Inappropriate Response To Police Detective's Death Reveals Baltimore's Dark Underbelly

Inappropriate Response To Police Detective's Death Reveals Baltimore's Dark Underbelly

Ordinary citizens should receive the same level of grief as police officers.

On November 16, a Baltimore City Police Detective named Sean Suiter was killed on the job.

His death has spurred much heartbreak and outrage in Baltimore, as well as arguably unconstitutional activity by the police. Ultimately, his death has revealed our city’s dark underbelly.

At the end of the day, someone was killed. Sean Suiter was a married father of five, and my heart goes out to his family. No one deserves to have a loved one ripped away from them in such a cruel and sudden way. Everything to follow in this article bears this in mind, and means no disrespect to the memory of the fallen or the loved ones he leaves behind.

But the fact is that this incident of violence – and the city’s response to it – reveals an astounding double standard when it comes to who and how we as a city grieve, how we view crime, and ultimately whose lives (and deaths) we value.

Baltimore is currently experiencing the highest homicide rates it's seen in years, with over 300 people having been killed so far in 2017. The intersection where Suiter was found dead has been the site of over a dozen shootings and killings in recent years.

When ordinary Baltimore residents – oftentimes young black men in disenfranchised neighborhoods – are killed, we move on like nothing ever happened. When a police officer is killed, it makes headlines across the state, a $215,000 reward is set in place for whoever finds the suspect, and police officers occupy the block where he was killed while wearing bullet-proof vests and openly carrying weapons, vowing to do whatever it takes to find the perpetrator.

Quite the contrast, no?

BPD Police Commissioner Kevin Davis acknowledges this disparity, but justifies it by saying: “When a cop is killed, that goes way beyond that murder. It’s an attack on American policing…Policing exists to serve our unique democracy, so that’s why the murder of a cop always has been and always will be something that’s absolutely unacceptable in a free society.” (Quote from the Baltimore Sun.)

I do not believe this to be a satisfying argument.

This might feel like a satisfactory response if Baltimore policing did indeed serve our unique democracy and if Baltimore police officers were known to protect the safety and liberties of the people. But the reality is that the Baltimore Police Department is known to be a corrupt and discriminatory institution. While there are certainly good cops who wish to make Baltimore safer, their efforts have clearly not been effective this year, as our crime rates are soaring.

While some may argue that this murder is different than those between ordinary civilians because regular residents killed throughout the year are more likely to be involved in illegal activity, talk to many Baltimore residents and they will tell you that police officers are just as likely – if not more likely – to be criminals than ordinary citizens.

This belief is not unfounded. After all, the U.S. Department of Justice’s 2015 investigation into the Baltimore Police Department concluded in what has been described as a damning report, saying: “We found that BPD has engaged in a pattern or practice of serious violations of the U.S. Constitution and federal law that has disproportionately harmed Baltimore’s African-American community and eroded the public’s trust in the police.”

While a consent decree was reached in a binding effort to address the deep-seated issues in the BPD, Baltimore residents have not exactly been given great reason to believe that it’s working. Since this consent decree, there have been several scandals within the Baltimore Police Department, from video footage of cops planting drugs, to federal indictments of several officers for robbing civilians of over $280,000 over the course of five years.

Just this month Officer Caesar Goodman Jr. received zero administrative consequences for being involved in the killing of Freddie Gray.

The police are ruthless; we know this to be true. As Keith Davis Jr.’s story tells us, they are especially ruthless when they are covering their tracks. This has led many Baltimore residents to question whether there’s something more happening beneath the surface in this case.

Why and how would an officer, an 18-year veteran, be killed with his own gun? And what was the “suspicious” behavior the officers observed that caused them to approach the supposed gunman?

Often, in Baltimore, being poor and black is enough for one to be labeled “suspicious.”

I personally am worried that the BPD will go to any lengths to say they have found the perpetrator, even if it means carelessly framing someone for a crime they did not commit. This could especially prove true if there was some foul play happening between these officers and the suspects.

I could be wrong; after all, I know very little about this man. But it remains true that the absolute, unquestioned reverence with which Suiter has been immediately treated by Baltimore is in stark contrast with the ambivalence most victims of violence in this city receive.

There is no reason for a neighborhood to become a militarized occupied territory. Residents should not have to show their IDs every time they want to enter their own homes or endure having their doors knocked on multiple times a day or being patted down by police officers.

Quite frankly? The occupation of the Harlem Park neighborhood feels less like a reputable institution carrying out a search for justice, and much more like an illegal gang terrorizing ordinary people in an effort to reassert their bruised dominance.

I called my mother and she said to me: “If the BPD cared about police brutality as much as they care about this, the issue would be over. Police violence would be no longer be a problem.”

She’s right.

If the BPD, and all Baltimore City elected officials, cared about ordinary citizens – especially black citizens – as much as they care about the police, our crime rates would be exponentially smaller. The victims of the 300+ homicides in Baltimore this year would have received just as much attention and compassion as Detective Suiter.

But Baltimore has made itself clear. The police, the government, and many of its (white) residents value the lives of police officers far more than they’ve ever cared about Baltimore’s ordinary people.

It’s time for this to end. Stop the police from terrorizing every-day citizens as they try to go about their lives. Maybe take some of that $215,000 reward and put it towards Baltimore City schools, or also finding the perpetrators of some of the other tragic shootings that have occurred this year.

As I said at the beginning of this article, my heart goes out to the loved ones of Sean Suiter, it really does. But enough is enough. To use the death of a police detective as an excuse to justify unconstitutional activity, such as we have seen in West Baltimore, is abhorrent. To pay attention to soaring homicide rates only when it affects those in positions of power is disgusting.

Baltimore has a dark underbelly. This week it has been revealed once again, for all to see.

Cover Image Credit: The Baltimore Sun

Popular Right Now

6 Things You Should Know About The Woman Who Can't Stand Modern Feminism

Yes, she wants to be heard too.


2018 is sort of a trap for this woman. She believes in women with all of the fire inside of her, but it is hard for her to offer support when people are making fools of themselves and disguising it as feminism.

The fact of the matter is that women possess qualities that men don't and men possess qualities that women don't. That is natural. Plus, no one sees men parading the streets in penis costumes complaining that they don't get to carry their own fetus for nine months.

1. She really loves and values women.

She is incredibly proud to be a woman.

She knows the amount of power than a woman's presence alone can hold. She sees when a woman walks into a room and makes the whole place light up. She begs that you won't make her feel like a "lady hater" because she doesn't want to follow a trend that she doesn't agree with.

2. She wants equality, too

She has seen the fundamental issues in the corporate world, where women and men are not receiving equal pay.

She doesn't cheer on the businesses that don't see women and men as equivalents. But she does recognize that if she works her butt off, she can be as successful as she wants to.

3. She wears a bra.

While she knows the "I don't have to wear a bra for society" trend isn't a new one, but she doesn't quite get it. Like maybe she wants to wear a bra because it makes her feel better. Maybe she wears a bra because it is the normal things to do... And that's OK.

Maybe she wants to put wear a lacy bra and pretty makeup to feel girly on .a date night. She is confused by the women who claim to be "fighting for women," because sometimes they make her feel bad for expressing her ladyhood in a different way than them.

4. She hates creeps just as much as you do. .

Just because she isn't a feminist does not mean that she is cool with the gruesome reality that 1 in 5 women are sexually abused.

In fact, this makes her stomach turn inside out to think about. She knows and loves people who have been through such a tragedy and wants to put the terrible, creepy, sexually charged criminals behind bars just as bad as the next woman.

Remember that just because she isn't a feminist doesn't mean she thinks awful men can do whatever they want.

5. There is a reason she is ashamed of 2018's version of feminism.

She looks at women in history who have made a difference and is miserably blown away by modern feminism's performance.

Not only have women in the past won themselves the right to vote, but also the right to buy birth control and have credit cards in their names and EVEN saw marital rape become a criminal offense.

None of them dressed in vagina costumes to win anyone over though... Crazy, right?

6. She isn't going to dress in a lady parts costume to prove a point.

This leaves her speechless. It is like the women around her have absolutely lost their minds and their agendas, only lessening their own credibility.

"Mom, what are those ladies on TV dressed up as?"

"Ummm... it looks to me like they are pink taco's honey."

She loves who she is and she cherished what makes her different from the men around her. She doesn't want to compromise who she is as a woman just so she can be "equal with men."

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

If You Voted to Take My Rights Away This Election, Block Me

I am an American just as you but I do not have time to be friends with Republicans.


You might find this harsh but…

I don't want to be friends with anyone who voted Republican this election.

What about friendship despite the odds? What about coexistence and tolerance? Why does it matter?

If you cannot support my rights as a woman, or my rights as a person of color, or my rights as a human being, I do not want to be your friend. If you do not support trans rights, reproductive rights, and #BlackLivesMatter, I do not want to be your friend. If you do not want to support Native Americans and indigenous peoples, if you do not want to support asylum seekers, if you do not want to support immigration, I do not want to be your friend.

I owe you nothing.

I know that this seems harsh, but if you sided with Donald Trump in the previous election, voted for Brian Kemp -a literal criminal- I do not owe you a single ounce of my energy.

Brian Kemp? A criminal, you say?

Voter suppression is an illegal act. Destroying ballots is an illegal act. Not sending power cords and broken machines to polling locations? Probably should be illegal.

This is not just because of a party difference, but I genuinely believe that we were cut from different cloths, raised differently, and have a different worldview.

I do not want to spend my time arguing with you. I do not want to spend my time telling you why I deserve rights. I do not want to spend time telling you why my brown brothers and sisters deserve rights. I do not want to tell you why my sisters of all shapes and sizes and colors should have bodily autonomy and the right to live freely. These things should be inherent.

I have spent so much time in my short life telling people that I deserve to be treated as any other human person that I am burned out. It is not my responsibility for me to make you "woke". Read some literature. Get woke.

I could care less if you voted Libertarian or Green Party or Democratic. I do not have it in me to argue with you on that, because you are entitled to vote however you choose -but the moment your party and your vote steps on my rights, I am not here to play nice.

My civil rights are not yours to take.

This midterm election is so important for many reasons. I did not wake up at 5:30 today with an alarm, rather, my body woke me up and let me know that today is a day of history.

So I extend my congratulations to all the new-elects. Many women of color today made history. I cannot wait to hear the results in Georgia, my home, and hopefully soon, the home of the first African American female governor of Georgia.

Related Content

Facebook Comments