Baltimore firefighter initiates wild noose chase

mhendo, thanks for taking the time to clearly spell out the law wrt to hate crimes. Much appreciated and much needed in this thread.

Not sure if your post is addressed to me or not, but i never suggested otherwise. It seems clear to me that Maynard “intended the act to be perceived as perpetrated by a white member of BCFD.” Which is why, as i said above, he’s an idiot and deserves to be fired, and to be held in contempt by both black and white members of the Baltimore FD.

My arguments have been solely in response to the assertions that Maynard can, and should, be charged with a hate crime.

I have not been arguing for or against hate crime laws (although i have argued against them on this board before). I’m not arguing that Maynard isn’t a douchebag. I’m not making any argument at all about the BCFD’s hiring and promotion policies, because i don’t know enough about the issue.

I was merely responding to assertions that he should be charged with a hate crime. My reading of the statutes suggests that he should not , although if my reading of the law is in error, i’d be happy for someone to point that out. And my conclusion would be the same if he were white.

The punishment for this sort of thing should be hanging.

Actually, I disagree. While I think mhendo has supported his reasoning, such distinctions as he is attempting to draw should be decided by the courts and not the police. Mr. Maynard SHOULD be charged with making a false report (he has not been) and it should be up to the DA whether he feels that trying the case within existing hate crime statutes is appropriate. Mr. Maynard being dismissed from the Fire Department because of his failed EMT exams as a way to sweep the whole issue under the rug is a cop out. The BCFD had no problem with Mr. Maynard’s lack of qualifications to be an EMT before the noose incident, firing him for it now to make the entire thing go away is ludicrous. For the last couple of weeks there has been a firestorm of criticism leveled at that particular firehouse, including picketing with bullhorns and passing motorists screaming obscenities, all aimed at the “racist” firemen (and women? IDK if any women are stationed there) who are based there. It was obviously the intent of Mr. Maynard to stir up just such a melee, and is just as obvious that preventing such public outrage is one of the main justifications for hate crime legislation in the first place (see the text posted by danceswithcats), meaning that charging Mr. Maynard with a hate crime is completely justified in this case. If Mr. Maynard’s lawyer wants to convince the courts that the legal hairs that mhendo is attempting to split apply to his client’s situation, that would be completely correct and proper. Refusing to charge Mr. Maynard because he turned out not to be what they expected to find when the whole mess started is not.

On a related note, I can’t help wondering if anyone honestly thinks that, everything else in this case being identical except the race of Mr Maynard (if he was White or Latino or Asian or Polynesian or something else), he would NOT have been charged with a hate crime
(remember, there was no mention of race in the note with the noose, it said “We cant [sic] hang the cheaters but we can hang the failures. NO EMT-I, NO JOB.”). Would mhendo be in here trying to wish it away on a technicality? I seriously, seriously doubt it.

My last sentence in my previous post: “I seriously, seriously doubt it.”, was directed at what I said 2 sentences earlier(to wit "(does) anyone honestly think(s) that, everything else in this case being identical except the race of Mr Maynard <snip> , he would NOT have been charged with a hate crime), not at mhendo in particular.

My post was not addressed to you. Although I disagree, you’ve supported your point, something TPTB in Charm City have failed to do.


You still saw fit to accuse me of trying to “wish it away on a technicality,” basically alleging that i’m a hypocrite and/or a liar. It has nothing to do with what i “wish”; it has to do with what the law says.

I’ve made clear that i would not support a hate crime charge in this case, no matter who the perpetrator was. You can choose not to believe that assertion, but it’s true, and it’s also one that is consistent with my history on this board, where i have, on numerous occasions, outlined my opposition to hate crime legislation.

What do you disagree about?

I agree with you that the guy is an asshole and should be fired.

I agree that the NAACP rep’s comments were silly and inappropriate.

I agree that “Expressions of racial hatred do not belong in the workplace.”

And you seem to agree that “Maynard’s action falls short of prosecution under the statute of hate crime as defined” in Maryland law.

Is there something we disagree on regarding this case? Or would you prefer that i simply post something like: “I am in full accordance with any and every argument made by danceswithcats in this thread. He can do and say no wrong”?

Nope. It doesn’t. It has to do with how you are interpreting the law, which is nothing more than your opinion, and not one based in a legal education or license to practice law in the state of Maryland, neither of which you possess. Personally, when I read the statutes that you posted (thanks, BTW), the one that it seemed to me that most clearly met the criteria (§ 10-304. (1) (iii)) you poo-pooed out of hand. I think that he clearly was defacing his place of work with the noose. Now, I have neither a legal education nor a license to practice law in Maryland, so this is only my opinion as well, AND IT HAS THE SAME LEGAL WEIGHT AS YOUR OPINION, to wit: none. Which is why I say that this is a matter for the court to decide.

Maybe you ought to reread my post that you quoted and think about this a little bit before you accuse me of “choosing not to believe that assertion”.

Of course, we could just ask what the people who actually know about crime have to say:

You claim that decisions like this should be made “by the courts and not by the police,” and you argue that “it should be up to the DA whether he feels that trying the case within existing hate crime statutes.”

I have a question for you about that: how do you know that this wasn’t done? District Attorneys and police consult one another frequently about whether or not it’s appropriate to file charges. What evidence do you have that the police made a unilateral decision not to file charges, and that they were never in consultation with the office of the Baltimore DA? Hell, according to Clifford, the FBI was also involved in this case, so it would surprise me very much if the DA was not consulted. If you have evidence to the contrary, i’d be happy to see it.

Well, first of all, I look at the source. All quotes from your linked article:

Not true. Sterling Clifford is a spokesperson for the Mayor, not the police. In fact, other Sun articles here,here,here,and here, clearly refer to him as a “Dixon spokesman”. It’s only here, on this subject, that he becomes a spokesman for “Dixon and the police”. As Alice said, “curiouser and curisorer”

Second, I don’t believe that the police “made a unilateral decision not to file charges”, I’m pretty sure that came from the mayor’s office. There is a quote in that article from the mayor’s office that is 100% absolutely false:

This is a flat out LIE. You can’t be charged with filing a false report if you later admit that you did so? What is this, the “just kidding” law? I KNOW that this one is false, because once upon a time, in the city of Baltimore, a young Weirddave witnessed a crime of theft. I lied to the police about what occurred because I didn’t want to be involved. When the evidence they recovered demonstrated that my story couldn’t possibly be true, I admitted what had actually occurred, and I was charged and tried for making a false report. I got PBJ. Now that I mention it, I don’t think I ever went through the trouble of expunging it, it’s probably still on my record. shrug I actually had my lawyer ask the prosecutor why they pursued such a weak, unimportant charge against me, and the prosecutor told me that the detective investigating thought I was in league with the crooks, and insisted that I be charged and tried because they had no evidence against me other than the fact that I made a false report. So, when this Dixon spokesman comes out and utters something that I flat out know is untrue, well, It’s time to bid farewell to wonderland and take up residence in Elsinore, where we note that something indeed is rotten in the city of Baltimore.

Finally, I have heard several police officers, including former commissioner Ed Norris, say on various radio programs over the last few days that there is no question Maynard could be charged if the powers that be wanted to. When several different policeman, on several different shows, which range across the spectrum from the afore mentioned Norris’ to that of the liberal black democrat Clarance Mitchell IV all say the same thing, well, that lends a great deal of credibility to the issue, making me comfortable enough to leave Hamlet behind and follow in the footsteps of Émile Zola in saying “J’accuse!”

So i guess the goalposts move yet again.

I never made any assertions about the Mayor’s office. I think Sheila Dixon is a crook who doesn’t deserve to be in power. But the fact that Clifford is the mayor’s spokesman (something, by the way, that i’ve never denied) doesn’t mean that the DA wasn’t also involved in giving legal advice on the question of whether charges could be sustained.

I also never commented on whether Maynard should or should not be charged with filing a false police report. If i were making the decisions, he would be charged with that misdemeanor.

My whole point in this thread has been to argue that what he did does not fit under the Maryland law for a hate crime. You say that it does, and you made an argument earlier that decisions like this should be made “by the courts and not by the police,” and “it should be up to the DA whether he feels that trying the case within existing hate crime statutes.”

I simply asked you to demonstrate that the DA was not involved in the decision. All you links and your arguments about the mayor’s office do not demonstrate that. And you still haven’t demonstrated the the decision not to file HATE CRIME charges (remember, they’re the ones the argument was about in the first place) was legally incorrect.

I’m trying to imagine a white firefighter not being out on his ass and charged with hate crimes in ~5 picoseconds of discovery.

But with a “fake” hate crime committed by a black firefighter they’re still figuring it out.

Here’s a suggestion: If you want all the firefighters treated the same in testing and promotion matters, regardless of race or ethnicity or gender, do the same for disciplinary and misconduct issues.

I’m no more a lawyer than most of you folks here, but I have serious doubts whether a mayor of ANY city has the legal authority to dictate to the police or a prosecutor’s office what constitutes a crime, and whether or not to pursue a prosecution.

Not to say there isn’t politics involved – I’m sure there is.

I don’t think it was because of the mayor’s decision. It has more to do (I believe) with the general assumption that “if a white guy did it, it’s a hate crime; if a black guy did it, it ain’t”. Even if nothing else changes.

My point is not that filing a false report is a crime (although it is). My point is that planting a noose is a hate crime, if done by a white person, but not if done by a black one. If this clown were white, planting the noose per se would be a crime.


Sorry to get back to this late, but what are you disagreeing with? In a thread where people were calling for someone to be charged with a hate crime, he posted the exact statute for the jurisdiction, and then went through point by point to explain why he didn’t think it applied. How is that not helpful, whether you agree with him or not? :confused:

And I see that you’ve since read through his cite and used it to argue your own point. Isn’t it nice that it was all right here in the thread for you to reference?

Not in my opinion. If a white guy had done it, i would argue that he should have been fired (just like i argued for Maynard), but not that he should be charged with a hate crime.

I agree with you that some people probably see it differently for black and white, but the law does not make that distinction, and it was the law i was concerned with discussing in this case.

It seems clear to me that there were people who were screaming “hate crime” when they thought the noose was placed by a white person, and who are not screaming “hate crime” now that they know it was placed by a black person. Unfortunately, other people’s hypocrisy is something i have no control over.

That’s completely consistent. Either a person should be charged with a hate crime for planting a noose, or should not. It should not depend on the race of the perpetrator - that is (IMnon-legalO) a violation of Equal Protection.

I think, based on the fact that any law can be interpreted, one could argue that the law does allow for that distinction. A prosecuting attorney can decide to pursue criminal charges against someone, or not, in a lot of semi-gray areas. I think that is the basis for the argument for charging this clown with filing a false report - if you can come up with something to charge a KKKer, you can come up with something when you find it is only a provacateur.

Also true.

Of course, I think hate crimes as a separate category is a stupid idea anyway. Just like they can come up with a way to get rid of the black idiot here without hate crime legislation, they could come up with a way of getting rid of a white bigot. If he did something otherwise illegal, charge him with that. If he did no more than commit some stupid or insulting act to someone else’s detriment, then fire his ass. If he did neither, just something that would pass either unnoticed or be dismissed with contempt, then do nothing.


When I said at post #26 “although I disagree”, that was in reference to the way the Mayor’s office has addressed this-originally rattling their sabers, and now essentially saying to move along, folks-nothing to see, here. As mhendo put it: “other people’s hypocrisy”.

In other research, I’ve found that Baltimore City has their own list of crimes and definitions. (large .pdf)

This appears to be a slightly broader definition than that of the previous quoted statute(s), and would apply to Maynard, IMO.

I agree with that completely. They have not handled this well at all. Then again, that pretty much what i’ve come to expect from Sheila Dixon.