Baltimore: Black-Run America
Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh resigned last week after a corruption scandal. Miss Pugh is accused of making hundreds of thousands of dollars through a suspicious book deal with the University of Maryland Medical System. The black mayor sat on its board, which gave her a fat, no-bid deal on a children’s book.
The book, Healthy Holly, was widely and humorously mocked, and does not appear to have had any retail sales at all, but Miss Pugh made an estimated $800,000 from bulk purchases by groups that had reason to want good relations with city government. The university medical system alone bought 100,000 copies, of which 40,000 were never delivered to the hospital. Miss Pugh also got a huge discount on her house, thanks to a company that bought Healthy Holly in bulk.
At first, Miss Pugh defended herself. She held a bizarre press conference where she displayed baby bibs. Miss Pugh claimed the bibs were created along with her books to improve the health of toddlers. The only apparent health advantage of the bibs were the words “Let’s Eat Healthy” printed on them.
The press conference failed to stop criticism, and the mayor spent the entire month of April hiding. She claimed she had pneumonia and needed a rest. The FBI raided her home on April 25, and a week later she resigned. To the end, Miss Pugh had supporters who thought she did no wrong. Some of them held a prayer circle on her lawn the day before she resigned. All of the circlers were black.
The city had several corruption scandals while Miss Pugh was mayor.
Last year, police commissioner Darryl De Sousa resigned after holding the job for only a few months; he was facing three misdemeanor charges for failing to file federal tax returns from 2011 to 2015. Ms. Pugh had personally chosen a black cop to replace the previous white police commissioner with whom she had become impatient because he could not find the secret to making Baltimoreans stop killing each other. She said she knew about Mr. De Sousa’s tax troubles before she appointed him and thought they were no obstacle, but the feds have not been as understanding; he is going to jail for 10 months.
Baltimore has had four police commissioners since 2015.
In 2017, eight members of the nine-man Baltimore Gun Trace Task Force were found to be working with drug dealers and generally running amok. It’s estimated they stole $300,000 in cash, several pounds of cocaine and marijuana, and six-figures’ worth of jewelry. They also jimmied the overtime pay system. These revelations resulted in dozens of lawsuits against the city. Most of the bad cops were black.
Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby—also black—is mired in two lawsuits that allege she used her office to target political rivals. Mrs. Mosby is most famous for charging six officers for the death of Freddie Gray in 2015. The indictments were meant to appease rioters but only infuriated police and produced no convictions. It was during the Freddie Gray riots that then-mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake—also black—justified police restraint by explaining, “We also gave those who wished to destroy space to do that.”
The mayor’s office already had a reputation for corruption before Miss Pugh’s tenure. She narrowly beat former mayor Sheila Dixon in the 2016 election. Miss Dixon had to resign back in 2010 after she was convicted of embezzlement, and for accepting thousands of dollars in gifts and gift cards. Might she be a candidate in 2020? She posted a “Sheila Dixon for Mayor” image on Facebook last month but later claimed someone hacked her account.
Murder rose under Miss Pugh. In 2017—her first year in office—murders hit an all-time high of 343. The murder rate was 56 per 100,000 people—the highest rate for all cities with at least 500,000 people. Detroit was well behind with 40 per 100,000.
There has been a jump in killings since the Freddie Gray riots. After the Gray-related indictments, officers cut back on active policing; they frisked fewer drug dealers and stopped fewer cars. Even though the indicted officers were acquitted, their lives were ruined, and no one wanted to become a new target.
Miss Pugh signed a consent decree with the Department of Justice. President Obama’s DOJ accused Baltimore police of racial discrimination and excessive force, so the city promised to eliminate stop-and-frisk and to put officers through intensive “racial sensitivity” training. The result is more murders than ever and unhappy officers. Seventy-four percent of Baltimore cops say the consent decree makes their jobs harder.
Baltimore has some of the worst schools in America; one third of its high schools have no students proficient in math. It has an infrastructure “crisis” that will take tens of millions dollars to relieve. No wonder the city has had four straight years of population decline.
Baltimore has become a by-word for failure and violence. It’s also a city where nearly all of its leaders are black. It has had only one white mayor in 30 years. It’s the fifth-blackest major city in the nation, at 65 percent.
Charm City once had charm, but all the whites left. Now its only claim to fame is sports teams cheered on by suburban whites. Baltimore is a perfect example of black-run America.