News Release

Baltimore: Policing and “Pathology of Murder”


freddie gray deathCNN is reporting this morning: “As protesters decrying Freddie Gray’s death plan more rallies in Baltimore on Thursday, anger is mounting over a police union’s comparison of the protest to a ‘lynch mob.’ … One video of Gray’s arrest shows officers dragging him to the paddy wagon, his legs dangling limply behind him.”

The Real News Network is based in Baltimore and has been doing a series of in-depth pieces on systemic issues in the city: “The Real Baltimore.”

JAISAL NOOR, jaisal at, @jaisalnoor
Noor is a host, producer, and reporter for The Real News Network and largely grew up in Baltimore. See his report on protests beginning just after the death of 25 year-old Baltimore resident Freddie Gray: “Baltimore Man Dies From Injuries Sustained While In Police Detention.” Earlier this year, he did a three part series: “Why Do We Kill? The Pathology of Murder in Baltimore,” where he interviews Stephen Janis and Kelvin Sewell.

STEPHEN JANIS, stephen at
Janis is an award-winning investigative reporter now with The Real News. He is author of two books exposing corruption and incompetence in the Baltimore police department, which examine the confluence of poverty, poor governance, and racial mistrust that fuels violence in the city: You Can’t Stop Murder: Truths About Policing in Baltimore and Beyond and Why Do We Kill?: The Pathology of Murder in Baltimore. The second book is co-written with Kelvin Sewell, a veteran Baltimore police officer and now chief of police of Pocomoke on the Eastern shore of Maryland, who recounts in an interview with The Real News how he’d ask suspects to recite the alphabet — none of the people he asked the question to who were convicted of murder were able to do so.

Janis’ recent storys include “The True Toll of Policing in Baltimore – The Arrest of a 7-Year-Old” and “A Walk Through The Neighborhood Where Freddie Gray Lived and Died,” in which he reports: “Last week before Freddie Gray’s death we happened to be in the neighborhood taking a tour of the conditions of Gilmor Homes where Freddie lived before he was killed by police. Gilmor Homes has suffered neglect from the city. Specifically, a basketball court. It was here that we met Lawrence Bell, former city council president, and talked about problems with the city, and the conditions that precipitate police brutality in the community.

“[Bell] was a man who could have been mayor, but his life took a different path when he lost a controversial election to a then-councilman and now presidential candidate Martin O’Malley in 1999. In many ways it was a loss that has defined the city since.” See also: “Unconstitutional Policing and the Toxic Relationship Between Cops and Baltimore Communities

Conway was a leader of the Baltimore chapter of the Black Panther Party and was released from prison on March 4, 2014 after having served 43 years and 11 months. He is currently a producer at the Real News Network. He has interviewed people who witnessed Gray’s detention by police and states that Gray was severely injured before the released video was shot.

In December, The Real News held a town hall: “Should the Community Control the Police?” Conway said then that the police department’s “primary mission is to protect wealth and property and to protect those people that are wealthy and that own that property. And the reaction in the community is to keep the community completely under control, those people that don’t have any wealth and don’t have any power. They have to maintain a certain level of control. And now what we’re seeing is there’s no jobs in the community for a large segment of people, so that means that there’s always going to be always some sort of sub-economy going on. There’s going to be illegal activity. And that activity has to be controlled, suppressed, and whatnot, so that it doesn’t go to the inner harbor or it doesn’t go to people of power. And so pretty much the mandate is to control.” Also see his interview: “What Can The People Do to Challenge Systemic Racism in Baltimore?” Other interviews with and by Conway are here.