David Bascome On Baltimore: “Really A Shame”

April 29, 2015

[Written by Don Burgess]

David Bascome said “it’s really a shame” at what is happening in Baltimore after the death of Freddie Gray, but he is hoping that “justice gets served”.

Mr. Bascome has been a resident of Baltimore for 13 years since becoming a member of the professional indoor soccer team Baltimore Blast, first as a player and now as an assistant coach.

He was commenting after the city he loves made global headlines, first from the death of Freddie Gray, then to the riots and protests that followed.

Mr. Gray was a 25-year-old African-American who died while in the custody of the Baltimore Police Department. He was arrested on April 12 but while being transported to the police station had to be rushed to the hospital where it was diagnosed he had suffered injuries to his spinal cord and larynx. He would die a week later on April 19.

Peaceful protests turned violent over the weekend and now the city has issued a curfew from 10pm to 5am.

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Mr. Bascome said: “Baltimore has been having a lot of situations with the police force. This is another situation. We don’t fully know what happened in the [police] van, but we know something had to have happened.

“Every time we see the mayor on the news it’s always something about an over-aggressive police force.

“Part of the problem is that many people don’t feel justice has been served in Baltimore.”

Mr. Bascome said the city recently had to settle a case for $200,000 for police brutality. Last year the Baltimore Sun newspaper chronicled that Baltimore has paid out $5.8 million in jury awards and settlements involving more than 100 cases since 2011.

He added there are always two-sides to every story and one of his drivers is an ex-cop.

Mr. Bascome said his driver “said when the police are out on the streets and dealing with situations involving the gang violence in Baltimore, there is always a fear for life and for them to protect themselves. He said that does mean there is an excuse for police brutality.

“I’m really hoping that everything gets worked out and justice gets served as well. I’m really hoping that the young people, the families do this the right way.

Mr. Bascome said people have a right to protest, voice their opinion and get the word out to a wider public, “but violence is something different. Parents need to engage with their young people because violence is out of order.

“They are doing violence on our own communities and in areas where they get their groceries from — I’m not saying it’s okay to do it in other areas — I just don’t understand.”

“I really love Baltimore,” he said. “Some people say Baltimore is full of crime, but I don’t see that. We have a beautiful harbourfront and there are a lot of things to do in the city. This is really a shame because it’s another incident that’s gone nationwide and globally.”

He had praise for mom Toya Graham who pulled her son out of the rioters and slapping him upside his head, telling him to “take off his mask” and “get over here”. The video of her doing that has gone viral.

Mr. Bascome added: “She chased her son down and made him listen.

Mr. Bascome said he can understand that young people in Baltimore feel frustrated because they don’t feel enough has been done to help them and help their communities.

“But watching police cars burn up, that doesn’t make sense to me. It’s only going to make things worse. They’ve had 144 vehicle fires.”

Mr. Bascome, who also does a lot of community and school work in the Baltimore area with his Hope4Life Foundation, said: “It’s affecting the city, it’s affecting the schools — this is really sad.”

Although this may help spur people to be more involved in their community and help give children a better foundation..

The Hope4Life Foundation is doing a sports festival this summer in conjunction with Walmart. He said over the past few days there has been a flood on inquiries from parents on how to get their kids signed-up and from other people who now feel a sense of civic duty of being part of the solution.

“I’m getting e-mails from people who want to get involved. My Foundation is working in little small pockets of the community, but it’s amazing. I’m getting people from all around Baltimore who want to be a part of this. I never thought there would be such a response as a result of what’s happening.”

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Comments (14)

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  1. Alvin Williams says:

    It’s gotten to the point that the police in America’s cities are shooting black males at will and this has taken the focus of the far greater travesty of black youth killing other black youth. But in regard to the riots and the burning of one’s own community; a cease fire between the Crips and the Bloods and the spectre of a black mother slapping her son off the street which by the way is nothing new as since the days of slavery black mothers has sort to break the spirit of their sons because they knew that such displays of spirit on the part of black males would bring death at the hands of racists in a racist society. But having said that and in view of all that has happen in the spirit of a well known commercial- DO YOU HEAR ME NOW?

    • hmmm says:

      The mother took her son back so he would not be involved in criminal activites. She is protecting her son, and ensuring he grows up with a good moral code… that’s her job as a parent.

      He is upset, she it upset and we are all upset at the loss of a life in police custody.

      Alvin, Alvin, Alvin …Police are not shooting people at will, or there would be over a hundred thousand folks killed by police shootings a day. That is utter nonsense. I didn’t think the victim here was shot ….is that new information or did you just add it to promote your hate?

      • DND says:

        No, the issue is not with all with all police forces, just the ones that patrol impoverished inner city neighborhoods of America, where they shoot/beat people, many unarmed, at alarming rates.

        Baltimore isn’t burning JUST because of the Freddie Gray arrest, which by all initial reports, the Baltimore Police Dept was unable to state WHY he was even arrested. The city is rioting as a result of a continuous and systematic abuse of police and law enforcers over the civil rights of the residents of that city. The amount of money the city has had to pay out as a result of police brutality since 2011 (as stated in the article) is evidence of that. We do not hear of all the peaceful protests, demonstrations and outcries for justice that this community has done in the past. People are now frustrated and tired. The Freddie Gray incident, like Mike Brown, like Eric Garner, like Walter Scott, has bought these communities past the tipping point.

        • Tough Love says:

          Exactly. Baltimore residents started out peacefully protesting before they were met with violence from the POLICE! Why is it only the people who should not be violent? Why can’t we hold the police responsible for their misconduct?

      • Tough Love says:

        No, they only shoot black people at will. Whites get to shoot their guns in the air, aim them at police and still are not harmed, not even a hair on their heads. But you think that people are promoting hate by stating the facts?

    • stunned... says:

      really Mr. Williams – is this statement fact or a figment of your imagination? Kindly provide a reference so I can research this myself:

      “…since the days of slavery black mothers has sort to break the spirit of their sons because they knew that such displays of spirit on the part of black males would bring death at the hands of racists in a racist society.”

    • Mockingjay says:

      African American males have been systematically MURDERED since they got off the ships, nothing new.

  2. hmm says:

    huh? “to break the spirit of their sons”

    The spirit of violent protest?

    That is a very different spirit to the one Dr King showed when he brought about the greatest change in race relations in 200 years –

    We need another Dr King – violence and looting is just that – violence and looting, doesn’t matter what race you are.

    • PBanks says:

      There’s a meme going around regarding a statement MLK was alleged to have said, but only in its full context should it be taken, by all ‘sides’:

      “…I think America must see that riots do not develop out of thin air. Certain conditions continue to exist in our society which must be condemned as vigorously as we condemn riots. But in the final analysis, a riot is the language of the unheard. And what is it that America has failed to hear? It has failed to hear that the plight of the Negro poor has worsened over the last few years. It has failed to hear that the promises of freedom and justice have not been met. And it has failed to hear that large segments of white society are more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than about justice, equality, and humanity.”

      There’s a lot of understanding in King’s piece that we today seem to willfully ignore, sadly.

      • Mockingjay says:

        @ hmm, we need a Malcolm X, for years Blacks have been advocating PEACE and none violence while at the same time being beaten and killed, those days are DONE.

  3. Imhotep says:

    A system cannot fail a people it never was designed to protect. Also, @hmmm, we also need another Malcolm X or Nat Turner as well.

  4. DND says:

    “$5 million in property damages. 140 injuries. Nine police officers injured. 17 police cars set on fire. Counteless local businesses looted and valdalized. Over 1200 criminal charges.

    No, I’m not talking about #Baltimore today, I’m talking the 2011 Vancouver Stanley cup Riots afeter a bunch of its citizens set the city on fire because THEIR HOCKEY TEAM LOST. I didn’t hear a single word about thoes kids being thugs or animals. But hey, whatever fits your narrative.”

    • Mockingjay says:

      Only Black people get labelled like that, just like Hurricane Katrina, Blacks were looters when they were getting food and water while whites were labelled as surviving.