Baltimore Riots Signal “National Crisis” On Justice, Says Rights Leader


For President Obama and Congress, one thing was clear amid the smoke in Baltimore: A task force didn't solve the problem, Politico reports. The president’s task force on 21st century policing appointed after last year's uproar in Ferguson, Mo., last month recommended that, “Law enforcement culture should embrace a guardian mindset to build public trust and legitimacy.” The group called for a new National Crime and Justice Task Force. Since then, Walter Scott was shot five times in the back by a police officer in North Charleston, S.C., and Freddie Gray died from spinal injuries he didn't have before he was taken into custody by the police in Baltimore, which burst into riots and looting yesterday.

The frustrations appear to transcend local conditions. And though local officials keep blaming round-the-clock cable news coverage for encouraging the violence, the speed and intensity of the protests in city after city make clear how much deeper than police misconduct these frustrations are, including joblessness, hopelessness, racial double standards. “It's a state of emergency of tremendous proportions,” said Marc Morial, president of the National Urban League. “The response you're having is not about the incidents. The response is about lack of faith in the political system to adequately respond to what we're dealing with here.” “We're in the throes of a national crisis,” said Sherrilyn Ifill, president of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. “People are looking at our system of criminal justice and our system of law enforcement and they recognize that something is wrong.”

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