Criminal Justice | WYPR

Criminal Justice

Matt Purdy

Media coverage nearly always changes what it is covering.  The questions asked, the frame drawn around an event or an issue not only transmit a view of that subject, but also influence how the news unfolds, what people in the news decide to do next, and how consumers of news interpret it.  

Sometimes the effect is subtle.  But a huge concentration of reporters can generate a huge effect.  At some points in Baltimore in the last ten days, journalists have outnumbered activists and protesters.  As curfew approached last night, and Democrat Elijah Cummings was using a bullhorn to urge  residents to go home, a Fox News  reporter trailed him with questions until – until the 7th-district congressmen turned to  him and his camera crew, “People are leaving,” Cummings said.  “You’re taking pictures of each other.”

For some insight into how all the attention -- from traditional media to social media -- is affecting understanding of Freddie Gray’s death and its aftermath -- we’re turning to an observer of media, and a practitioner.  With me in the studio is Lester Spence, associate professor of Political Science and Africana Studies at Johns Hopkins.  His most recent book is “ Stare in the Darkness: The Limits of Hip-hop and Black Politics." Also with us is David Rosenthal, the Baltimore Sun’s senior editor for investigations.  He edited the series last fall about police brutality in Baltimore, written by Mark Puente, called “Undue Force.” 

Baltimore’s eighty thousand students headed back to classes yesterday.  Baltimore City Public Schools had been closed Tuesday in the wake of the unrest Monday evening that began at Mondawmin Mall in West Baltimore.

Dr. Gregory Thornton, CEO of City schools, sent a press release to families thanking the many students who got home safely and encouraging parents to talk with their children. He also pledged that students who engaged in rioting would be prosecuted. 

Our producer Jonna McKone went to City Neighbors High School in Northeast Baltimore to get a sense of how students and schools, and high school teacher Tamara Jolly are processing the events of the last few weeks. 

Douglass Students Say They Got A Bad Rap

Apr 30, 2015

Students at Frederick Douglass High School bristled Wednesday at suggestions that they were involved in the riots that erupted near their school Monday after the funeral of 25-year-old Freddie Gray.

Updated at 11 a.m. ET

For the second night in a row, people in Baltimore appear to have mostly heeded a citywide curfew.

But solidarity protests resulted in dozens of arrests in New York, and police used pepper spray on demonstrators near the Colorado State Capitol in Denver. Other large protests were held in Seattle, Houston, Washington, Boston and Minneapolis.

On The Day After, Baltimoreans Shine

Apr 29, 2015
Mary Rose Madden

The intersection of North Ave. and Pennsylvania Ave. was a site of heartbreak on Monday night for many as the riot raged on.  On Tuesday, Baltimoreans were looking to help – and heal. Throughout the city, there were cleanups, prayer vigils, and meetups at community centers.  By the end of the day, you might have thought that Baltimoreans were exhausted. But that just wasn’t the case.

IMP: Stephanie Rawlings-Blake's Balancing Act

Apr 29, 2015

Fraser Smith talks to The Baltimore Sun's Luke Broadwater about Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake's decision-making throughout the last few days. 

The Media's Coverage of Freddie Gray

Apr 29, 2015

We continue our coverage and conversation about Freddie Gray’s death and Baltimore’s state of emergency. We’ll talk about the Black Lives Matter movement and how Freddie Gray’s death fits into the larger picture of police brutality with Professor Kaye Wise Whitehead of Loyola University, and about the burned community center in East Baltimore with Eric Booker, President of the New Broadway East Community Association. 

What's Next in the Freddie Gray Investigation?

Apr 29, 2015
Mary Rose Madden / WYPR

Within a single day, the streets of Baltimore went from blazing fires of frustration to a place where communities gathered, rebuilt, and even celebrated. Last night, the Mayor’s week long curfew went into effect with limited defiance. All in all, Tuesday demonstrations were peaceful. But still looming for the city is the investigation into the death of Freddie Gray, who died April 19 from injuries sustained in police custody. The report on the police department’s investigation is expected to be turned over to state’s attorney Marilyn Mosby on Friday.

Baltimore Cleans Up After A Dark Night

Apr 29, 2015
Matt Purdy

After a dark night in Baltimore, the sun rose yesterday on a city intent on knitting itself back together. Hundreds of residents from across the city descended on the Mondawmin Mall area and Penn North neighborhood to clean up the devastation. We spoke with residents about their views of what triggered the violence, what might come of it, and what their hopes are.

Matt Purdy

What happened in Baltimore this week was nowhere near as extensive, destructive or deadly as the four days and nights of civil unrest that ripped through the city after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968. The toll then included six dead, more than 700 people injured, more than 5,000 people arrested, a thousand businesses looted, vandalized or burned, tens of millions of dollars in damage.

To help us review what we learned from the events of 46 years ago, and what we can learn from this week, we asked lawyer-historian-political consultant Larry Gibson to join us. He’s a professor at the University of Maryland Law School, author of the biography Young Thurgood and architect of dozens of successful campaigns for Democratic candidates. Larry Gibson joins Sheilah in the studio.

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