07 January 2015

UNBLOCKED - Baltimore Police Grows Up On Twitter

Baltimore Police Decide To Abandon Ethically Questionable Practice

8 January 2015
By A.F. James MacArthur
In a shocking and unexpected announcement Wednesday, Baltimore Police decided on a reversal of one of the most controversial and ethically challenged social media policies a government agency could have. Blocking citizens on Twitter. Long known for their thin skinned, immature, extreme reaction to criticism on social media, the department has repeatedly claimed their reasons for blocking individuals was limited to users who've expressed profanity.

Of course, considering the way Baltimore Police often addresses citizens, one wonders if theirs was not a hypocritical position.

On one hand the department states their support of free speech. Particularly in response to mass demonstrations against police brutality. The department permits officers to address citizens in derogatory, disrespectful terms. So to attempt to silence citizens, claiming they've uttered profanity -- when in many cases there doesn't appear to be any evidence of such -- calls into question the integrity of an organization who's actions often betray it's words.

The truth is, a quick survey of many individuals blocked by Baltimore Police on Twitter, reveal the only offense being that of asking critical questions of the agency. It is a well established fact that this agency just doesn't respond well to being called out. Ask me how I know?

Persistent Public Pressure Brings Results

Although we know they'd never admit it, we know the continual onslaught of criticism for the decision to block users has taken it's toll on Baltimore Police. Some users haven't been too kind in their criticism.

From the time it began to become well known that Baltimore Police adopted the cowardly strategy to respond to critics, an ad hoc Twitter People's Resistance Movement formed. Not a day could pass without legions of individuals decrying the stupidity of a public agency, blocking members of the public, from it's social media feed. How unsociable.

I can now reveal to you that there has been active planning, of soon to be launched, direct action against the police department and it's social media accounts, should the policy not have been revised. A dry run was briefly launched several months ago, but few noticed.

Could it be, that fearing the potential embarrassing and irreversible outcomes of an attack, Baltimore Police decided to come out in front of a potentially looming public relations crisis and reverse course?

Any modern cooperation, or organization should know, there are individuals and collectives out there, far more powerful and agile in the cyber world, than they are even remotely prepared to defend against. Ask Sony Pictures.

After a great piece on local media blowhard Dan Rodricks and his infamous Twitter block list, it seemed the Baltimore City Paper was poised to take on the police department in the same way. An article published Wednesday was a bit off-putting in it's notable omissions however. My response to it can be seen here.

We are glad the Baltimore Police Department has decided to fully embrace a more enlightened and mature social media strategy in dealing with critics and dissenters. They chose the less offensive "mute" option over the draconian "block."

At least now users could actually readily view and retweet timely, useful, relevant public safety information. Now if only Baltimore Police would actually use Twitter and provide more of that. They could be of inestimable value to their over 65,000 followers, and perhaps be seen as a source, not just a sore source of mostly meaningless trivial tweets.

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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