Martin O’Malley offers up his opinions on the unrest in Baltimore on Huffington Post. Three separate times he says, with no apparent irony, that “this is not about policing.” What?
Governor, seriously, it’s ALL about policing. Specifically, YOUR policing. The policies you started as mayor of Baltimore. Your first year in office, in a city of 600,000 people, there were over 100,000 arrests. Think about that for a minute. 1 in 6 residents arrested – in one year. [CORRECTION: the actual number of arrests I was referring to is 108,447, and the year was 2005, not 2000. As the Washington Post noted this week, that was in fact more than one in six of the city’s population. My error.]
Crime was going to drop anyway, we know that now, but you rode the stats-driven, tyrannical police methods you adopted as Mayor, to become Governor and now presidential aspirant. YOUR policies got the city sued, a suit which resulted in a large settlement with the ACLU. YOUR policies helped create a legacy of distrust and suspicion between police and the largely black residents of Baltimore, one which led to a young black man being arrested for nothing more than making eye contact with a police officer and then running. And now, that man is dead.
So spare me the sanctimonious “pay no attention to the havoc I created and exacerbated” attitude. You ran as the law and order, stats driven wonk. Now that the stats aren’t so good and the whole system is threatening to bite you, you can’t just walk away and pretend you had nothing to do with it.
You had to be dragged kicking and screaming to support marriage equality. It took years for you to come around to the idea of death penalty abolition. You did the right thing, eventually, in both cases, and you deserve credit for that – not as much as you’re trying to take, but some. On policing issues, you deserve a share of the blame. Not all of it, but some. No matter how much you try to change the subject.