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April 28, 2010

Bealefeld has hopes for accused Greenmount Ave killers during radio apperance with police critic

"I hope there's two places for them: one here on Earth, and one in eternity, and they deserve to spend as much time as possible in both places."

That was Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III's response when asked by a radio show caller if the two teens charged with killing 72-year-old Charles Bowman at a carryout restaurant will face severe punishment. It's more of the blunt and colorful talk we've come to expect from Bealefeld during his tenure as police commissioner.

Bealefeld was speaking on WOLB 1010 AM's "Taxi Talk Radio," an appearance that started slow but led to some interesting comments. When asked about police barricades near The Block, Bealefeld revealed that the impetus for the heavy presence was intelligence that Bloods gang members were attempting to infiltrate businesses and the drug trade there. And he said he recently met with the NAACP and police union to talk about outreach efforts in South Baltimore's Cherry Hill neighborhood.

I was anticipating this appearance because of the potential dynamic between Bealefeld and one of the show's co-hosts, A.F. James MacArthur, a citizen journalist who appears fairly often at events and crime scenes. On his blog, he regularly admonishes government and police over the city's violence, as well as the media for not adequately covering it. One entry was titled: "Battle Ground Baltimore Remains a Bloody Bastion of Boundless Mayhem and Murder." He recently Tweeted to me in response to a story, "Don't gimme that crap statistically, crime is down. That's just a public appeasing load of bull."


Not only that, MacArthur himself has a personal beef with city police: last year he was indicted on charges of having a 14-inch gun (he disputes the length) and possessing a deadly weapon with intent to injure, an indictment that came four nearly four months after he was initially charged. A disorderly conduct charge stemming from a court appearance followed. MacArthur, who appears in charging documents as Frank McArther, pleaded guilty in September to all three charges, receiving probation before judgment and three years supervised probation. That makes him, technically, one of the "bad guys with guns" that Bealefeld is always talking about.

In an April 11 rant on his Twitter page, MacArthur called out the officer and prosecutor on his case by name and said this: "As long as their [sic] are worthless cops on the street, and idiot prosecutors in the courts, focusing on all the wrong things, people and places, our crime will continue to be out of control. So easy to rack up a bunch of meaningless arrests & pretend ur making the city safer.. Meanwhile the true bad guys run amok, unabated in their practice of violence, while the law abiding live in fear. GOOD JOB!!!!! When ur idea of police work is arrest first ask question later, ur really missing the big picture, ur efforts remain futile with no impact."

But MacArthur and co-host Larry "The Celebrity" Cab Driver, didn't press the guest of honor on the validity of police statistics or whether the police are targeting the wrong individuals. They asked him to recount the time he arrested a man on New Year's Eve, policies regarding cab drivers, and the pension mess. Callers had a host of complaints, however, and the closest thing to critical questioning was when MacArthur said "a lot of people" say police harass citizens and want to arrest first, ask questions later. Bealefeld said arrests were down 8 percent this year.

"So there's even less arrests [than the year before]? ... Wow," MacArthur replied. "I'm tired of hearing the murder count. The number is just a number. ... We never hear that arrests are going down."

I asked him why MacArthur afterwards why he didn't bring up some of his gripes. "While my adversarial relationship with the police department is no secret, the show was not the time to or place to grind my personal axe. Ultimately, my goal is to improve the long standing rift between Baltimore's majority black population and the BPD. Duking it out with the commissioner on air wold not have served this purpose."
Posted by Justin Fenton at 7:56 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: North Baltimore, Top brass


Dear Mr. MacArthur,

The article stated the following: “…MacArthur himself has a personal beef with city police… That makes him, technically, one of the "bad guys with guns" that Bealefeld is always talking about.”

Mr. “MacArthur replied. I'm tired of hearing the murder count. The number is just a number…”

Mr Macarthur whether you know it or not the Citizens of Baltimore City are in a war and you are a part of it. You give aid and comfort to the enemy by your continued criticism of the Baltimore City Police Department. When you target a specific police officer, people who read your comments assume and rightly so that you are speaking of all Baltimore City police officers.

To Mr. MacArthur and the Citizens of Baltimore,

“Meanwhile the true bad guys run amok, unabated in their practice of violence, while the law abiding live in fear. GOOD JOB!!!!!”

The “Callers (with) a host of complaints” Instead of gripping about what the police are doing wrong – learn what the police actually do.

In many cases, complaints stem from a lack of communication and misunderstanding and the fault is with the citizens who are complaining. To be fair - some of you may have an honest complaint but I have found that many complaint directed at the police are misdirected but some of you just don’t get it.

If there is a problem you have a right to complain, it is your duty to complain and Commissioner Bealefeld would probably be the first to encourage any citizen with a legitimate complain to report any police misconduct.

The Baltimore City Police and the Citizens of Baltimore have over 100 years of mistrust to resolve. It cannot be done over night.

Questions to the Citizens of Baltimore – can the Baltimore City Police Department assign a Cop on every corner in every neighborhood? Can the Baltimore City Police Department assign a Cop at every house in every neighborhood?

Law abiding citizens live in fear because they do not know what to do. The police cannot deter crime along they need your help. It MUST be a partnership.

Visit your local precinct, talk to the Cops and join a Citizens of Patrol program in your neighborhood. If you don’t have strong neighborhood leaders contact the Baltimore Guardian Angels. They can teach, guide and develop a COP program for any neighborhoods. Contact them at or call 410-916-2215.

If you want you neighborhoods back – take them back. It can be done

Think about it Citizens.

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About Peter Hermann
Peter Hermann started covering news for The Baltimore Sun in 1990, first in Anne Arundel County and, starting in 1994, reporting on the Baltimore Police Department. In 2001, he was assigned to Jerusalem as the Baltimore Sun's Middle East correspondent. He returned in 2005 as an assistant city editor overseeing crime coverage. In 2008, Peter returned to the beat as a daily reporter and blogger. A recent BBC report featured him in a segment on the harsh realities of covering crime in Baltimore.

Coverage will focus on crime trends, problems in neighborhoods in the city and elsewhere, profiles of victims and police officers and try to offer readers a fresh perspective on one of the most vexing issues facing Baltimore and its future.

Contributing to this blog is Justin Fenton, who joined The Sun in 2005 and has covered the Baltimore City Police Department and the criminal justice system since 2008. His work includes an investigation into Cal Ripken Jr.’s minor league baseball stadium deal with his hometown of Aberdeen, a three-part series chronicling a ruthless con woman, coverage of the killing of five Amish children at a schoolhouse in Nickel Mines, Pa., and a job swap with a British crime reporter to explore differences in crime-fighting. A special report looking into how city police handle rape cases led to sweeping reforms that changed the way sexual assaults are investigated in Baltimore. He was recognized as the best reporter in Baltimore by the City Paper in 2010 and by Baltimore Magazine in 2011.

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