- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 10, 2016

BALTIMORE (AP) - In a scathing report, the Justice Department detailed rampant abuse within the Baltimore Police Department, including racial discrimination against blacks, unlawful stops and excessive force. The misconduct was highly concentrated in certain parts of the city, including the Western District, where residents reflected on their own experiences with city police.

THROWN TO THE GROUND

Morren Jackson, 21, has had his fair share of run-ins with Baltimore police officers. He said he has been thrown to the ground, harassed and arrested for minor infractions such as jaywalking or trespassing. He’s even been strip-searched, he said.

“We get harassed every day, just for being black,” he said. “If you stand on the corner in a white T and jeans, you’re a drug dealer. If I stood on the corner with a suit on, I’d probably still be a drug dealer to them. They jump out, look for drugs and when they don’t find that, they’ll charge you with trespassing. It’ll be a charge regardless. And then they’ll say you’re resisting arrest. Resisting arrest? You can be resisting arrest if you just keep walking.”

BOY HURT

Newnewshawna Scott, 30, said she once watched a police officer chase a boy and hurl him over a fence. The boy, she said, lost his eye.

“They’re supposed to protect and serve, but people are afraid to call them because when they come, they’re hurting people,” she said. “All we ask, we just want some supportive cops who are worried about our people, and not just black people: white people, Mexicans, all types of people. We’re all together.”

ALWAYS CHAOS

Michael Brown, 30, said every interaction he’s had with an officer is “chaos.”

“Last month I got pulled over. The cop was supposed to ask for my license and registration, but he opened my door, took the keys out of the ignition and was all in my car, asking for my license. He was disrespectful, ignorant, rude - anything you can think of,” Brown said. “But when we react, we’re wrong. We’re provoking them. Just because they wear the uniform doesn’t give them the right to do whatever they want to do.”

CHASED AND CHOKED

Rosalyn Kelly, 54, said she was once chased and choked by a police officer in West Baltimore, where she was born and raised.

“They choked me out, they beat me,” she said.

Kelly, who still lives in the same neighborhood, said she routinely sees people in the area being stopped, harassed and strip-searched by officers.

“They’re mean and nasty, they don’t know how to talk to people. They think they rule the world, and they treat us terribly,” she said.

She said she has heard officers call residents the n-word.

“I’ve seen them throw people on the ground. I saw them make an old lady pull her pants down in the middle of the street. They said if she didn’t, they’d arrest her. There were old people and children sitting on the stoop. It’s just wrong.”

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