Vigilante action needed in Baltimore

By Noble Johns

Baltimore, MA (BNW) —
No one likes to take the law into their own hands, but the senseless murders of a Black woman and her five children is much too much for the Black community to take. A petty drug dealer by the name of Darrell L. Brooks threw a firebomb into the a house and killed six innocent Blacks, and we must take action against him and his kind.

Since the police cannot stop these ruthless thugs, it’s time for the Black community to take the law into their own hands. Everyone in the Black community knows who is selling and using crack, and it’s up to us to protect our own communities and take these criminals OUT! We as men must take back our own communities across this country by any means necessary, even if it mean taking vigilante action.

For example, take a crack head to his last supper! Find a drug deal and give him his last judgement! The white man ain’t got nothing to do with this; this is a Black thing!

Admittedly, the police are helpless. They acknowledged last week that they failed to properly supervise Darrell L. Brooks, who was on probation at the time he is accused of setting a fire that killed Angela Dawson and her five children in their East Baltimore home early Wednesday morning.

As a result of Brooks deadly actions, Angela Maria Dawson, 36, and her children, Keith and Kevin Dawson, 8; Carnell Dawson Jr., 10; Juan Ortiz, 10; and LaWanda Ortiz, 14, died in the fire early Wednesday morning.

Her husband, Carnell Dawson Sr., 43, leaped from a second-story window to escape the blaze and remains in an area hospital in critical condition, suffering from second- and third-degree burns over 50 percent of his body.

Darrell L. Brooks, 21, was charged with arson and six counts of murder Thursday. Police and neighbors said the Dawsons had angered Brooks by reporting neighborhood drug dealing to police. The family's house at East Preston and Eden had also been firebombed two weeks before the fatal blaze.

What make it so bad this dog was out on probation without supervision.

"To date we have not found any documented contact [with a probation agent] and that is reprehensible," said Stuart O. Simms, secretary of the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services.

In District Court last week, Brooks was denied bail, and a preliminary hearing was set for Nov 21. Meanwhile, authorities said they are considering bringing federal charges in the arson - a move that could mean defendants would face a less forgiving jury pool and possibly harsher penalties than in the city courts.

Brooks had been on two years' probation after he was sentenced in April to a three-year suspended sentence for unauthorized use of a motor vehicle. Six other charges, including theft and drug possession, were dropped at that time. But Brooks never had any contact with his probation agent, whom he should have seen about twice a month, officials said. And Brooks' probation agent never reported his failure to appear, Simms said.

He said the agency was still reviewing the case.

"Staff could be held accountable if it is found, as it appears, that the management of the case was not consistent with agency standards," Simms said.

Yeasterday, a crowd of several hundred city residents, activists and ministers gathered outside a charred East Baltimore home yesterday afternoon to remember the mother and five children who died in an arson attack there last week and to ask Mayor Martin O'Malley to meet with them about their growing safety concerns.

Prayers, grief and descriptions of a frightened neighborhood flowed throughout back-to-back rallies, the first organized by area Methodist churches and the second by Baltimoreans United in Leadership Development. At the BUILD rally, anger extended beyond the man charged in the fire to O'Malley - who, pastors associated with the organization said, won't discuss the city's crime problems with those affected.

"If they're having a party in Fells Point, you'll see him there playing his banjo, but a family was murdered here in Oliver, and we haven't seen him yet," said the Rev. Calvin Keene, pastor of Memorial Baptist Church and a native of the neighborhood.

O'Malley spokesman Tony White responded yesterday evening: "BUILD appears to have achieved the dubious distinction of becoming the first group to try to use this tragedy to promote its own agenda."

Yesterday, balloons streamed from the railing outside the home and a tent covered scores of stuffed animals left to memorialize the family. People dropped money for Carnell Dawson into empty water jugs nearby.

O'Malley visited the arson scene the day of the crime and has responded emotionally to the fire, even storming to a local radio station after a talk-show host accused him of a passive response to the incident. Once there, the mayor delivered an on-air diatribe against whoever set the fire and the talk-show hosts.

Yesterday afternoon, about the time that the second rally was taking place, O'Malley was downtown at the Ravens football game. In a halftime ceremony, the mayor joined former Baltimore Colts and relatives of Johnny Unitas as they unveiled a statue and paid tribute to the late quarterback.

The city plans to hold its own memorial at the burned-out home at 5 p.m. today.

Lawmakers angry

Members of the City Council and state House and Senate delegations criticized the system in a closed-door meeting with Norris yesterday morning at police headquarters, participants said. Yelling and cursing at times, they called for drastic action, including calling in state police and even the National Guard to patrol Baltimore's streets.

They compared the fight to reclaim the city from drug dealers to the battle against international terrorism and the hunt for the Washington-area sniper.

"I know that we do not have the manpower on the Police Department to man every corner. That's what we've got the military for," said City Councilman Melvin L. Stukes, who called the governor's office with a request to send in the Guard. "The military is being used on the sniper, with the spy plane. Well, this is terror, too."

State Sen. Nathaniel J. McFadden said the idea of calling in the Guard was "not over the top for me."

"We have terrorist cells of juvenile drug dealers," McFadden said. "We liken it to al-Qaida and Osama bin Laden. Same kind of thing. And it's all over the city. And they have no fear of retribution. It's just a brazen attack when you firebomb a person's house two times within a month. ... We want to respond just like the Israelis would respond when they're bombed. You bomb them one day, they take action the next day."

Norris said he would consider using state police to assist with drug enforcement but dismissed the possibility of using the Guard.

The politicians called for a meeting today with state probation officials to urge them to crack down on probation violators.

"All they get is a slap on the wrist and come out the revolving door," said Councilwoman Pamela V. Carter, who was the Dawsons' backdoor neighbor.

Brooks was in Police Department custody late yesterday. No bail had been set.

Several city leaders expressed concern that the killings would make it even harder to get residents to report crimes to police - something the city has been encouraging as part of the anti-drug Baltimore Believe campaign.

"It rocks the confidence of those good citizens," said Councilwoman Rochelle "Rikki" Spector.

Added Council President Sheila Dixon, "I do not want to see Baltimore under siege by some petty drug dealers."
But such public outbursts aren't enough, said members of BUILD. They criticized the mayor for so far refusing to meet with them about safety concerns in the neighborhood where the fire happened, known as East Oliver. BUILD members said they first asked for such a meeting Thursday evening.

"A crisis calls for a big mayor, not a small one," said BUILD spokesman Rob English. "He needs to use his talents, charisma and passion for the city, not against it."

Many city residents who attended the rally agreed.

"I have my own children, and something like this touches my heart, so I'm here," said George Lloyd Davis Jr. of East Baltimore. "But the mayor is a father, and he's not here. What does that say? It's sad. It's sad."

Davis' was among the loudest voices when Keene led a "Where's O'Malley?" chant.

White, the mayor's spokesman, said he was unaware of BUILD's request to see the mayor but said that unless the organization has significantly changed its proposed initiatives, he couldn't foresee such a meeting.

"If there's any finger-pointing, it should be at the drug dealers," he said.

O'Malley has clashed with BUILD in the past. The organization has accused the mayor of breaking a promise to give $2 million a year to its after-school program, Child First Authority. O'Malley said the city had its own plans for an after-school program that would work better than past efforts.

BUILD claims to have thousands of members in the city and has earned respect as a lobbying force and get-out-the-vote machine. Former Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke often worked with the group, and Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend and Rep. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. have courted the group's support for their gubernatorial campaigns.

English said East Oliver has been a core area for BUILD and said four of the children killed in the fire attended Child First after-school programs.

"We take this personally," he said.

The Methodist ministers who preceded the BUILD rally were less focused on the mayor as they spoke against the violence.

"This is terrorism, and it's not 6,000 miles away in Baghdad, it's here," said Bishop Felton Edwin May of the Baltimore-Washington United Methodist Conference. "Drugs are a weapon of mass destruction in our neighborhoods."

May then led a raucous chant of "Thou shalt not kill," shouted by people holding signs with the same message in stark red print.

"Thou shalt not kill," Right! But I say, what about an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth!

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