Every day can be 'jump-out Tuesday'

Nobody on the panel knew what "jump-out Tuesdays" were.

Not Baltimore State's Attorney Patricia C. Jessamy. Not Councilman Kenneth N. Harris Sr. Not Del. Keith E. Haynes or Tara Andrews, a candidate for a state Senate seat in the 40th District. Not Kevin A. Brooks, another state Senate candidate. Not even Andrey Bundley, the former principal of Walbrook High School who said he's making another run for the mayor's office.


A short black man who had graying hair and was wearing a white T-shirt posed the question Wednesday night at First Greater Church of God Apostolic, where the Rev. Jeffery Mitchell serves as pastor. The questioner was there for a town hall meeting about police arrest quotas in Baltimore. Or, if you believe Commissioner Leonard D. Hamm and his loyal legion of spokesmen and spokeswomen, arrest policies that are nothing like quotas.

Few panel members or members of the audience appeared to believe the Police Department's version of reality. Especially that man asking about jump-out Tuesdays, who disappeared into a balmy summer night before the town hall meeting ended.


So today, class, part of our civics lesson will deal with this matter of jump-out Tuesdays.

The "jump-out boys" are cops, of course, according to street lingo. Akin, I suppose, to "Five-Oh," "The Man" and "Po-Po." So I guess jump-out Tuesdays would be Tuesdays in which the jump-out boys hop out of their cars and run buck wild. Or, as the questioner described jump-out Tuesdays, "They jump out the car, two or three of them, and lock you up."

A man who didn't want to be identified attempted to clear up the matter of jump-out Tuesdays on the church steps after the town hall meeting. He said that jump-out Tuesdays used to be, in fact, jump-out Tuesdays and jump-out Thursdays. Now there are jump-outs every day, called "daily initiatives," according to the man.

It is possible, of course, for cops to jump out and make perfectly valid arrests. But those weren't the kinds of arrests panelists and audience members were talking about at the town hall meeting. They were talking about the staggering number of arrests in Baltimore, especially for petty crimes that could just as well be handled by civil or criminal citations.

And then there are the arrests that can be described as nothing but "jive humbles."

Hamm knows what a jive humble is. He grew up during the era in which the term became popular. There has never been a precise definition of "jive humble." Folks just know one when they see one. Perhaps the best example came in the 1969 movie Putney Swope, in which the token black on a corporation's board of directors - Swope - is elected chairman of the board, to the astonishment and dismay of his white fellow board members.

"We all voted for him," one board member said, "because we thought no one else would vote for him." Throughout the rest of the film, one of Swope's employees constantly reminds him that he "got voted in here on a jive humble."

Ah, the jive humble! An occurrence or a set of circumstances that never should have happened but somehow did.


The Rev. Charles Neal and his wife, Dana Neal, told of their experience with a "jive humble" arrest. Charles Neal said he was stopped while driving his car and arrested for driving with a suspended license. Mr. Neal said his license was not suspended.

Neal is the pastor of Dayspring Worship Center in Pikesville.

Mitchell said his son was stopped while driving choir members home. Cops refused to let the younger Mitchell get his license and registration from the trunk of the car and arrested him and impounded his car, which was later sold for $50 at an auction.

Gee, Baltimoreans, aren't you just feeling safer now?

Jump-out Tuesdays. Pardon me, jump-out Tuesdays and Thursdays. No, make that "daily initiatives." Ministers arrested. Their sons who drive choir members home arrested. Meter maids detained.

Oops, my bad. Police Department spokesmen have previously said they're really sorry about that last one.


Matt Jablow, a spokesman for the department, scoffed at the notions of jump-out Tuesdays or Thursdays and daily initiatives.

"I've never heard of it," Jablow said of jump-out Tuesdays. "It doesn't exist. It's totally absurd." Jablow went on to say that police receive about 1 million calls a year. About half of those, he said, are for "quality-of-life" crimes.

"People are asking us to solve those problems in their communities," Jablow said, emphasizing that arrests are down about 8 percent this year and that violent crime is down 5 percent. "That's what we've done. That's what we'll continue to do."

Mitchell hinted that he expects arrests to be made, both for violent crimes or quality-of-life crimes, and that some law-abiding folks might even get caught in the net.

"Collateral damage is expected," Mitchell said, "but not in the numbers we're seeing." Charles Neal and Mitchell's son might have been part of that "collateral damage."

Now if only the cops could explain how arresting either one of them improved our quality of life or reduced violent crime.