After defunding the police, shootings and killings are inundating Baltimore’s “trauma response team”

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BALTIMORE, MD – Baltimore’s Trauma Response Team is reportedly being inundated with responding to families experiencing the suffering that comes with acts of violence and murders, with the team’s chief saying that violent crime is “out of control” and they’ve been forced to triage responses to grieving families.

While instances of shootings and murders bring to mind police investigations revolving around them, Dr. Andre Humphrey leads a team whose efforts are just as pivotal in the aftermath of violent crime: guiding impacted families to resources needed in the wake of loss.

With Humphrey serving as the chief of Baltimore’s Trauma Response Team, recent times have been particularly difficult as the calls are coming in on a daily basis – be they shootings or homicides.

Humphrey says with the pattern of violent crime ongoing in the city, he and his team simply cannot keep up with helping these suffering families.

Baltimore has already surpassed 250 homicides in 2021, with reportedly 16 of them occurring over the last week in September. Even though Humphrey says he and his team plan to respond to all the families affected, he hasn’t been able to and has been forced to triage cases for the time being:

“We prioritize especially when they are children, in the last couple of weeks we’ve been having a lot of shootings with juveniles.”

As he and his team are working as efficiently as possible, Humphrey did express that it wears down on him when he cannot tend to a family promptly:

“When I haven’t reached certain families, I feel like I let them down.”

Humphrey says that with as bad as the violent crime is in the city, he’d need to larger task force to assist families:

“We need a bigger task force to deal with the situations so we can be everywhere, it’s an endless war and a nightmare that’s a reality.”

In other news regarding violent crime in Baltimore, police recently apprehended the suspect wanted for a June non-fatal shooting of a 33-year-old victim.

Baltimore Police arrested 36-year-old Willie James McDonald on September 15th under charges of attempted first-degree murder. Authorities say that McDonald shot the unnamed victim on June 21st at approximately 2:45 a.m. in the area of the 1000 block of Cathedral Street.

Police say that at the time of McDonald’s September 15th arrest, he was allegedly in possession of a loaded firearm. However, there were no reports of there being any arising incidents during McDonald’s arrest.

McDonald is currently being detained at the Baltimore City Central Booking Intake Facility.

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Baltimore City promises to remove street sign honoring convicted drug dealer, calls it an “oversight”

(Originally published September 11th, 2021)

BALTIMORE, MD – City officials in Baltimore have promised to remove a street sign that pays homage to a convicted drug dealer who was fatally shot in March of 2020, claiming that the transportation department experienced an “oversight” in the honorary sign approval process.

Back in August, the city of Baltimore approved the naming of a portion of the road at Washington and Ostend Streets as “Anthony ‘Mo$’ Covington Way”, which references 27-year-old Anthony Covington who was fatally shot on March 28th, 2020.

Covington was among three other people shot along the 1100 block of Washington Boulevard at approximately 9:30 p.m. on March 28th, 2020 but was the only person who didn’t survive the shooting.

Police said that three shooters exited a vehicle and opened fire on all of the victims before fleeing the scene.

There are currently no reports that indicate any suspects have been arrested or identified from the 2020 case.

Apparently, Baltimore runs a program where residents can apply for ceremonial street signs in remembrance of lost loved ones. However, Covington’s streets sign that was placed up in August caused some local outrage, considering the deceased’s criminal background.

Covington was reportedly convicted of narcotics distribution back in 2017 and was subsequently sentenced to 3 years in prison. One local resident, who spoke under anonymity, had the following to say about the street sign:

“He sold drugs there. When someone has a dollar sign as part of their name, there is a problem.”

Another local resident stated that individuals like Covington are not someone that should be put up on a pedestal by city officials:

“That’s not something you glorify.”

Some locals were perplexed as to how a convicted and locally known drug dealer managed to have his name emblazoned on a street sign:

“It’s unconscionable. When a neighborhood is up and coming how are they going to up and come when this is okay?”

Seemingly anyone can apply for one of these ceremonial signs, and the approval process apparently involves a handful of agencies and even requires the sign off from the mayor’s office.

When transportation officials were asked by local news outlet Fox 45 as to how Covington’s name landed on a street sign despite his criminal record, the transportation department simply said it was “an oversight from our right-of-way division.”

One September 8th, the city confirmed that they’ll be not only removing the street sign with Covington’s name – but also making some changes on the approval process so as to not have something like this happen again, according to transportation spokesman German Vigil:

“Moving forward, the department will revamp the ceremonial street sign program and introduce new and specific requirements for eligibility.”

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Judge approves lawsuit against Baltimore for letting anarchists destroy property, businesses during riots

(Originally published September 1st, 2021)

BALTIMORE, MD – A federal judge ruled that there is enough evidence in a lawsuit brought by small business owners affected by the 2015 unrest following the death of Freddie Gray when police were ordered to stand down by the city.

The lawsuit, brought by 70 plaintiffs, mostly small business owners, has been stuck in the courts for four years, but Thursday’s ruling by U.S. District Judge Stephane Gallagher has cleared the way for the case to go in front of a jury.

The judge said the Maryland Riot Act obligates the city to protect residents and businesses during the unrest. In the ruling, she said the act requires the city to take action to prevent “theft, damage or destruction.”

Gallagher wrote:

“The City may ultimately be right that it acted reasonably as a matter of overall policy and prioritization, and a reasonable juror could certainly agree.

“However, a reasonable juror could also (and perhaps simultaneously) conclude that the City remains liable for the ensuing property damage arguably attributable to the ‘trade-off’ between more traditional anti-riot measures and the City’s policy decisions in April of 2015.”

Riots broke out in Baltimore following the in-custody death of Freddie Gray on April 19, 2015. City leaders argued that they did a good job controlling the riots and claimed the plaintiffs were “Monday morning quarterbacking.”

In the lawsuit complaint, the city denied there was a riot, but rather:

“Individuals opportunistically taking advantage of unrest in order to commit crimes and property destruction.”

The city also argued that police did a good job of suppressing the violence:

“Despite being under-equipped and understaffed as a result of the State and other jurisdictions refusing its requests for assistance in the days leading up to the funeral, BPD managed to suppress the unrest in approximately twelve hours, with no loss of civilian or officer life.”

City attorneys said the city performed well compared to other cities in similar situations:

“The violence that has erupted nationwide both before (Ferguson) and after (following the 2020 death of George Floyd), and even the last time Baltimore experienced rioting in 1968.”

The plaintiffs argued that police were ordered to stand by as their businesses were burned and vandalized. They claimed police stood by as many of them were attacked and injured during the riot.

The plaintiffs said in the complaint:

“Even in locations where BCPD officers were present, business owners helplessly watched their stores being looted and destroyed as BCPD officers also simply watched and/or turned away and let the destruction of property continue.”

Judge Gallagher said the city coordinated with police and ordered them to protect the First Amendment rights of rioters over any other duties:

“The City instructed the BPD that it did not want the BPD’s response to appear ‘overly aggressive,’ and that the BPD should prioritize protecting the protesters and their First Amendment rights.

“In the lead-up to the April 25th protests, the City remained focused on ensuring that the BPD not ‘silence’ protesters or ‘interfere with their First Amendment rights.’”

On April 12, 2015, Baltimore police arrested Gray, a 25-year-old black man. While in a police transport vehicle, his neck and spine were injured, and he fell into a coma. He died of his injuries on July 19, 2015.

Rioting broke out in protest of Gray’s death while in police custody, leading to the injuries of at least 20 police officers, the arrest of at least 250 people, and between 285b and 350 businesses damaged.

There were 150 vehicles set ablaze, 60 structure fires, and 27 drugstores looted in the chaos.

Thousands of police and the Maryland National guard responded to quell the violence and a state of emergency was declared. The state of emergency remained until May 6, 2015.

On May 1, 2015, the medical examiner ruled Gray’s death a homicide, and six officers were charged with various crimes for their involvement. 

Three of the officers were acquitted of their charges, and in July 2016, Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby dropped charges against the remaining three officers.

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