News Release

Baltimore: Who are the Thugs?


baltimore protestMARSHALL “EDDIE” CONWAY, eddie at, @TheRealNews
STEPHEN JANIS, stephenjanis at
JAISAL NOOR, jaisal at
Conway, Noor and Janis are producers with The Real News — an independent news organization based in Baltimore that is regularly posting new reports, interviews and other segments. Recent reports include: “How One Baltimore Community Reduced Murders Without the Police” and “Baltimore Bloods, Crips: We Don’t Need Police, We Protect Our Own.”

Conway is a former Black Panther leader in Baltimore who recently completed a 44-year prison sentence. His latest report is: “Mainstream TV’s Attention to Property Destruction Overshadows Killing of Freddie Gray.”

Janis wrote the book You Can’t Stop Murder: Truths About Policing in Baltimore and Beyond. His most recent report is: “Police Commissioner Says No New Evidence of Force-Related Injuries to Freddie Gray.”

Noor grew up in Baltimore. His most recent report is “Community Has Minimal Confidence in Freddie Gray Investigation, Says Baltimore Pastor.”

JARED BALL, imixwhatilike at
Ball is associate professor of communication studies at Morgan State University and author of I MiX What I Like: A MiXtape Manifesto and A Lie of Reinvention: Correcting Manning Marable’s Malcolm X. His most recent segment for The Real News is: “‘Thugs,’ ‘Hooligans,’ and ‘Riots,’ Challenging Narratives with Dominque Stevenson,” which gets an “eye-witness account on the events that precipitated Monday’s #BaltimoreUprising.” Says Stevenson: “The city government made a choice to escalate the situation, which is what they did. They escalated it. They were circulating rumors all day long, and those kids in the school were hearing different rumors than the rumors that the police were circulating outside, where they’re talking about the gangs threatening them. … The way that people are using ‘thug’ and the way that term is coming out of their mouths it sounds like a euphemism for ‘nigger’ to me.”

AJAMU BARAKA, ajamubaraka2 at
Baraka is an associate fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies who is based in Colombia. He is also an editor and columnist for Black Agenda Report. He just wrote the piece “Baltimore and the Human Right to Resistance: Rejecting the Framework of the Oppressor.”

Rev. GRAYLAN S. HAGLER, gshagler at
Hagler is with the Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ in Washington, D.C. He has been on the ground in Baltimore and is currently at the state capital in Annapolis, working on issues related to what is happening in Baltimore. He said today: “I was born and raised in Baltimore. My grandmother’s house — where I was raised — is just four blocks from where much of the attention is now. This was a thriving neighborhood when I grew up there, it now looks like a bomb hit it. Meanwhile, money is pouring into the Inner Harbor and the casinos in Baltimore.”

He recently wrote on Facebook: “Media may call it rioting, but the confrontations are targeted against law enforcement. It is clear that law enforcement has created such animosity and anger among young Black males here in [Baltimore] that the killing of Freddie Gray was the proverbial straw to break the camels back. Also, [Baltimore] political leaders cannot speak with any moral authority because they have presided all these years over increasingly devastated neighborhoods, unemployment and despair.”

See: “Despite Campaign Promises, Casinos, Not Schools, Are Big Winners When Gambling Profits Are Tallied.”