Show was not a ‘smear’ but a realistic depiction, its creator says
By David Simon (The Baltimore Sun, 1/24/2011)
(“The Wire” creator David Simon was invited by The Sun to respond to comments made recently by Baltimore Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III that the HBO show was a “smear that will take decades to overcome,” reviving a debate that took place throughout the show’s run.)
It is my understanding that Commissioner Bealefeld — by finally choosing to emphasize the quality rather than the quantity of arrests — has been able to reduce the homicide rate somewhat in our city. If true, this is not only commendable, it is a long time coming. Too long, in fact.
Interestingly, the newspaper that covered his department began making the argument to do exactly that as early as 1994, in a series of articles entitled “Crisis In Blue” that carefully articulated the disconnect between the Baltimore department’s aggressive street-level prosecution of the drug war and the root causes of violence in the city. The arguments were furthered in a book entitled “The Corner” that was published three years later. After a new election cycle, however, those arguments were ignored in favor of years of “zero tolerance” of minor street crimes and an obsession with street-level drug enforcement that actually de-emphasized quality police work and led to marked declines in arrest rates for major felonies.
Later, when a mayor sought to become governor using public safety as an issue, the same police department went further down the path, emphasizing widespread street arrests of dubious quality and legality. This did not reduce crime so much as it violated the civil rights of many city residents and led to the widespread alienation of our jury pool, with many city jurors no longer willing to trust the integrity of testifying officers — a problem that will plague Baltimore law enforcement for years.
Continue reading “David Simon: ‘The Wire’ Has Nothing To Apologize For” at The Baltimore Sun.
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Baltimore Crime Beat
Bealefeld: “The Wire” a “smear that will take decades to overcome”
By Peter Hermann (The Baltimore Sun, 1/18/2011)
“The Wire” concluded its run on HBO in 2008, but Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III says Baltimore is still smarting from its depiction and that the show was a “smear on this city that will take decades to overcome.”
…”What Baltimore gets is this reinforced notion that it’s a city full of hopelessness, despair and dysfunction. There was very little effort – beyond self-serving – to highlight the great and wonderful things happening here, and to indict the whole population, the criminal justice system, the school system.”
Continue reading at “Bealefeld: ‘The Wire’ a ‘smear that will take decades to overcome'” at The Baltimore Sun.