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TODD K. MOHINK, PA Glen Burnie & Columbia Family & Criminal Lawyer

Race Relations and Police Confrontations in Baltimore

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Over the past few years, race relations have reached a tipping point in some regions of the country. Baltimore remains one of the more embattled cities in the U.S. As CNN reports, a 2015 evaluation based on a year-long monitoring project, the Department of Justice found that African-Americans were stopped and arrested at a disproportionate rate in the city, and even juveniles with mental health issues and mental disabilities were frequently subjected to excessive force.

At the Law Offices of Todd K. Mohink, P.A., we are committed to representing those accused of crimes and making sure that every defendant is afforded experienced representation. If you are charged with a crime, call Todd K. Mohink right away to get help with your case.

The Freddie Gray Impact 

Residents of Maryland are painfully aware of the tragedy surrounding the death of Freddie Gray, a young 25-year-old man who was arrested on suspicion of possessing an “illegal knife” in April of 2015. He suffered a fatal spinal cord injury while in police custody, which led significant public outcry. Since this time, the City of Baltimore has continued to struggle to gain the trust and support of an African-American community that often sees the police as a hostile outside force.

This regrettable and negative relationship has led to higher crime rates, especially in neighborhoods with less police presence. In fact, it’s a bit of a catch-22. On one hand, minority neighborhoods often distrust the police and will not report crimes. On the other hand, police often fail to adequately police those same neighborhoods. What results is higher crime and more gang presence.

DOJ Monitoring 

Following significant findings of racial bias, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) established a consent decree. According to the decree, the Baltimore Police Department was required to establish a monitoring team to oversee race relations and make effective police changes to improve relationships in the community.

Race-Based Arrests 

While it is a terrific step in the right direction to have a monitoring team in place, the sad reality is that false arrests and race-based arrests still happen at an alarming rate in Baltimore and nationwide. Even smaller communities like Anne Arundel and Howard Counties see a lot of these illegal arrests.

Common Pretexts For Police Stops 

When police make up an excuse for stopping or detaining a person for an illegal reason, it’s frequently called a pretext stop. It just means that the police are using a legal pretext or excuse for an otherwise illegal act. These can include:

  • Claiming you didn’t use a turn signal, when the real reason is driving while black
  • Claiming there was probable cause to search a trunk when your race was the sole reason for pulling you over in the first place
  • Claiming you looked suspicious, just because of your race and the neighborhood where you were stopped

What to Do After a Pretext Arrest 

Remember that on the street, the police have a lot of authority, but getting a conviction is much harder. If you have been charged with a crime and suspect that your arrest was based on race or some other illegal reason, you may have a strong argument for getting evidence excluded. Call the Law Offices of Todd K. Mohink, P.A. in Maryland today to find out more.

Resource:

cnn.com/2016/08/09/us/baltimore-justice-department-report/index.html

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