03 January 2015

"Shiny" Object Shooting Still Shrouded In Secrecy

After shooting a man said to be holding "shiny" object, Baltimore Police and press revert to quiet mode.

By A.F. James MacArthur

Last Sunday Baltimore Police Officers Isiah Smith, 23, Wesley Cagle, 45, and Kevin Leary, 49, were involved in an incident where a burglary suspect exiting a closed business was shot. At this point many things are unclear. Judging from the way the press has moved on the police remain silent, the full facts may never be known.

We're not sure which of the officers fired the shots, or just how solid their reasoning for shooting him really was. But why should these things even matter if we're changing subjects and "moving forward?"

If the police shoot an unarmed man, and no one really talks about it, was he ever really shot at all? 

Are we comfortable as a society in fostering an environment where in dealing with criminal suspects, police get to circumvent due process and act as judge, jury and executioner?

If Baltimore is ever to ascend to it's proper place of being something more than a second class, underrated city, with third-world-like social and economic conditions and an ever present, unshakable malaise impregnated within it's very fabric, it's going to take a lot of work. A large percentage of the work will have to be done by the media, raising awareness of both people and politicians that there's something better out there and we deserve it. 

Devoid Of Details

Besides initial reporting, Baltimore media has totally dropped the story. Continual scanning of news outlets have yielded zero coverage of the incident. Offering no follow up or investigation, the inference is we should trust the police that they always do the right thing, and versions of events as presented by them are to be consumed wholesale without verification or further inquiry. No questions. No critique. Just obey!

The Baltimore Spectator has learned Baltimore Police sent out an informational memo to area news organizations on Tuesday, yet strangely none took any action or produced a follow up story. Its almost as if there's an agreed upon collusion to just stay quiet and let this thing die. 

We are working on obtaining the memo. Although indications are it's sparse in detail, it may still offer more information than is currently known by the general public.

Banned In Baltimore

Some time ago, Baltimore Police decided James MacArthur and The Baltimore Spectator were not practicing "journalism" nor "real media" and what was being done isn't "real" reporting. They proceeded to construct and maintain a virtual information blockade. We've ceased receiving informational communications that are public record. We've also been blocked by the police on Twitter.

Staffing Issues Blamed

Speaking for himself, celebrated, award winning crime reporter, Justin Fenton of the Baltimore Sun, offered an explanation for the lack of coverage. He cited staffing shortage due to the holidays. Interesting how there never seems to be staffing issues to cover a sporting event, even when multiple events take place over the same holidays.

Press Should Hold Police Accountable

Author (right) with Baltimore Police Commissioner Bealefeld
It has been said that absolute power corrupts absolutely. One would be hard pressed to imagine a situation closer to absolute power than being able to carry out controversial actions, including killing people and have no one question it. In Baltimore, this is far too often the case.

Stories of police killings and misconduct from other cities typically rise to becoming national stories and remain so for quite some time. Not in Baltimore. Our press permit the police to get away with so much.

From the onset of the incident, up till now - a week later - few details have been released. I've taken the matter social media and in this space to do my best to shine a light on it. Response has been brisk. The examples below are just a small sampling of the many questions being asked and comments made by observant readers on Twitter and Facebook.

It appears the man may have been unarmed. He may have not even posed any kind of real threat to the officers.

There is a long history of questionable shootings by police nationwide. While most are "justified" many may not be. It doesn't matter that in nearly every instance prosecutors and or grand juries determine there has been "no criminal wrongdoing." This doesn't make it right. A society built on individual rights and liberties should hold police to the highest level of scrutiny any time the decision is made to deploy lethal force. Whether or not they are successful in ending the suspects life shouldn't matter. In this case the man shot survived. 

Vigilant Citizens Our Only Hope

Never before in the history of our nation, has police brutality and misconduct captured the attention of so many. What was once limited to the domain of fringe, underground media has now taken stage front and center.

Photo property of Police The Police
Due to the ceaseless labor of countless activists like @Deray and @CassandraRules leveraging social media and it's exponential reach, the American people can no longer pretend to be unaware of how extensive the problems are. Historically the press has given scant, often derisive, dismissive coverage to these issues. But something changed in 2014 after the Officer Darren Wilson shot and killed 18 year-old Mike Brown in Ferguson, MO. An unarmed black youth.

Suddenly the masses have been moved. Decades of festering wounds and deep psychological scarring have been exposed for all to see. The government version of events are vigorously questioned. Collective outrage is expressed. All happening at such a rapid rate, and in so great a volume, the mainstream media feels forced and compels, and must cover it if they are to retain any relevance at all. 

Considering the sheer extent of documented brutality in Baltimore, it should be a virtual epicenter of protests and demonstrations again police abuse. But it isn't. Save for the efforts led by folk like Tawanda Jones and Baltimore Bloc, this town is still sleeping. The reason is simple. It's been largely under reported by the news. People are unaware and don't know the full the extent of police oppression and violence that have taken place here. As a result they don't care.

True change only begins after acknowledgement and awareness. But in order to be aware, information must be presented in a timely and comprehensive manner. This isn't possible if the ones whose job it is to guide us into the light of truth, though the sun may be shining outside, are asleep on the job.

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. Although closely watched and followed, 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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