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‘Some are criminals!’: Baltimore cops under fire for tweet labelling kids as crooks

‘Some are criminals!’: Baltimore cops under fire for tweet labelling kids as crooks
One of Baltimore’s largest police unions is under fire for an inflammatory tweet in which they encouraged officers to protect each other and avoid falling into the trap of thinking that potential criminals “are only kids.”

The Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 3, representing Baltimore Police Department’s rank-and-file as well as senior officers, tweeted the warning to its members amid reports of violence at a large gathering in the city’s Inner Harbor area when allegations of youths brawling and fighting on the streets came flooding in.

Six people were arrested for destruction of property and disorderly conduct but there were no serious injuries despite the large crowds, which some estimated were at least several hundred strong.

The ACLU decried union president Sgt. Mike Mancuso’s statement as “unacceptable,” arguing that such fiery rhetoric encouraged racial profiling and the use of excessive force against minors.

In a Facebook post, Democratic City Councilman Eric Costello claimed he’d spoken with the police department’s leadership who alleged that “at least one person was assaulted” and that there was footage showing “kids running across E. Pratt St on top of the hoods of cars.”

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Meanwhile, State Sen. Jill Carter, also a Baltimore Democrat, called the police union’s tweet “contemptible and utterly unacceptable” while condemning what she sees as a “culture of racism and inhumanity” within the police department.

Many took umbrage with the militaristic and authoritarian overtones of the tweet and parodied with their own take.

“To our residents at Baltimore tonight: ‘Protect each other and don’t fall into the trap that they are only police officers. Some are criminals!’ There, I fixed it,” one irate local wrote on Twitter.  

“Here’s the Baltimore police union essentially saying, ‘Be ready to shoot black kids,’" wrote Scott Hechinger, a public defender in Brooklyn, New York.

However, despite the torrent of criticism from many online, there were still those who supported the police, if not necessarily the phrasing of the message.

“Do you know what it’s like here in Baltimore on a daily basis?”wrote one person in response to Hechinger’s criticism.

READ MORE: 7 shot, 1 fatally near Baptist church in Baltimore, gunman on the run

“Kids are MURDERED every day in Baltimore and NONE of them are by @FOP3 members!” said another.

One user, who claimed to have first-hand experience of the crowds that gathered at Inner Harbor, said: “The kids who hangout by the inner harbor are looking to get in trouble for fun,” and turn to violence.

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