31 January 2009

Crime Solution -- Less Talk More Action -- Police Commissioner Bealefeld

Click here to see the interview: What's Up Baltimore? -- Commissioner Bealefeld Interview (full story) **Exclusive** from MacArthur Media on Vimeo.

When asked about the climbing murder rate in Baltimore City, Commissioner Bealefeld claimed overall violent crime to be down. He said we should not focus on the homicide rate or other statistical data, but instead on the root causes of violence.

The Commissioner called on much greater community involvement, challenging the community to be more involved, particularly with young people.

For years, the police department and city hall officially denied having a gang problem, but at the Voice Against Violence rally, Bealefeld spoke directly about the attraction gangs hold for city youth. Referring to the lack of viable options for youth drawn to gangs, Bealefeld said "we need a lot of people involved."

"Stop talking about it, and start doing something about it," was the repeated plea to the city from the Police Commissioner.

filed by A.F. James MacArthur

UPDATE: Olympian Phelps Admits Smoking Pot In Bong Pipe

Paper Claims Olympian Michael Phelps Smoked Bong

UPDATE: Phelps admits to "regrettable" behavior

In the full story seen here, there is even a picture claimed to be Phelps. Would they run something this serious, opening themselves to law suits without it being solid?

Comments please?

EXCLUSIVE: Commissioner Bealefeld Speaks To The Spectator

30 January 2009

Thank You B'nai Israel Congregation

Your graciousness and hospitality was beyond measure. I felt most welcomed as your guest.

29 January 2009

Anti-Violence Rally This Saturday

The NAACP Hosts A Rally Against Violence, invited guests include Councilmen Jack Young & Bill Henry along with Police Commissioner Bealefeld.

See the video that's been creating all the controversy (What's Up Baltimore preview)

28 January 2009

The Sun No Longer Shines...In Baltimore

by T.R. Mencken, Editor In Chief
The Baltimore Spectator

At a time of increased distrust and suspicion of the police, the policy change to no longer release the names of officers who kill or injure citizens is highly disturbing. Citing 23 threats to police officers last year, the department says this change is needed for officer safety.

With a force of 4000 officers, 23 threats seems like a low and manageable amount.
Police work after all, is not without its risks. There's no word as to whether the threats were even related to police shootings.

City and state elected leaders, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the American Civil Liberties Union have criticized the policy. This is simply another lame excuse for government trying to keep the common folk in the dark. This type of policy is more fitting of a medieval monarchy, than a modern democracy.

An open and transparent government, accountable to its citizens, is not only essential in maintaining public trust, but it should be mandatory at a time when the perception of corruption in Baltimore City government is at an all time high.

(read entire commentary)

RUMOR CONTROL & Special Announcement

Seems a lot of folks have have been questioning whether James MacArthur and I are the same person. This picture of the two of us is photographic evidence we are indeed two different people. Despite being twice his age, I'm actually flattered if we're thought of as being the same.

I would also like to take this moment to announce that James MacArthur is now officially a part of this production. He will now serve as managing editor as we seek to grow and expand the online presence of The Baltimore Spectator.

Writers Wanted

As a young, full of life, principled person, MacArthur will bring lots of energy to this site. I've known him for many years now and I'm fully confident in his ability to take this blog to new heights. That being said, we are looking for contributors and writers. Contributions can be video clips, audio bites, etc. Send either one of us an email for more info.

See the video that's been creating all the controversy (What's Up Baltimore preview)

UPDATE: Police Commissioner Responds

After an exclusive revelation by this blog, that Police Commissioner Bealefeld had not responded to a written request from the City Council, it seems like the Commish has responded to being called out. (Note: we have direct knowledge that the Commissioner's office is aware of, and reads this blog)

Apparently, after several weeks, the Police Commissioner has finally responded to the City Councils written request for clarification on the controversial sudden change in policy. For the record, The Baltimore Spectator thinks this policy is 100% taking a huge step backwards and is the wrong move at a time when public distrust of the police department is so high.

Today's Baltimore Sun ran a story on it.

Filed by; A.F. James MacArthur
Guest Editor to The Baltimore Spectator

See the video that's been creating all the controversy (What's Up Baltimore preview)

26 January 2009

Police Commissioner To Explain Controversial Policy Change

The Baltimore Spectator has learned that city Police Commissioner Frederick Bealefeld (pictured above) will appear before the City Council for an informational hearing. City Councilman Bernard "Jack" Young is demanding an explanation of the sudden change in a long standing policy of releasing the names of police officers who kill or injure citizens.

The hearing, scheduled for February 12, comes after Councilman Young sent a written request for clarification and explanation to Bealefeld. As of this writing, the Commissioner has yet to respond to the request. Young, an increasingly vocal critic of the Baltimore Police Department, has openly questioned the recently reported low homicide rate, suggesting the true number may be much higher.

In a phone interview with The Spectator, Young said there were many deaths on the books whose cause are officially classified as "pending" and or "undetermined." Young believes this is a clever way of delaying and or hiding the truth about how many murders actually occurred in Baltimore.

At a recent weekly police COMSTAT meeting, Councilman Young was asked why he was there by Commissioner Bealefeld then promptly asked to leave, and escorted out. The move was disturbing to Young, leaving him to wonder what's there to hide. Young is the Chairman of the City Council Committee on Public Safety and Health, handling among other matters, the budget for the police department.

Filed by; A.F. James MacArthur
Guest Editor to The Baltimore Spectator

See the video that's been creating all the controversy
(What's Up Baltimore preview)

Harm City USA

Violence continues to plague Baltimore City

14 Year Old Boy Shot, Killed, Arguing About Girl

Cab Driver Murdered

Man Stabs Pregnant Girlfriend, Then Shot & Killed By Police

Arrests Made In Officer Shooting

24 January 2009

What's Up Baltimore Intro Trailer from MacArthur Media on Vimeo.

Please support my friend and his brand new, one of a kind show coming to Baltimore. Once again, James MacArthur brings an in your face, everyday Joe approach, to reporting news and comment. The show will be viewer driven. Your Town, Your Thoughts, Your Opinion. Send news tips, stories, and show ideas to MacArthurMedia@gmail.com

23 January 2009

Dangerous City School To Be Sacked

City schools have the distinction of a nearly 67% drop out rate. Ever wonder why there seems to be a never ending supply of street thugs around town? Now a school with the name of all names, Homeland Security Academy, apparently one of the most dangerous and frightening schools in the city is target by schools czar Alonso to be closed. The place is so bad the police don't even want to be there. "A partnership with the Police Department ended, and the Fire Department is in the process of pulling out." So says the article in the Baltimore Sun.

City Council Has Novel Idea To Encourage Small Business

As if there weren't enough laws on the books....City Councilman Bill Henry wants to charge already established city businesses extra money, and make them get a special license to be able to operate late at night. (See the full story) May we make a suggestion Councilman? Try
vigorously enforcing all the laws we already have first. New regulations won't make things better, but enforcing existing law just may.

21 January 2009

Backwoods Baltimore -- Shame On Sheila Dixon

by T.R. Mencken, Editor In Chief

Arrogance And Misbehavior From The Top Down

There are many reasons I can think of why president Barack Obama was not seen with, or even acknowledged Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon on his pre-inaugural whistle stop in the city. For one, Mayor Dixon and her administration are an embarrassment of democracy. My friends in other cities often tell me Baltimore is nothing but a really big small town. The local corruption, cronyism, and backstabbing politics is more akin to a small town in the south, than to a city with ambitions of greatness.

You got a police commissioner, Frederick Bealefeld, booting a city councilman from a meeting. Not just any councilman, but the one who oversees the budget for the police department. As far as chain of command, it is usually a police chief who has to answer to a city council. Big city, small town. Ok, so perhaps there was sensitive matters being discussed and this just couldn't be done in front of a councilman. You know how those elected officials can be, right Fred?

Remember the famous shoe incident? This time I think ole Sheila the shoe out did herself. After kicking out the media recently at a city council meeting, in direct violation of the Maryland Open Meetings act, not to mention the first amendment, the picture above was her reaction when cooler heads, or perhaps someone with a better working knowledge of the law, convinced her to let the journalists back into the meeting.

So, the mayor feels she is above the law, (oops, did I say that?) and so does her appointed police commissioner. Can you blame a guy for taking cues from his boss? The problem is, this attitude doesn't stop there. From the highest level of bureaucracy, to the lowliest peon, this city really thinks like a small town.

In a prior entry, I already told you about how independent journalist James MacArthur was arrested simply for asking questions. I wish I could say that these were all isolated incidents, but the problem is they all occurred within less than one month's time. That's a pattern. Truly there is something rotten in this town of Baltimore, and Mayor Dixon and her people are intent on keeping it all under cover, even if it means breaking the law (allegedly of course). Just like they do in a small backwoods town.

President Obama entered office with a promise of making government more accessible and transparent. So far it appears he's off to a good start. In Baltimore there is to be no such talk. Would you want to be seen standing next to someone who's image and behavior is the complete opposite of your platform? Didn't think so. So, while former Mayor now governor O'Malley, along with congressman Elijah Cummings, and many others were thanked and applauded, there was no mention or photo op for Obama, with Sheila the shoe. Oh how charming.

20 January 2009

Baltimore Journalist Arrested For Questioning Official

In a city riddled with allegations of government corruption, widespread incompetence, and an out of control crime problem, some police officers apparently have taken a novel approach to restoring peace and order to the slowly sinking ship that is Baltimore City; arrest law abiding citizens who aren't actually committing crimes. That way, when asked what is being done, they can point to numbers that don't tell the real story, then point out how many arrests have been made.

Remember how on the Titanic the musicians continued to play even as water filled the cabins and half the decks were already underwater? Well, in Baltimore the situation is similar. The truth is, things are far worse than anyone is willing to talk about, but meanwhile the masses live in a state of addled apathy.

“There are thousand of cases like this being thrown out every month, ...In the month of February, we threw out 902 cases; in March, we threw out over 1,200 cases — that means 70 cases a day.” -- Margaret Burns, spokeswoman for the State’s Attorney’s Office

Baltimore Police have a history of locking folks up, just because. Sometimes merely asking a question of of an officer can land you in jail. Don't believe me, just check out this story from The Baltimore Examiner in 2006. In that story, a young couple, visiting from out of town was arrested for asking a cop for directions. Talk about rolling out the welcome mat. I wish I could tell you that this practice has stopped, but sadly, it is still going on, and apparently with a great degree of frequency.

"I Can Send Anyone To Prison Just Because I Don't Like Them"

Allow me to tell you the story of one James MacArthur. As
a part time journalist with years of experience and a broad body of work in several fields, he is always on the lookout for story ideas. After learning his car was impounded and a trip to the Baltimore City impound lot would be necessary, he thought it would be a perfect chance for a story. After all this place is well known for lousy customer service. Of course, what he didn't know was, asking questions of Baltimore public officials is a jailable offense.

Never mind the First Amendment or anything like that, no, this is Baltimore City remember? It's the impound lot. The same place that is under ongoing investigation for all kinds of criminal activity. This place has been abusing the people of Baltimore for years. Thieves, liars and rude are just a few of the words that can be used to describe some of the folks working there.

Customer Service, Charm City Style

On 29 December 2008, MacArthur went to the impound lot for the purpose of retrieving his car. He felt the car was wrongfully impounded, and decided to document his experience for a future story. In the parking lot, while sitting in a car, using a cell phone camera, MacArthur began narrating.

Continuing to film,he walked into the lobby and was immediately met with loud protests from impound lot staff telling him he was not allowed to tape inside. MacArthur advised them he was an investigative journalist, and he was simply doing a story on Baltimore City government customer service. A staff member asked him for his name and contact information. MacArthur complied, giving them his cell phone number, and then took a number from a wall mounted dispenser, to be placed in que for customer service.

Waiting for his number to be called, he said there were several patrons in the lobby, some of them quite vocally agitated by the experience of dealing with the place. He told them he was a reporter and if they wanted to talk to him and share their experience, he'd be glad to meet them outside.

Suddenly a man from behind the counter came out and angrily confronted him. Never identifing himself as management, or an employee for that matter, and standing merely inches from MacArthur, he asked if there was a problem. Not knowing who the individual was, MacArthur asked him if he could identify himself. The man walked away disappearing back into the office.

At this point, MacArthur said he was there for no more than 5 minutes when his phone rang. On the line was Adrienne Barnes, Director of Communications for the Department Of Transportation, which the lot falls under. According to MacArthur, Barnes asked what was going on, and who he was working for. He told her he was doing a piece on customer service. She then asked how much longer he would be there taping, to which he replied, 10 minutes or so. Barnes said that would be fine, but the employees were kind of nervous and in the future she would appreciate being contacted in advance. MacArthur then told her, that as an investigative journalist, he prefers to show up unannounced, after all, it was a public building.

“Somewhere within the Police Department there is a policy or directive to increase the number of arrests..." -- Margaret Burns, spokeswoman for the State’s Attorney’s Office

While standing outside near the entrance, still on the phone with Barnes, four officers, one with a nightstick in his hand, marched past MacArthur and went inside. MacArthur ended the call with Barnes telling her the were police on scene. He then went back into the building at which point the officers immediately surrounded him. The lead officer, identified as Officer Michael Maurice, of the Baltimore Police asked him to step outside. MacArthur says he feared going outside with the four officers. Their aggressive posture and demeanor made him feel that he was in danger of bodily harm and therefore, would only be safe if he remained in view of other people.

Don't You Dare Question Me

Officer Maurice asked MacArthur a second time to step outside, to which MacArthur replied "why?" Maurice said he wanted to talk to him and there were too many people in the lobby for him to do so. MacArthur then suggested they could step to the side while remaining in the lobby to talk.

At that point, Officer Maurice handcuffed MacArthur and told him he was under arrest for disturbing the peace. It is interesting to note that on the charging the documents, the official charge is listed as trespassing. Trespassing in a public place no less.

While this sort of thing happens often in this city, it is not often we get to see video from a cell phone, of a journalist getting arrested simply for asking a question. This I suppose is the new strategy for fighting crime. Speaking about another incident Burns said “nuisance arrests” waste city resources that could be better used to fight violent crime.

Can anyone tell me where the life vests are? We're going down, and we're going down fast!

Troy Harris, spokesman for Baltimore City Police was contacted concerning this story, he declined to comment, stating that it is an open case and an ongoing investigation. Yeah, and I'm sure the investigation involves more police resources that could be better spent.

-- A big thank you to Adam Meister, from BaltimoreExaminer.com for helping with this story. We will continue to follow this with updates as needed.

Researcher, independent investigative journalist, and entrepreneur, A.F. James MacArthur has been a member of the underground news network for over 20 years. During this time, he's been a frequent subject of attack by government officials under the guise of law enforcement. He's often boycotted from being given any credit for his work by mainstream media.

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To all those who willfully, deliberately and routinely violate the civil rights of law abiding American Citizens; Yes, you're powerful. Sure, you're everywhere. But this is still America, and the Constitution of the United States Of America still reigns supreme as the law of the land. The Baltimore Spectator will vigorously and aggressively defend against any and all attempts at spying and suppression. Let it be known to all that we are already aware of the regular monitoring and shadowing attempts. There is nothing to hide, but cross the line and there will be hell to pay.

In the end, efforts to impinge upon the freedoms of the people will ultimately fail. Some of us may get taken out in the ongoing battle for true and lasting freedom, but as I've said many times before, and will say till the day I die or get taken out by you goons, THERE ARE MORE OF US, THAN THERE ARE OF YOU.

A.F. James MacArthur -- American patriot & lover of liberty.

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