of. Let’s legalize drugs. The “War on drugs” isn’t working in Baltimore or anywhere else, and it’s far too costly. It doesn’t work any better than liquor prohibition.

Several things would help decriminalize inner cities and reduce confrontations between police and inner city youths. Put young men to work rebuilding our inner cities, equip police officers with bodycams, legalize drugs and raise the minimum wage significantly, giving single moms a living wage.

Glen McAdoo, a Fallon resident, can be contacted at


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