… as the riots end and rioters find themselves punished by the courts, as will be appropriate, Maryland leaders ought to consider something like a second state of emergency, one declared because a police force that routinely perpetrates extra-legal violence on a community is no less incendiary a crisis than a CVS on fire. It is every bit as shattering as a brick thrown through a shopkeeper’s window. It should outrage Americans at least as much as a truly awful day of riots.
I’m of the belief that people riot for a reason, even if that reason doesn’t justify rioting, looting, or throwing rocks at the police. It’s still a reason, and I think it’s only logical to aggressively examine that reason when it leads to consequences this awful – both the death of someone at the hands of the state, and the resulting unrest. Friedersdorf makes a pretty compelling argument in this piece that the extent to which a significant subset of the Baltimore police force is willing to beat the living crap out of suspects and even bystanders (especially if they’re black) is that reason.
There are other people who think people riot just because they’re criminals, or because they’re violent – and that outside of that, there’s no real reason at all.
But if that were the case, there’d be riots every day, and there aren’t.