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.
Baltimore City is not unlike many inner cities throughout the country where unemployment rates for black youth tops 50 percent, and black adult unemployment hovers around 20 percent. Blight saturates neighborhood.
Across a diverse set and on a growing number of streets across America, police have lost credibility. In some neighborhoods like mine, this amounts to mere dissatisfaction; in others, policing as an institution lacks legitimacy. Much work must be undertaken to restore trust, but none of it will happen if the media insist upon undermining their credibility as well.
Were you shocked at the disruption in Baltimore? What is more shocking is daily life in Baltimore, a city of 622,000 people, 63 percent of whom are African-American. Here are 10 numbers that tell some of the story.
My heart is bleeding for the people of Baltimore and other communities who are struggling with challenges. We have been paying attention to police violence in Maryland for some time. While we focus on disability issues, we are all a part of our community overall.
Only when we recognize the common humanity that we all share will we all be free. We cannot treat one another as if we can do without the other. We are too interconnected.
I once introduced a best-selling thriller writer at a reading here in Michigan and mentioned -- among other things -- that he was a finalist for some award. When he got to the podium he quipped, "You know what a finalist means, don't you? It means you didn't win."
I'm always wary of the argument that all problems can and should be solved at home. I think that takes some of the responsibility off of other institutions that can bring about social change yet drastically need reform. But the role of parents and families is an important one -- particularly in the prevention of racial discrimination.
The complexity of our problems should not mask the simplicity of the solution. We are a people who are desperately afraid of everything. The root cause of police brutality rests solely in our own fear.
Mexico is facing significant domestic as well as international pressure over its record on human rights in recent years. The issue has come to the forefront following an investigation by the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Juan E. Méndez.
I was left with the same quandary as ever: How will things ever change? How will human society let go of violence -- "good violence," which is the most seductive and most destructive of all -- when its utterly crucial necessity permeates the media, permeates collective thought?
Bad police tactics can lead to bad shootings. Poor planing and a lack of communication between partner officers can lead to excessive force or even deadly force. An inability to empathize and relate to the community served can also lead to devaluation of a human life.