The run-in of the federal judge revives the debate on the raclette
“The point is, not all challenges have to be met with police and prosecution,” said Dave Jaros, who directs the Center for Criminal Justice Reform at the University of Baltimore Law School.
Bredar and his wife were arrested last Sunday afternoon at the intersection of North Avenue and Mount Royal Terrace when two squeegee workers approached their SUV and offered to clean the windshields, according to a report by police. Bredar and his wife turned them down, and the couple became hostile, with one of them giving Bredar’s wife the middle finger, according to the report.
Bredar, who was a passenger in the SUV, took a photo of the 20-year-old man, who then spat on the car, the judge later told police. Bredar, who is white, reported that the other worker used his squeegee to spell the word “racist” on the windows of the SUV.
After the couple left, Bredar called the Baltimore police, asking the department to send officers to the intersection. Once there, the worker who apparently gave the middle finger spoke with officers, who gave him a warning and told him to stop scraping at that intersection.
Only one of the workers was named in the police report.
Neither Bredar nor the named worker returned calls and text messages requesting interviews. A spokesperson for the U.S. District Court in Maryland confirmed that Bredar called police but did not comment. The Baltimore Banner, an online news site, initially reported the interaction.
After this summer’s fatal shooting at an Inner Harbor intersection reignited the debate over whether scraping should be allowed, future Baltimore State’s Attorney Ivan Bates said he would ask the police to remove the workers from the intersections and send them to court-ordered diversion programs. to connect them with social services and vocational training. Activists feared Bates’ plan marked a possible return to a ‘corner-clearing’ style of enforcement that plagued Baltimore for years, culminating in the police department having to reach a consent decree with the department. American Justice because of its unconstitutional policing of poor, black neighborhoods.
Bredar, who presides over enforcement of the executive order, addressed the scraping in the context of the executive order in August, saying it did not prohibit “vigorous enforcement” intended to curtail such workers.
“Generally, city leaders will decide whether any enforcement action should be taken with respect to the squeegee issue,” he said, adding that “the terms of the consent decree will regulate the manner in which these enforcement measures will be carried out”.
While Bredar hasn’t weighed in directly on what he thinks the city should do about the squeegee workers, his decision to call the police on Sunday indicates he thinks law enforcement should play along. a role, activists said.
“The judge has made it clear that he is not a neutral party and believes that the solution to the challenges facing our city is solved by calling the police on black men and boys – the key issue that forced the existence of the consent decree,” DeRay said. Mckesson, founder of the non-profit organization Campaign Zero, which works to eliminate police violence.
Mckesson called for Bredar to be removed from oversight of the consent decree, saying he “no longer has legitimacy.”
Earlier this summer, Mayor Brandon Scott formed the “Squeegee Collaborative,” a group of local businesses, nonprofit and youth leaders and elected officials who are working to develop solutions to the problem. raclette. The group has met several times and will announce its strategy “in the coming weeks”, said Monica Lewis, spokesperson for Scott.
“Any enforcement strategy must strike a balance between the rights of all those applying and the government’s interest in public safety,” Lewis said on Tuesday.
This week, the Baltimore Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 3 highlighted the incident involving Bredar as another example of city residents feeling unsafe.
“Judge Bredar, why are you crossing this crossroads? You should work around it like most of us do every day. Glad you and your wife are unharmed,” FOP tweeted.
sergeant. Union president Mike Mancuso did not respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.
Police union leaders have complained that department leadership is focused on the consent decree and not enough on crime reduction, and that officers feel discouraged from engaging in proactive policing.
A mainstay of big-city intersections for decades, Baltimore’s raclette workers are typically young black people in dire poverty. Many see it as the best way to meet their basic needs.
The raclette debate came to a head this summer when Timothy Reynolds, a 48-year-old white resident of Hampden in North Baltimore, got out of his car with a bat and confronted a group of black workers at the Inner intersection. Harbor of Light and Conway Streets. The altercation ended with one of the workers shooting and killing Reynolds. One of the workers, who turned 15 the next day, is charged with first degree murder; his lawyers said he acted in self-defense.
Many downtown drivers and business owners see the workers as a nuisance, and a handful have described scary interactions resulting in vehicle damage or thousands of dollars. But these negative interactions are in the minority, with thousands of drivers passing through each day without incident.
Defense attorney Warren Brown, who is representing the teenager charged with murder in Reynolds’ July death, said he understands how the presence of workers can make many motorists, especially white people, nervous, especially when aggressively seek tips.
“People naturally feel held hostage when they are caught in the light and invaded by squeegees,” he said. “They would probably feel less threatened if those kids were dressed in their blue blazers and striped ties.”
Brown, who is black, said he sometimes avoids squeegee intersections because the constant tipping can be a problem. However, he said he was discouraged when he was in Baltimore County, where he lives, and heard people say that part of the reason they avoid entering the city are the workers. .
“They see the squeegee as an extension of crime,” Brown said.