Freddie’s Dead – That’s What I Said

Each month we at Boom Bap Radio will bestow  the award of “The Douchey McDouche Bag” award on the biggest dickheads in the news.  This category is not limited to politicians or entertainers or even athletes – there’s room for everyone on this bench.

However, each month one person stands out as the absolute winner of our coveted prize.

The award is based on the name I gave a menial worker from a big box department store, who insisted that my item was no longer in stock without looking. This douche actually made me order the item online and had a whole five minute explanation of why the product was not available days after Christmas. Evidently it was shipped back to some remote warehouse – over the hills and far, far away.

Imagine my surprise when about an hour later –while walking to the other end of the store I found piles of my item, neatly stacked and very much available.

So this one goes out to that collared shirt wonder, who obviously knew nothing, but before he knew a whole friggin’ lot –Douche Bag!! Hey dickwad - this award  goes out to you  – You Douche!!!

The April 2015 Douchey McDouche Bag Award

   …Does anybody hear us pray for Michael Brown or Freddie Gray? Peace is more than the absence of war.

                                                                                    -Prince

freddiegrayAn unassuming April Sunday in Baltimore changed the life of another unarmed Black man, but may have become the next significant step in the battle to end instances of police violence against African-American men.

 We are of course referring the April 12, 2015 arrest of Freddie Gray, which only hours later went horribly wrong when the 25-year-old was being wheeled into a hospital trauma unit on a gurney with a severed spinal column.

It obviously was just as evil or douchey for 73-year-old retired insurance salesman and reserve sheriff’s deputy Bob Bates to kill 44-year-old, unarmed Eric Harris in Tulsa, Oklahoma by mistaking his service revolver for a taser, but he “apologized?”

Oh Tulsa, you’ve sucked for a longtime and I’m sure we’ll be hollering back at y’all in the future. Don’t worry we still owe you from the firebombing of “Black Wall Street” last century.

For us the combination of Harris’ death and that of Gray in the same month and at the hand police could get us a co-winner, but the attempt to wish Gray’s death into the cornfield of denial and its subsequent protests pushed the Baltimore incident to a historic high point of douchiness.

In Baltimore, Gray was pulled from his bicycle by police and arrested that Sunday after allegedly “eye-balling” a trio of bicycle cops and then running, or should we say, riding away. When the authorities caught Gray, he was found to be in possession of a knife, but a clear reason for his detainment was never presented.

It’s not like the police spied the “switch blade” from the roadside.

Once in custody, Gray handcuffed and was tossed into a police van. After a stop or two, he ended his ride with a spinal injury that landed him in a coma. A week later he was dead.

But in April 2015 when the recurring theme of unarmed Black men being killed in the streets by police played a double feature, it turned out to be yet another sequel in the ongoing movie with an ending we all have grown to know so well.

You know the one: the brother gets moped out, the police officers get exonerated and we get to hand out our coveted Douchey McDouche Bag Award.

Ho, friggin’ hum.

As usual the act itself was despicable enough to take our top prize, but the douchey way the Baltimore P.D. gave the perfunctory Scoob Doo shrug of ignorance after a man was arrested under questionable circumstances and somehow ended up dead, elevated this particular act to the top of the douche bag scale.

Thank goodness for cellphone cameras.

So, how does a relatively healthy 25-year-old end up comatose with his spine severed?

Or, as his family charged, how does he end up in a coma and with a crushed voice box and neck snapped while in police custody for a mild, alleged misdemeanor?

baltimoreprotest

Scores of Baltimorians demanded answers to those very questions hours after Gray passed away while a patient at the University of Maryland Medical Center on April 19. Protestors took to the streets that night in the hundreds and largely peaceably assembled.

Things got a little more spirited on Saturday as the windows in downtown shops were smashed and city police donned riot gear, eventually meeting protestors outside of Camden Yards where the hometown Orioles were facing off against the Boston Red Sox.

Then, almost on cue, collective karma slapped the former Confederate city back into the 21st Century, when 45- year-old Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, a Black female appeared on CNN and vowed to get much needed answers on the Gray death.

By the time we got to April 27th, when Gray was laid to rest, the lack of information and the appearance of another sanctioned killing of an unarmed Black man manifested itself as anger, frustration and ultimately rioting.

Many point to a confrontation between youthful protestors which encountered police at Mondawmin Mall in northwest Baltimore as the start of several days of tumult.  Protesters exchanged glares with police and hurled rocks and bottles and before anyone knew it at least seven officers were injured and countless stores, including a now infamous CVS and cars were set ablaze.

The Baltimore Orioles baseball team cancelled a scheduled game with the Chicago White Sox just a half an hour before the start of the contest. Fans in attendance at Camden Yards were held inside and shown a movie as violence gripped the “Charm City.”

The next day both teams would resume their seasons by participating in a historic game without fans, because fans were prohibited from the park due to safety concerns.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan eventually called in State Police and placed the local National Guard on stand-by when protests lingered into a second and third day.

By April 28 a citywide curfew was invoked and tensions seemed to ease as the protests eased into their second week.

In an odd turn of the douche bag, a Baltimore mother, Toya Graham, became a social and mainstream media star after being filmed chastising her son, who allegedly was seen throwing rocks at police during the height of the civil unrest.

Graham was interviewed on all of the networks, visited The View and chopped it up with the likes of Greta Van Susteren and Anderson Cooper.

Momma Graham’s disciplinary tale served as much sought after distraction during the the lack of information parade just after Gray’s death. For the city establishment it was the smoke screen it needed to denounce the civil unrest.

Baltimore Police Chief Anthony Batts praised Graham’s slapping and yelling at her son, stating he wished he had more parents who took charge of their children during the unrest. Batts oddly, was mum on how Gray was killed while in his custody.

In the end, 20 police officers were injured and more than 200 people were arrested during the unrest.

Tensions were further stoked when the head of the Baltimore Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 3 referred to the mostly Black protesters as “a lynch mob.”

“While we appreciate the right of our citizens to protest and applaud the fact that, to date, the protests have been peaceful, we are very concerned about the rhetoric of the protests,” the Baltimore Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 3 said in a statement issued Wednesday.

“In fact, the images seen on television look and sound much like a lynch mob in that they are calling for the immediate imprisonment of these officers without them ever receiving the due process that is the constitutional right of every citizen, including law enforcement officers.” – Baltimore FOP.

Although it was obvious to most people in Baltimore that Freddie Gray not receiving his due process was the actual reason for the protests, that point had somehow been lost on the FOP and gave it the time to enter the obligatory douche defense which paints the six city officers as victims in Gray’s death.

By the end of the month, protests were sprouting up all across the country. Cities from New York to Albuquerque, New Mexico and Seattle, Washington participated in support rallies for the answers in the Gray investigation.

During a unity rally In NYC on April 30, more than 100 protestors were arrested for disorderly offenses after city police blocked off areas and created ground rules for the demonstration.

Wanna Bumble with the (Mos)B(y)?

The B with by whom police had to ponder bumbling was Maryland State Attorney General Marilyn J. Mosby, Esq.

Mosby, who in future days may be seen as the Thurgood Marshall of this monumental reform of police activities, stepped forward in the post Eric Garner/Michael Brown era , took just days to announce charges against the six Baltimore police officers and moments to make history.

The 35-year-old state Attorney General, who had just four months on the job, made her announcement on May 1, 2015 – just about two weeks after Gray ended a short stint in police custody with a long term trip to eternal sleep.

Mosby was outspoken in her push for justice and answers in the Gray case and announced indictments and suspensions for all officers involved in the arrest, which her office deemed illegal as soon as she received the Medical Examiner’s Office report and after police had submitted all of their findings.

The Attorney General noted that the arrest of Gray itself was illegal and without cause and her office would continue to investigate the matter even after receiving initial reports from the M.E. and police. He announcement seemed to mark a new calm in what had been a very turbulent period for “B-more.”

 bmoresix

Mosby listed Lt. Brian Rice, 41; Sgt. Alicia White, 30; Officers William Porter, 25; Garrett Miller, 26; Edward Nero, 29 and Caesar Goodson, 45 as the six members of the Baltimore P.D. involved in Gray’s fatal ride.

By month’s end the six officers involved in the Gray death were charged with murder, manslaughter and indifference to human life.

Driver Caesar Goodson received the most serious charge of involuntary manslaughter and second-degree depraved heart murder, which alludes to indifference to Gray’s life.

Almost unheard of in past investigations involving the deaths unarmed citizens at the hands of police, the FOP immediately went to work on the normal centrifuge. Mosby was vilified as not being impartial and ambitious.

The six city officers were arrested and later released on bail that ranged from $250,000 to $350,000 each.

Baltimore FOP released a statement through its attorney Michael Davey, Esq.: “The actions taken today by the state’s attorney are an egregious rush to judgement. We believe that these officers will be vindicated, as they have done nothing wrong.”

Soon the pressure from the FOP was ratched up and it was suggested that Mosby recuse herself from the case. Baltimore FOP President Gene Ryan suggested that Mosby’s presiding over the case was a conflict of interest because the Gray family attorney had been a political supporter during her successful run for Attorney General in 2014.

Mosby rejected all requests for recusal and brushed off the conflict of interest implications. Her next action would bring further scrutiny and also be rebuffed.

Rally4Peace

 

princerally4peaceAt the other end of the douche-o-sphere there appeared an unexpected moment of cool when tempers were at their hottest. Minnesota born and bred rock star and current ambassador of Purple funk, Prince spied the turbulence in Maryland and decided to jump on his motorcycle and put the whole situation on chill.

His majesty pulled together an impromptu concert entitled “Baltimore Rally4Peace” to bring attention to Gray’s death and to strike a blow against a broken legal system.

Held at Royal Farms Arena, fans attending the two-and-a-half hour concert all dressed in gray to memorialize Freddie. Prince also used the occasion to unveil a newly minted recording entitled “Baltimore” as a call for justice and peace in the fight against police violence.

Backed by his latest project 3rd Eye Girl, the purple one was joined by old compadre Doug E. Fresh to cool tempers and to make a step towards fixing a broken law enforcement system in Baltimore.

During the show, Prince invited Mosby up on stage and the seemingly innocuous move re-ignited a douchey campaign against the state Attorney General.

Mosby’s attendance at the concert and appearance on stage was scrutinized as inappropriate by the legal team representing the six officers. Even her possession of a ticket was questioned as against the rules of good taste.

Mosby later explained to her detractors that her $200-a-piece tickets were a Mother’s Day gift from her husband. A portion of the proceeds from the affair were dedicated to Baltimore youth-based charity organizations. All tickets ranged in price from $22 to $497.

The first hour of the concert was aired on Jay Z’s new streaming service Tidal.

In the end, the death of Gray, which has happened post Eric Garner and Michael Brown, may be the first time the justice system is forced to work.

The U.S. Department of Justice, now led by newly appointed Loretta Lynch, has joined the investigation into policing in Baltimore and the death of Freddie Gray. The U.S. investigation will focus on the pattern or practices of the department.

Ironically, both investigations will be led by two attorneys who are historically significant African-American female. Both sistah’s, may be the American justice systems best bet at ending hundreds of years of missteps.

The outcomes of both investigations may in fact set the tone for how policing will be handled in the future.

Although it appears the combination of body cameras and the citizen documentation of police incidence of violence is making a case for change in recent days, it does not stop us from recognizing the death of another young, unarmed black man at the hands of police in April of 2015.

So, while Baltimore cooks up the blowback of Freddie Gray’s death and the indictment of six of its officer, we handout our coveted prize to law enforcement and their union representatives again. We may never know how an untethered 25-year-old wound up with a severed spine, but we do know it was not self-inflicted and it did not go un-noticed.

We also know Baltimore is in the middle of one of its most violent years and according to the Baltimore Sun newspaper, “the city has paid about $5.7 million over the past four years to settle more than 100 cases of allegations of police wrongdoing.”

Be it in Ferguson, New York, Cleveland, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Charleston, S.C., Tulsa, Oklahoma or in this case Baltimore, it appears the times they may be a changing and for the first time ever – Black Lives Matter.

Hey B-more police – you are the Boom Bap Radio Douchey McDouche Bag Award winners for the month of April 2015, enjoy your prize – you brutalizing, non-tethering, insensitive douches!!!

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One thought on “Freddie’s Dead – That’s What I Said”

  1. Shouldn’t we just assume America’s increasingly militarized and always racist police force will win or be a top contender of “the Douchey McDouche Bag” award?

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