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Racial tensions have been ignited in Baltimore following the murder of a white female police officer in Baltimore County at the hands of four black teens. Three of the teenagers were breaking into homes and when a Baltimore police officer went to investigate she was run over by a fourth teen in a stolen Jeep. Social media users expressed outrage at the killing and took to the Baltimore County Police & Fire Facebook page to weigh in.
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One Facebook user wrote: "I was hoping they'd kill him during apprehension. What a waste of life. He's currently breathing air some decent person could be breathing. I personally am tired of good for nothing hood rats committing adult crimes and people STILL saying crap like, he had hard times growing up, society made him do these things because he had no role models." The comment drew ire from another user who wrote: "I hope all you whites have the same level outrage next time one of your youths decide to shoot up a school of innocent children. You all are a disgusting group of devils."
County fire spokeswoman Elise Armacost said that no previous case has generated such a massive online reaction. Authorities tried to calm the hostility and pleaded for civility as county staff struggled to moderate comments that featured profanity or were typed in all caps but the avalanche of angry posts continued pouring in. Many comments called for the teen who drove the Jeep to be hanged, shot, run over, and even raped. Armacost said, "Sadly, these comments are a microcosm of the conflicts and lack of civility we see in the country right now."
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A Johns Hopkins sociologist named Stephanie DeLuca has studied the Baltimore youth and is the daughter of a 40-year veteran of the Chicago Police Department and she described the "absolutely awful" case as a perfect, polarizing storm. "It touches on all these intersections – of race, policing, city-county," DeLuca said. She is the co-author of the 2016 book "Coming of Age in the Other America." DeLuca added that "Once fear is sparked, anger is sparked."
Baltimore police say the teenagers were robbing homes in Perry Hall Monday afternoon when Baltimore County Police Officer Amy S. Caprio approached the stolen Jeep. She was then run over by 16-year-old Dawnta Harris of the Gilmor Homes public housing project. Officer Caprio died shortly after the attack resulting in Harris and the three other teens to be charged as adults with first-degree murder. Police say Harris fled home detention this month while awaiting sentencing for a car theft. If he was not released to home detention perhaps Harris would still be alive.
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Some social media comments said, "ROT in prison & actually they should get the DEATH PENALTY!" A former Democratic state senator named Clarence M. Mitchell IV said, "You're talking about a black young man from Gilmor Homes in a very, very white area, and a white female police officer – the racial dynamics can't be eliminated. I'm sorry, at some point we have to stop being so sensitive. We are too worried about how we look as opposed to correcting this reality. The reality is we have a problem. We are a violent city. We have a dysfunctional juvenile justice system. Those are the facts."
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[tw_tags] #Baltimore #WhiteFlight #Racism #PoliceOfficer #BackTheBlue #FirstDegreeMurder #JuvenileDelinquent [/tw_tags]