Criminal Justice | WYPR

Criminal Justice

The 'Out of the Blocks' team of WYPR radio producer Aaron Henkin and electronic musician Wendel Patrick put together this audio-portrait of the neighborhood that’s become the epicenter of civil unrest in Baltimore.  These are the voices of Baltimore City’s Penn North community…

Open Phones: Freddie Gray and Baltimore Uprising

May 1, 2015

As we look back at the past weeks’ protests and riots, we invite our listeners to share their comments on the Baltimore Uprising. Plus, police turn their investigation over to prosecutors, and a new stop during the transport of Freddie Gray comes to light. How can Baltimore heal? And what will this weekend’s protest bring?

All Six Officers In Freddie Gray Arrest Charged

May 1, 2015



All six Baltimore police officers involved in the April 12 arrest of Freddie Gray are facing criminal charges, including second degree murder, assault, manslaughter, and misconduct. At a press conference this morning, the Baltimore state’s attorney, Marilyn Mosby, said Freddie Gray’s death was ruled a homicide after an autopsy that had been expedited by the state’s medical examiner. Gray died April 19 from spinal cord injuries sustained within police custody. Arrest warrants have been issued for the officers. 

Revitalizing West Baltimore, Post-Unrest

May 1, 2015
Talk Radio News Service / Creative Commons

How will the unrest of the last week affect attempts to redevelop West Baltimore? We ask James Hamlin, a small business owner blocks south from the burned out CVS on North Avenue. Hamlin has run his bakery on Pennsylvania Avenue for years in an effort to revitalize the neighborhood. We also talk with the city’s former development chief Jay Brodie what it takes to persuade businesses to invest in the inner city. 

The death of Freddie Gray was a homicide, and six Baltimore police officers now face criminal charges that include second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter, Baltimore chief prosecutor Marilyn J. Mosby says.

Mosby announced the charges Friday morning, citing her office's "thorough and independent" investigation and the medical examiner's report on Gray's death. She said warrants were issued Friday for the officers' arrest.

More National Guard troops are heading to Baltimore to supplement those deployed last night after the riots that followed the funeral for 25-year-old Freddie Gray, who died after suffering injuries while being detained by police.

Baltimore City Councilor Nick Mosby represents the seventh district, where the majority of last night’s destruction and violence took place. He speaks with Here & Now’s Robin Young.

The White House Correspondents’ Dinner on Saturday brought journalism bigwigs together for a night of laughs and selfies. The president told some jokes and major broadcast stations responded with wall to wall coverage.

Gray Family Attorney: Billy Murphy

Apr 30, 2015

We continue our coverage of Baltimore as the police department have turned over their report on the death of Freddie Gray to the city’s first-term state’s attorney, Marilyn Mosby. Billy Murphy, the attorney for the family of Freddie Gray will be joining us.

  For the musicians of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, this may have been the ultimate, “Hey, kids, let’s put on a show” moment. They whipped together a free, lunch-time concert on the plaza in front of the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall Wednesday in barely 24 hours.

We continue our coverage of Baltimore’s state of emergency and our conversations about the roots of the anger and frustration being expressed in the streets of our city. Our guests include the Rev. Kinji Scott, one of those who tried to intervene between police and rioters on Monday; Michael Pinard, law professor the University of Maryland; and Natalie Finegar, deputy district public defender for Baltimore City. Open phone lines again as we keep the conversation going about Baltimore’s crisis. 

Arash Azizzada/Flickr Creative Commons

Violent protests this week have laid bare the frustration of some communities in the city about how they’re treated by Baltimore police. What is the police department doing to repair these frayed relationships? We ask Chief Ganesha Martin, the Chief of Community Relations.

Matt Purdy

You’ve seen the pictures: an imposing row of police officers, shields out, riot helmets on, faces blank, their number stretching across a Baltimore neighborhood street. Across an invisible line, protesters stare back, their hands up. To most people, this is the image of police-community relations in parts of Baltimore City. Can this frayed relationship be repaired?

Chief Ganesha Martin is charged with the task of bringing police and the communities they serve together. She’s Chief of Community Relations for the Baltimore Police Department. She joins Sheilah in the studio.

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.

This week's Baltimore riot could not have happened to a nicer city.

Baltimore residents welcome strangers and even call them "hon." They sit on benches painted with the slogan "The Greatest City in America."

Baltimore is also where people looted stores and burned cars Monday night. They did it when a man died a week after being arrested.

Zeke Berzoff-Cohen/The Intersection

The day after riots shocked the city, several dozen people gathered for what was billed as a youth-led listening session called “Listen Up, Baltimore.”  It was organized by The Intersection, a non-profit that works with high-school students on leadership and college preparation. 

We sat down with three students who had taken  part in the community discussion, and asked them their thoughts on recent events in Baltimore. We hear from Dawnya Johnson, 18; Hassan Banks, 12; and Victorius Swift, 17. 

What Is The Impact Of The Protests In Baltimore?

Apr 27, 2015
Nick Fountain, NPR

This afternoon, Freddie Gray, the 25-year-old Baltimore man who died a week after his spine was broken while in police custody, will be laid to rest at Woodlawn Cemetery, after a funeral service this morning at New Shiloh Baptist Church in West Baltimore. For more than a week, protesters have marched through the city, demanding to know what happened to Freddie Gray. The largest protest came on Saturday night.

Protests continued in Baltimore as crowds gathered throughout the city calling for accountability in the death of Freddie Gray , a 25 year old African American man who died Sunday from spinal injuries obtained while in police custody.

Jonna McKone

The U.S. Justice Department is now investigating whether Baltimore City police violated the civil rights of Freddie Gray, the 25-year-old who died Sunday, a week after he was injured while in police custody.

Police arrested Gray after a foot chase in Baltimore’s Sandtown-Winchester neighborhood. A police report obtained by "The Baltimore Sun" said Gray was quote "arrested without force or incident”. The question investigators are trying to answer: how was he injured? Officials say they will conclude their criminal investigation by May 1st. With us by phone to talk through some of the questions this case raises is Susan Goering, Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland. Also with us is David Gray, Professor of Law at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law.