Target: Ms. Barbara B. Waxman, District Administrative Judge for Baltimore
Goal: Lower insane bail amounts placed on protesters in Baltimore.
In a fundamental misunderstanding of the reasons behind the protests in Baltimore, judges and court officials have set insane bail amounts for protesters accused of simple misdemeanors. These protests began because of a discriminatory and unfair criminal justice system that privileges a few at the expense of others. How is charging a teenager half a million dollars in bail money supposed to convince anyone that the system is fair? Something must be done to get these ridiculous amounts lowered to the point where they could feasibly be paid.
This is a tricky issue to discuss as there can be no doubt that a very small portion of the protesters in Baltimore are guilty of breaking the law. That being said, it’s important to ask why so many would be willing to break the law in the first place. Could it be that many of them feel powerless, voiceless, and disenfranchised? These people aren’t breaking the law because they think it’s fun, or because they think they’re going to “get away with it.” They’re breaking the law because they don’t know what else to do and feel like they have nothing to lose.
One protester, 18 year old Allen Bullock, knowingly turned himself in to police, hoping to mitigate the penalties that he would no doubt face for taking part in a “riot.” Police booked him, charged with eight misdemeanors, then judges set his bail at five hundred thousand dollars. This amount is not only unpayable, but gratuitous. This young man turned himself in to police. He clearly has no intention of fleeing from justice. Why on earth should his bail be so high? Sign here to demand reasonable bail amounts for protesters in Baltimore.
Dear Ms. Waxman,
It has come to my attention that ludicrous bail amounts are being placed on protesters in Baltimore. I understand that it is necessary to punish those that step out of line and I am not attempting to absolve those guilty of breaking the law, but half a million dollars for misdemeanors is just gratuitous.
It is important to look at the animus of these protests when attempting to mete out justice. These protests were sparked by a corrupt, racist, and unfair criminal justice system. The disenfranchised and voiceless, being unable to turn to the courts or legal system for help, need a way to express their dissatisfaction with the system and this appears to be the only way that gets them any attention. Again I am not attempting to absolve anyone of wrong-doing, but simply trying to illustrate that the blame does not lie squarely on the protesters.
Allen Bullock, an 18 year old, turned himself in to police willingly after taking part in a “riot.” He was then given a half-million-dollar bail to meet. Why? If he turned himself in, was there any real risk of him fleeing justice? This is type of treatment is exactly what sparked these protests and I am writing to demand that you lower these insane amounts immediately. Your judges are not helping people anymore, Ms. Waxman, they are a part of the problem.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Daniel Schwen