Ain’t no sunshine in Baltimore

One would think that in this darkest, coldest time of the year Baltimore's public officials would welcome the warmth of a little sunshine. But in this reporter's recent experience, it seems they'd rather shut the doors to keep out the elements. All metaphorically speaking, of course. Exhibit A: The Yakov Shapiro case. City officials have maintained that it was never their idea to keep quiet the mistaken-identity arrest of an innocent Soviet-born violin teacher or the legal settlement they reached with him. On the other hand, The Daily Record nearly had to sue the city to get the story, and official explanations for the unprecedentedly confidential resolution of litigation have been wanting. Watch video of Commissioner Bealefeld refusing to answer a Daily Record reporter's question. Exhibit B: The police commissioner's silence regarding the cost to taxpayers of alleged police misconduct. Anyone who monitors the Baltimore Board of Estimates' weekly agenda knows that the city's spending panel is regularly -- at least monthly -- asked to approve the settlement of a lawsuit alleging police mistakes or brutality. At a time when municipal money shortages have led to cuts in city services and mandatory furloughs, it would seem reasonable to ask the man in charge of these allegedly misbehaving officers about the millions of dollars they are costing taxpayers. But as you can see in the video inset, neither he nor his spokesman think so.


  1. You’re being whiny on the swearing-in issue (which is all the column seems to be about). Holland should have allowed photography, I agree, but it’s a very small issue and not the highest and best use of newspaper space. Put your Woodward and Bernstein fantasies to rest and get back to real work.

  2. Strong points all around. And it’s good to read that someone is asking the important questions. Thanks for including the video clip, as that comment didn’t show up on the newscast I saw.

  3. Brendan, I think you missed a golden opportunity for a follow up question when the Police Commissioner, in response to your question about rogue cops costing taxpayers millions, said “we’re here to talk about bad guys with guns.” You should have said, “that’s who I was talking about.”!!!

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