Baltimore PD: Always Carry a Toy Gun In Case You Need to Plant One

Lloyd Fox/TNS via ZUMA

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The fuck?

The Baltimore Police Department is currently in court over one of the biggest scandals in the history of American law enforcement. You want robbery? How about the story of the corrupt squad stopping a drug dealer during a traffic stop and robbing him of $6,500, then going to the man’s home without a warrant and taking another $100,000 out of a safe?

Maybe you should read about how Maurice Ward had a technique of driving fast at groups of people, slamming on the brakes and chasing whoever ran. Perhaps you hear how [Wayne] Jenkins believed that all young men with backpacks were dope boys. Or people who drove Honda Accords with tinted windows. And then there’s the revelation that the supervisor of the [elite Gun Trace Task Force] instructed officers to carry a toy gun just in case they found themselves “in a jam” and needed to plant one. When one of the officers, Marcus Tayor, was arrested, officials couldn’t figure out why he had a toy gun in his glove compartment.

That’s from Michael Harriot at The Root. It’s mostly based on reports in the Baltimore Sun, which passes along reaction from the black community:

Christopher Ervin, who founded the re-entry group The Lazarus Rite, said the Gun Trace Task Force allegations are “shocking for people who don’t live in those communities.”

“In the black community, this is not shocking at all,” Ervin said. “You get a chorus of, ‘We’ve been saying that.’ ”

All by itself this is a huge scandal, of course. But what do you think are the odds that dozens or hundreds of other officers knew all about this and never said a word? That’s the no-snitch culture at work. These folks always have one grievance after another, but they have only themselves to blame for making it so hard to clean up the police community and make it safe for everyone.

Oh wait. Where have I heard that before?

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THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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