On Tuesday night, the New York Times published a scathing report from the Department of Justice that found Baltimore police routinely discriminated against blacks, often using excessive force without reason. The report, which will be issued by the DOJ on Wednesday, was conducted in the wake of Freddie Gray, an unarmed Baltimore man that died while handcuffed to the back of a van in police custody. None of the six officers involved in his arrest and transport will receive jail time.
The findings in Baltimore echo the DOJ report conducted in Ferguson last year after Michael Brown’s death provoked national attention and lengthy protests. The anecdotes, should you read the report, might be shocking. But, this is only assuming you’ve never watched “The Wire” or listened to black people — a Gallup poll found that only 37% of blacks have a “great deal” of confidence in the police. Otherwise, stories like these might be shockingly familiar:
- The police frequently performed unconstitutional strip searches and arrests. Examples include ordering a woman to disrobe after a routine traffic stop (pg 33) and arresting an individual for “loitering” while he was talking with his brother, even though loitering falls far short of the requirements necessary for an arrest. (38)
- One officer threatened to throw a black teen into the water and “feed [him] to the crabs” then sell those crabs, fattened off his corpse, to his family. (68)
- An email between a Baltimore prosecutor and a police officer, in which the prosecutor calls the victim a “conniving little whore (pardon my language).” The officer’s response? “Lmao! I feel the same.” (123)
- Shamefully callous handling of concerns from transgender individuals, including refusal to search people with officers sharing their gender identity. (124)
- Interviews with officers found an “us-versus-them” mindset completely “incompatible with community policing.” (pg 158)
The scandal, besides, you know, all the scandals in the 163-page report, is that black people have been bringing the same critiques well before this study. Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” speech is as strident about the “unspeakable horrors of police brutality” as it was celebratory about someday becoming “free at last.” And yet, protests in cities like Ferguson and Baltimore are derided. Riots dismissed as pure anarchy, devoid of any deeper, chronic, breach of contract from the institutions that supposedly serve said communities. Perhaps the viral power of the internet and the costly probing of the federal government will verify what black people insist is real.
Jason is the cofounder of the iconic non-profit Invisible Children which was founded to increase awareness of the horrendous activities of the LRA in Central Africa. Jason was also the director of the iconic Kony 2012 film that took the world by storm. In this two-part interview Jason and Branden talk about what it means to create a movement, what Jason experienced during his breakdown and subsequent recovery, and Jason’s experience in the world of theater.
Aharon Rabinowitz is the head of marketing for Red Giant based in New York City. During our conversation, we discussed the importance of work life balance, his start as a production intern at Sesame Street and why artist’s feel personally offended when you reject their work.
United gets their cheap on, fake news, and Trump hired who?
Welcome to Episode IV. This week, Dan spends some time with his favorite singer/songwriter, Matthew Perryman Jones. Matthew and Dan talk about panic attacks, growing up in Atlanta, the way music is informed by pain and suffering and the way music gives freedom.
If you have spent any time watching television in the last decade you have most likely heard one of Mattew’s songs on shows like Grey’s Anatomy, Pretty Little Liars, One Tree Hill and many others. His insightful writing and voice have drawn comparisons to Leonard Cohen and Jeff Buckley, and he is on the short list of songwriters who skillfully weave the deeply philosophical and the vivid utterly human without ever losing sight of either.
To get his new album Cold Answer, (which features the three songs from him you heard on this episode), visit MPJmusic.com.
Branden sits down with writer and speaker Tyler Huckabee days after Donald Trump was elected President of the United States to talk about empathy, justice, listening, and where we go from here.
Special Election Edition, President Trump to legalized weed and everything in between.
This week we reflect on the election and discuss our strategies for staying sane.
Luca and Ilenia are the founders of Illo, a studio based in Turin, Italy. During our conversation, we discussed their self-driving video bot named Algo, how Illo was formed and how they’ve crafted a unique office culture.
This week we discuss Beyonce’s night at the CMAs, last minute election plans and how SNL might save us all.
We appreciate everyone sticking with us through this long hiatus but are planning our return even as we speak, with a bunch of new goodies and an updated format. In the meantime, here’s a brief primer on Marvel’s Sorcerer Supreme, Doctor Strange — just so you can go into the movie knowing what you’re getting yourself into.