On the eve of the trial of six officers accused in the death of Freddie Gray in Baltimore, outspoken former Baltimore officer and anti-police brutality activist Michael A. Wood, Jr. discussed the need for fundamental changes in American policing.
The officers are facing a slew of charges, including second degree murder and manslaughter in the death of Gray, 25, who died with massive injuries he sustained in a police van in April. His death lead to widespread protests and civil unrest which was quelled when the indictments were announced.
Wood, who retired with a medical injury, has since spoken out about his time as an 11-year Baltimore PD officer and his observations about what’s broken in the criminal justice system.
In an interview with the Real News Network, Wood said the very basis of police work is wrong. Police are measured by the number of arrests they make, not by their success in deescalating and resolving situations peacefully.
“So, you have the metric in policing, which is arrest,” he said. “So every officer is judged upon their arrests. So you don’t get credit for deescalating a situation. Say it takes an hour to deescalate a situation but you could have moved on in 5 minutes by making an arrest, well then the easy route is that you’re going to get credit for the arrest… so you may as well do it.”
Wood said there are no “official” arrest quotas, but officers that don’t make enough arrests are seen as not working hard enough, he said. As a supervisor, Wood expected his officers to make about 10 arrests a month.
“Certainly that’s part of the problem, I was pushing them for arrests,” he said. About 90 percent of what he did as an officer was “go chase drug arrests.”
He was “brainwashed” by the “blue Kool-Aid,” but began to break out of the mindset doing surveillance. That’s when the “us versus them” mentality broke down, because Wood said he was watching the people he was targeting having normal, human lives.
“We planted a tree of criminal justice in this evil soil, so everything we get out of it is going to be bad as well,” he said. “It’s the proverbial fruit of a poisonous tree, because we’re starting from a bad foundation.”
Watch the interview here:
Trump is terrified that Russian interference is ‘undercutting his legitimacy’: ex-DNI lawyer
On Thursday's edition of CNN's "OutFront," Robert Litt, the former general counsel to the Director of National Intelligence, cut to the heart of President Donald Trump's fury over the ongoing reports Russia is planning to intervene to rig the presidential election in his favor.
"Why do you think he refuses to accept the intelligence, and now, by his behavior and this coincidence that is not a coincidence, seems to be having the same reaction again?" asked host Erin Burnett.
"Well, I don't want to go into psychoanalyzing the president, but it's pretty clear that he views the possibility that the Russians attempted to influence the election on his behalf is undercutting his legitimacy in some respect," said Litt. "He's working backwards from that conclusion to talk about the facts ... this has been a consistent pattern all along of denial of what the intelligence community is finding."
WATCH LIVE: Donald Trump holds 2020 reelection rally in Colorado Springs
Donald Trump was late to take the stage at a campaign rally in Colorado Springs after a bombshell report that Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin was one of the president's 2020 supporters.
Trump was scheduled to begin speaking at 5:00 p.m. Mountain Time at the Broadmoor World Arena, which has a capacity of 8,000. Trump took the stage 25 minutes later.
The rally is seen as a thank you for Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO), who voted to acquit the commander-in-chief following the Senate impeachment trial.
Garner is facing a tough re-election in 2020 in a state that has been trending Democratic.
‘That’s a bombshell, that’s an earthquake’: NBC reporter sounds the alarm on Russia’s latest efforts for Trump
The New York Times broke the story Thursday that Russia is supporting President Donald Trump and is already hacking the 2016 election to help his reelection.
It was something NBC reporter Ken Delanian called a "bombshell."
"It is the worst nightmare of many of my sources in the intelligence world," he said. "It's bad enough to learn that there is classified intelligence that Russia is interfering again and trying to elect Donald Trump. We should be careful about that because it is not clear what it means. Does it mean disinformation on social media, does it mean intercepts that suggest people in the Kremlin are discussing the campaign? That is bad enough, but then the notion that because a briefing of that information was delivered to a bipartisan group of lawmakers, that cost Joe Maguire the job? That is a bombshell."