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DOJ Order to Baltimore Cops: Fix the Pronoun, Forget the Murder

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The desperate need for Jeff Sessions to turn DOJ's Civil Rights Division upside down has never been on more vivid display than in the juxtaposition of the following stories.

In the first, we see that, under DOJ's consent decree with crime-ridden Baltimore, one subject of considerable attention is the need for police to use the correct pronoun when they interact with citizens.  PowerLine repeats the relevant portion of the decree:

Ensure that BPD officers address and in documentation refer to all members of the public, including LGBT individuals, using the names, pronouns, and titles of respect appropriate to the individual's gender identity as expressed or clarified by the individual. Proof of the person's gender identity, such as an identification card, will not be required. 

To the best of my knowledge (readers please correct me if I'm wrong), there has not been a single episode of murder, robbery or mugging in Baltimore's 288 year history because the police used the wrong pronoun in referring to a gay, bi, or transgender person.

The second story provides a different slant on what Baltimore police might attend to instead of pronouns.


The story is captured in the NYT's headline: "The Numbers Behind Baltimore's Record Year in Homicides."  The subhead is, "Searching for answers in the the deadliest year in Baltimore's history."

The short of it is this:  In 2015, Baltimore had 344 murders, the most in its history, and a 63% increase from the year before.  Last year, things got only very slightly better.  There were 318 murders; the murder rate was roughly 55 killed per every 100,000 population --  that being more than ten times the national murder rate of 4.9 per every 100,000 population.

It is against this backdrop  --  a murder festival unlike any the city has ever seen, and vastly bloodier than the rest of the country is experiencing  --  that Barack Obama's Justice Department spent weeks or months negotiating a consent decree to insure  --  ready now  --  that Baltimore's transgender people would be referred to by the police as either "he" or "she," as "he" or "she" might prefer, if that preference were known, or, for that matter, if the police were even aware that there might be a question. 

One need not take great heed of the commonplace that police ought routinely to be respectful toward citizens in order to understand that the thinking behind this focus is  --  how shall I say this?  --  crazy.

The city is awash in blood.  "Murder crisis" hardly captures it.  The huge majority of its victims, and the victims of other violent crime, are African American, and the huge majority of them are neither gay, bi, nor trans. Under those circumstances, and assuming arguendo the debatable proposition that the federal government has any role to play in local policing  --  the idea that what needs a federal fix in Baltimore is the pronouns cops use with gay and transgender people is beyond rational belief.

The Justice Department needs a return to its primary law enforcement function, as the Attorney General said when he took office.  But before that can happen, the first thing it needs is a return to basic sanity.


2 Comments

"Ensure that BPD officers address and in documentation refer to all members of the public, including LGBT individuals, using the names, pronouns, and titles of respect appropriate to the individual's gender identity as expressed or clarified by the individual. Proof of the person's gender identity, such as an identification card, will not be required."

We are entering a world where the government can force individuals to make statements that are categorically false. To perpetuate a lie. Unbelievable.

Just curious. What could be done to the B'more PD if individuals or a group of individuals refuse to comply?

What could be done to the B'more PD if individuals or a group of individuals refuse to comply?
Hopefully nothing. This was a last second consent decree pushed through before Trump's inauguration (and the 'last second' aspect was conceded by NYT, among others) that Sessions has been vocal about trying to rescind/reverse.

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