BALTIMORE — Both sides at the trial of Officer William Porter cast light on a tattered relationship between law enforcement in Baltimore and its citizens.
The city’s history is rife with allegations, investigations and lawsuits over how people are treated on the street, at police stations and in jail.
A summary of recent problems:
‘THE MOST VIOLENT AND ADDICTED CITY IN AMERICA’
Former Mayor Martin O’Malley, now a Democratic presidential candidate, championed aggressive policing policies from 1999 to 2007 to fight open-air drug markets in what he called “the most violent and addicted city in America.” Critics say his actions deepened the divide between police and citizens.
Dondi Johnson was seriously injured during a police van ride in 2005 and died two weeks later. His family received $219,000. In a 2004 case, Jeffrey Alston and the city settled for $6 million after he emerged from a police van, paralyzed from the neck down.
An investigation by The Baltimore Sun last year revealed the city had paid roughly $5.7 million in police brutality settlements since 2011, involving 102 instances of excessive force.
The U.S. Justice Department announced in May a wide-ranging investigation into the police, searching for any discriminatory practices, excessive force and unconstitutional searches and arrests. The results are expected next year.
The state this year closed the Baltimore City Detention Center, which it had run since 1991, after decades of complaints about crowding and unsafe conditions. In 2013, more than 40 people, including 13 female guards, were indicted on racketeering and drug charges. One inmate was named as the leader of a drug-smuggling gang.
Baltimore’s homicide rate is soaring this year to 329 killings as of Thursday evening, approaching the 1993 record of 353 deaths.
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