Thursday at 10am, that’s what time the judge in the bench trial of Caesar Goodson was set to rule. Thursday at 10am, the third trial of the cops indicted in Freddie Gray’s murder. Gray was walking around his neighborhood that day in April 2015, and then he was chased by cops, dragged into a van, driven several stops, and arrived at the police station with a neck that “felt crumbly, like a box of rocks.” And yet here we are, more than a year later, a mistrial and an acquittal, and nobody thought this next decision would be anything but an acquittal. Folks are blaming the prosecutor, the police, the media, “the system,” and here we are, another acquittal announced 23 minutes late.
I had a bunch of meetings on Friday, so after spending the morning doing a wee bit of writing, I hopped on the bike and headed down to the west side to catch the shuttle to work. Because the police state that is Baltimore-under-curfew is confined to only certain neighborhoods, my ride downtown through Charles Village, Station North, and Mount Vernon was fairly cop-free, until I took the right and left toward Lexington Market. Continue reading
I didn’t get to do a whole lot of biking today, unfortunately, a bit of a bummer on this wildly beautiful spring afternoon in Baltimore. I had a longstanding appointment to bring my bike into the shop for some fancification, which meant enforced time sitting still. I didn’t like it, but I have needed it, and afternoon spent trying to concentrate again. And then I got the call from the bike shop–the Surly was ready for pick up–and off I headed to get the bike for a quick pedal. Continue reading
Here’s what I saw on my bike today. I saw my dentist in Waverly, people waiting for the bus at 33rd, the quick shift of neighborhoods from Greenmount to Barclay to Guilford, Calvert, and St. Paul. I saw the last round of flower trees by the art museum and Hopkins, and the bright greens of Gwynns Falls. I saw some guys playing basketball in Druid Hill Park, and three joggers making their way around the reservoir. I followed the sound of the police helicopter around the park, past the conservatory, and up to Liberty Heights Avenue where I took a left.
Saturday was a most excellent day to be on a bicycle. That’s hardly the point, but it’s just true: when there are multiple protests and rallies going on around the city, plus the rest of things to do on a weekend, a bike is the best way to move quickly and easily, especially as cops and cars start blocking entrances and exits. I thought about this, about how car culture makes protest culture that much harder because we become so easily immobilized, as I inhaled a stack of blueberry pancakes at the diner on the corner before biking over to Sandtown-Winchester for the first gathering of the day to remember Freddie Gray, killed by Baltimore City cops almost two weeks prior.
The weather was a trip yesterday, all gray skies and wind in between giant sunbeams and blue skies. The place cannot make up its mind, I swear. I stayed home early to catch up on work and work and more work before heading down the hill to an appointment. The skies looked ok, but the wind was whipping around more than I prefer when I’m making the weather choices. Afterward, I scarfed down a quick lunch and then grabbed the bike to head west and see how people are organizing spaces over there since the murder of Freddie Gray. Continue reading
Wednesday’s ride was all commute, happily since Monday’s rain-out meant a super crowded bus ride home. It was so crowded, in that way that reminds you how relative that whole “no touching” dictum is. I mean, if the kinds of physical contact happening on that Monday bus ride were to happen at the workplace, somebody’d be out of a job. Wednesday’s ride home was a different kind of slow slog, this one taking place right after I heard that Eric Garner’s killer was not indicted. That means the grand jury didn’t think there was enough evidence for any reasonable person to even possibly find the killer guilty of any kind of crime. It sucked the air right out of me, but I had the privilege for that to be a passing feeling, and I returned to breath, shallow for a bit, but there. Continue reading
Saturday’s ride was a short one, down the hill to find Baltimore’s Gay Pride Parade. They moved it this year, so it was all spread out and felt pretty empty, and it definitely felt more sober as the party wasn’t right in front of the bar. In fact, drinkers had to stand in line, get a wristband, and drink inside the beer cage. That took care of the vomiting in the gutters and alcoholic littering, sure, but it also meant, for me, that it felt a whole lot less organic and a whole lot more like a police-orchestrated public space. Continue reading
After a long day at work, I drove home, choked down a snack, and then hopped on the bike to head down to McKeldin Square to meet up with folks at Occupy Baltimore. Man, there was a lot going on there tonight, and it was complicated, and after a couple of hours it was time to head home and do some thinking. A police helicopter flew overhead as I left, and an unmarked cop car flew up Calvert. Continue reading
Tonight’s ride took me down to the pizza place for dinner and wine with the new colleagues. We were set to meet at 7:00pm, the same time that Troy Davis was set to die at the hands of the state of Georgia. It was a strange feeling, riding my bike down the hill for pizza when the state was setting up to kill a man. Continue reading