Officers from the Baltimore City Police Department on Saturday had to respond to a crowd of “rowdy young people” at the Inner Harbor (“Baltimore police union draws online criticism calling youths 'criminals' after Inner Harbor incident,” May 26). The controversy dealt with describing “some youths” as criminals after officers arrested several people while responding to a large gathering at the Inner Harbor.
The ACLU, I guess assuming that the crowd was mainly black, responded “Comments like this do nothing to repair that trust (between community members and police). Instead it encourages racial profiling tactics, excessive force, and excuses officers in advance for disregarding the rights of Black children.” Further on in the article, state Sen. Jill Carter, a Baltimore Democrat, tweeted that the FOP comment was “contemptible and utterly unaccept-able” and called for reform of the police department that would “deal with the culture of racism and inhumanity.” So obviously she also felt the crowd was mainly black kids.
It appears that there was fighting involved, destruction of property, reportedly one person was assaulted and police had to direct bystanders away from the intersections of Light, Calvert and Commerce Streets. According to another article, the crowd was estimated to be between 100 and possibly 400 kids. Democratic Councilman Eric Costello was told there is “video footage of kids running across East Pratt St on top of the hoods of cars.” Imagine that must have caused some damage.
So, regardless of the color of the youths, be they white, black, brown or even green, what do you call a group of kids acting like this? Restless young children out for a good time, misguided youths, or all the above — young, angry, misguided and restless youths? It appears that we have a problem in describing them and not a problem with the destruction they were causing. What terms would the ACLU use to describe the mob causing the problems? They called Mr. Mancuso’s description “UNACCEPTABLE,” so what is their term? I am sure they must have one? If not, what would they recommend?
My last point is that the mayor was “disappointed,” according to a spokesman from his office, and would have a conversation with Mr. Mancuso regarding the post. Perhaps he can also recommend some kinder terms for the police department to use. The spokesman further stated “we just have to be mindful of the type of language we use,” especially if you are a politician. Have to wonder why the mayor go to the Inner Harbor and handle the situation with the police? Opportunity for a great soundbite. Sounds like a new Healthy Holly book, “A hundred ways to describe a rowdy group of kids, disturbing the peace, and causing other problems without upsetting the ACLU or disappointing the mayor.” Can’t wait for that one to hit the streets.
Stas Chrzanowski, Baltimore