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Wednesday Open Thread

My blogging is light because I'm just finishing watching the last 24 episodes of Cartel de los Sapos (First Season.) In between episodes, I read about the real life persons the charaters are portraying, to see how closely the show follows their real lives In this case, it's closer than I would have thought. The first half of season two is arriving tomorrow, so I think I'll be buried in that in the evening. Thursday I leave for Aspen and Owl Farm and the NORML Legal Seminar. My topic this year: "Getting High With Someone Who Dies: Defending federal complicity charges in drug overdose cases." The penalty for is a 20 year mandatory minimum. Another law that needs to be changed.

This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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    Matt Taibbi has an excellent article (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by Anne on Wed May 27, 2015 at 06:46:06 AM EST
    in Rolling Stone, "Why Baltimore Blew Up," that is a good companion to a David Simon post at The Marshall Project I linked to a couple weeks ago.

    From the article:

    But Baltimore remains a place where police stop pedestrians, ask them for ID and sometimes take them for rides if they give the wrong answers. "First thing they say is, 'Gimme your ID,' " says Malik Ansar, 44, who's standing on the corner of Penn and North in the days after Freddie Gray's death. "They look and say, 'Oh, you live in ZIP code 21227. What you doing way over here?' "

    Ansar points at a run-down town house behind him. "You can tell him you were born in this house right here. They don't care. They say, 'You live here now?' And you say, 'No, man, I moved outta here 17 years ago.' And they say, 'What the fk you doing here now?' "

    The way residents like Ansar describe it, if you're not at the address listed on a photo ID, you go into the paddy wagon. But if you run, it's worse. "Then, it's an ass-whipping," says a nearby bystander. "Believe me, Freddie [Gray] knew he was gonna get an ass-whipping if he got caught. . . . Everybody knows that. It may not be a real bad one, but you gonna get one."

    So most people go along, which at minimum is a huge waste of time. Ansar's friend, who goes by the name of Big T, says if you get picked up at lunchtime, you're lucky if you make it to central booking by five. You spend the whole freaking day in that hot, cramped van.

    And once you get to booking? "You're spending the night," says Big T. "It's just them saying, 'We're gonna get you.' "

    Many of these "cases" of loitering, or disorderly conduct, or whatever, never amount to anything, and if they do, get dropped as soon as anyone with half a brain and a law degree sees the charging papers. But the endless regimen of street interrogations and "long rides" serves its own moronic purpose, being a clumsy, bluntly illegal method of intimidating residents and searching whole neighborhoods without probable cause.