Michael A. Wood Jr.
Veterans for Standing Rock
“This country is repressing our people. If we’re going to be heroes, if we’re really going to be those veterans that this country praises, well, then we need to do the things that we actually said we’re going to do”
Articles Blogs & Writings In The News

What is Your Vision of the Future, Police & Citizens?

For those that do not see it my way. Those who think police need to continue on this war against its citizens. That police need to ensure ultimate compliance with the law, for our safety, of course. What does your vision of the future look like? I see it as armed occupiers, armored vehicles, and cameras on every corner, ensuring that the servants obey the masters. Even if you are right and that is the safest path. Is that the vision of the future that we want to work towards? Do we want to spend our money, sacrifice the lives of our loved ones, imprison our fellow human beings in cages, criminalize those in need of mental/medical care, pick up the bodies of youths lost to the inevitable wars of prohibition, and imprison our lives in fears of the others? Or, do we want to band together and strive towards the visions I speak of along with, DeRay McKesson, Bree Newsome, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, and many others. Our future is a different one altogether. It is a world in which human beings return to being one.

 

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Articles Blogs & Writings In The News

A Response to Fred Bealefeld & Gregg Bernstein – How Law Enforcement Gets it All Wrong

It is in the first sentence of, An open letter to Baltimore’s interim police commissioner from Fred Bealefeld and Gregg Bernstein that a huge problem with law enforcement is revealed. “Beginning in 2008, the number of homicides and shootings in Baltimore began to steadily decline, culminating with a homicide rate below 200 in 2011, which had not occurred since 1977 (nor been repeated since).” The reform in policing that I have been advocating starts with empathy, but the second principle is science. Law enforcement is dominated by ideology, not scientific rigor. Somehow, this has spilled into the culture of every facet of criminal justice, even academia. As the letter states of the strategies (which are really ideologies), “They are not complicated or novel; indeed, it is public safety 101.” They are right, it is.

This issue is why current and past leaders in command are, for the most part, wholly blind to what am I am saying and trying to advance. It is a struggle to criticize these ideas without criticizing the individuals. I am stating that policing has become blinded, not that they are blind. In the case of former commissioner, Fred Bealefeld, I like the guy, liked talking to him, he recognized my way of thinking, but, “Bad Guys with Guns” is not a crime strategy, it is simply a tagline. The plan had nothing remotely resembling a crime plan. A crime plan ties together each and every facet of the agency into a mutual goal, each having their own roles and milestones to achieve. This is at the minimum. In practice, the strategy focused on only one thing, bad guys. Who were the bad guys that police in Baltimore look for? I have already explained it, approximately 16-24 year old black males.

It is not just Baltimore that goes after this group of citizens, as they state with pride in the letter, they did not do it alone. This strategy, this thinking, this ideology was also agreed upon by all of their federal, state, and local partners. All of them seeing no problem with this and no problem with reducing victimization of humans to the cold numbers of stat chasing with Comstat, Gunstat, Policestat, and more. Something is very wrong with what we are doing. The cognitive dissonance is staggering. The further writings in the open letter, discuss engaging the community, and that it is more than just “much deeper than just locking up bad guys” (even though that was the only plan). You will see these types of statements being made all around law enforcement, we have been taught what to say and we have been taught what to do, but those things have nothing in common.

It’s easy to say, look crime went down when we did this. That is nothing more than a correlation in reference to an anecdotal event. The problem with portraying anecdotes of success as an actual plans that work, is that it is not viewed in its totality. Science and professionalism are badly missing from police strategy and criminal justice as a whole. For something to be considered a fact, it must be reproducible. For example, either this is not a sound strategy or every other police leader is a fool for not adopting it because it would reproduce the same results. Think of fighting crime like mowing the lawn and grass represents crime. The proponents of an aggressive response, develop big and strong lawn mowers to chop down the grass. They may be good at it, they may be great at it, but they only see with blinders on. They hate grass, mow down grass, and store the clippings in a bin away from the land. What they are not seeing is that their big and strong lawn mower is towing a spreader full of fertilizer and seeds. The fertilizer contains lack of opportunity, poor socioeconomic conditions, institutionalized racism, breaking down of families, hopelessness, over charging, power imbalances, corruption of justice, militarization, housing segregation, feeding of the prison complex, a war on drugs, and more. They rarely, if ever, stand back to notice that they are making the situation worse in the long term.

It is awfully coincidental that crime is never addressed with these types of methods in rural, country, suburban, or even Baltimore’s own white neighborhoods. An actual strategy to address crime would work in any neighborhood because crime is a human thing. These are not sound strategies. We need a far reaching rethinking of what policing is. Proactive policing is a term that is generally used as a justification for heavy handed police actions which have the intention of preventing crime. If police are to prevent crime, we have to have to work on killing the roots, not reinventing and improving upon ways to keep our grass cutting business going.

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In The News

Lions of Liberty Podcast Ep. 128: Michael A. Wood, Jr. – Former Baltimore Cop Exposes Police Brutality

In this episode of the Lions of Liberty Podcast, host Marc Clair is joined by former Baltimore police officer Michael A. Wood, who recently made headlines for a series of tweets exposing instances of police brutality he witnessed during his 11 year with the Baltimore PD. Michael explains what drove his desire to become a police officer from a very young age, and how his view of the role of police was gradually altered during his time serving as a police officer on the streets of Baltimore. Marc and Michael discuss the case of Freddie Gray, the questionable circumstances surrounding his arrest, and why the abuse Gray likely received at the hands of police officers is so common. Michael describes the many instances of police brutality he witnessed as an officer, the inherent racism of policing in the United States, and how even minority officers so easily become a part of the problem. Michael touches on what he sees as the root of the problems with police brutality, and what he thinks can be done to see true reform and justice going forward.

Don’t miss this revealing episode, and stay tuned for Marc’s own thoughts in the wrap-up rant!

 

 

 

iTunes

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-lions-of-liberty-podcast/id706061933?mt=2

Stitcher Radio

http://www.stitcher.com/podcast/lions-of-liberty-podcast

Podbean

http://lionsoflibertypodcast.podbean.com

The show also airs at 6pm EST, August 8 at:

LibertyTalk.FM

http://libertytalk.fm/

And throughout the week at the Liberty Radio Network

http://lrn.fm/

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In The News

Spearhead Transmission Podcast Interview

On, July 29th 2015, Michael joined the Spearhead Transmission podcast to be interviewed. Podcast format is more open, expect some cursing, and openness.

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Events

Testimony – Maryland General Assembly

The following is the Maryland General Assembly Public Safety and Policing Workgroup, Town Hall Meeting, held on July 23, 2015 in Annapolis, Maryland. The time was short (2 minutes) and for everyone to have a turn, Michael was asked by the ACLU to focus on over criminalization and he did at approximately the 19 minute mark. The other testimony is equally important, if you have the time.

MGA Public Safty and Policing Workgroup Townhall

http://mgaleg.maryland.gov/Pubs/Committee/2015-PSP-Workgroup-Agenda-July-23.pdf

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In The News

Michael Wood interview with RT International

Michael A. Wood Jr., Former Baltimore Police officer, Ph.D. candidate, Retired BPD & Veteran USMC talks with RT about the Cleveland pepper spray incident.

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