Ed Vulliamy writes at The Guardian:
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For Baltimore to be the setting for the latest in a recent spate of high-profile police murders and riots in America – after Ferguson, New York and North Charleston – is especially compelling in the public imagination because the city was also the location for David Simon’s brilliant TV series The Wire.
Baltimore is the city from which Simon wrote for this newspaper in 2013 about “two Americas” in the “horror show” his country has become, one crucial element of which is that the US is “the most incarcerative state in the history of mankind, in terms of the sheer numbers of people we’ve put in American prisons”.
The Wire, he said, “was about people who were worthless and who were no longer necessary”, most of them black, and who become the assembly-line raw material for “the prison-industrial complex”. At an event hosted by the Observer that year, Simon said: “Once America marginalised the black 10% of the population it no longer needed, it set out to make money out of them by putting them in jail.”
The Baltimore Sun last year documented a litany of police abuse of black people – mostly but not entirely men (one was a grandmother in her 80s) – as routine as it was savage, and compensation payouts of $5.7m since 2011 for the few cases pursued and vindicated.