As the story of Freddie Gray’s arrest and subsequent death continues to unfold, I find myself thinking about another young black man in Baltimore, with whom I crossed paths about a year and a half ago. I was a juror in his trial for multiple murder, drug, and gun charges.
You see, I live in Baltimore — in the city although in a corner that bears little resemblance to the neighborhood where Freddie Gray lived. But Baltimore is called “Smalltimore” for many reasons, among them the fact that traveling just a few blocks in one direction or another connects these very different neighborhoods. And nothing will bring residents together any more than sitting on a jury together.
Before I go into any more detail about my experience as a juror, let me be frank: as a whole, I don’t like the Baltimore City police. It’s true, I have had some…
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This is chapter II. To read from the beginning, go here.
“Isn’t he the Methodist preacher?” asked Danny Canada, shining his flashlight over Tom’s shoulder at the corpse’s pale face. “I been there to church a couple times, I think it’s him. J. W. somethin’.”
“Just a minute Danny, and I’ll let you check him for ID.” Tom’s tone was barely kind. Everything Danny said went through Tom like a bolt–and he wanted to slug him. Tom wasn’t sure why, but he hated Danny with a passion, and that created an ongoing problem. Each time there was anything from a traffic accident, to a domestic dispute, to a homicide (rare though they were) every “officer” in Silerville turned out. So Danny was there each time Tom was called in.
Danny was one of the four Silerville police officers, counting chief Dalton. Danny was 32 and still slept in…
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