“The only thing that can work to fundamentally change the system for Black people – whether in the 21st century or the Sixties – is mass organization for popular empowerment.”
It’s been nine months since the Black youth of Ferguson, Missouri, set history in motion with their demand for justice for Michael Brown, yet the “movement” has maintained its momentum while the forces of Tom Foolery and collaboration are on the defensive. In Baltimore, the young Black State’s Attorney gave the people what they had so loudly demanded, but didn’t expect to get: serious charges against the six cops directly involved in Freddie Gray’s death, with one officer facing up to 30 years in prison for 2nd degree “depraved heart” murder – a potential template for future “depraved indifference” charges against killer cops. Thirty-five year-old Marilyn Mosby became an instant icon for millions when she concluded her announcement of the charges with a salute to Black youth: “You’re at the forefront of this cause, and as young people, our time is now.”
It was not Allen Bullock’s time. The 18 year-old succumbed to pressures from his family to turn himself in to police, and was promptly locked up in lieu of $500,000 bail on charges of rioting and destruction of property – substantially higher than the $350,000 bail set for the four officers charged with manslaughter and murder of Freddie Gray, and twice as high as the two cops facing misdemeanor counts in Gray’s death. Maryland’s top public defender appealed to private lawyers to represent the hundreds arrested during last week’s rebellion, and pleaded for affordable bail. “This is a poor community. Putting high bonds on those who cannot afford even nominal bonds sends the wrong message—that if you have money you get released—and may fan the flames of frustration,” said Paul DeWolfe. But judges continued to set high bail, including $100,000 for a man accused of stealing 130 bottles of vodka. Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, who had earlier lamented that her city was being “destroyed by thugs,” and then later apologized for her remarks, reiterated Wednesday morning that more arrests would be forthcoming as police poured over video evidence.