In 1973, between the first two Godfather films, Al Pacino hung his hat on another iconic film and character of '70s cinema. The film was Serpico, based on the true story of New York City Police Detective Frank Serpico who, in 1971, broke the code of silence.
The first day of May seemed to mark a turning point in the story of Freddie Gray, the Baltimore man who died of a severe spinal injury incurred while in police custody. His death set off a wave of protests that turned violent this past week.
'Why?' It's the most useful one word sentence in the English language. It's how we begin the search for causes, for understanding, for truth. We have to figure out why something happened before we can figure out how to make change going forward.
During my childhood I was aware that I was different in color from the majority of people around me, but my father and mother emphasized brainpower, not color. Color was what you were, but not using your brain was a choice.
The curfew has been lifted in Baltimore. But the poverty remains, and so does the death and injury it brings. Structural violence is the deepest and deadliest form of violence in our country, and it is a byproduct of inequality. Until it is addressed, simmering tensions may continue to erupt into open conflicts like Baltimore's -- or worse.
Being out past curfew was against the law for slaves in the colonies. Should slaves have respected the law and brought about change through legal means?
Police, at this point in my children's lives, continue to represent and practice safety, assistance, respect and justice. But I know the day is coming when my children will stop being adorable little kids who garner high-fives and smiles and compliments from adults.
More cartoons by Mike Smith....
Too many are the voices that scream for the riots to stop, and too few are those who implore for the injustice to cease.
The GOP can never pass up an opportunity to make themselves look like complete buffoons, and a protest following the funeral for Freddy Gray, who died from a severe spinal cord injury while in police custody, is no exception. Why display compassion, understanding, and leadership when you can jump on the opportunity to display disdain, contempt, and bigotry?
There's the strong suspicion that Gray's death was caused by his physical manhandling by police during the arrest. And while there was no apparent racial motive in their confronting and arresting Gray, that is not a hard and fast requirement for a Civil Right prosecution.
As residents of Maryland and the nation brace for what could potentially be another night of civil unrest in Baltimore, it is important to pause and reflect on what has brought us to the current moment.
Did you know police are allowed to seize and keep your cash, cars, real estate, and any other property -- even if you're never convicted or even charged with a crime? It's called civil asset forfeiture -- and if it sounds like legalized burglary, that's because it is.
There are reports on police officers' indifference about Freddie Gray, neglecting to buckle his seatbelt while he was in custody, and refusing to get him medical attention in a timely manner.
I believe most police officers are honorable and very good at their jobs. The difference with law enforcement, however, is that their rogue employees have the potential to cause terrible harm because they are armed with deadly weapons.