Maryland Governor Larry Hogan unequivocally denounced Donald Trump and his candidacy for president months ago. He refused to go to the GOP convention in Cleveland and said he will not vote for Trump.

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Sean Yoes

“I guess when I get behind the curtain I’ll have to figure it out,” Hogan told the Washington Post in June. “Maybe write someone in. I’m not sure,” he added. Although Hogan has run into resistance from the Trump brigades in Maryland, he has remained very popular in the state with an approval rating of 71 percent among registered voters in September.

Hogan has taken what seems like a principled stand against Trump and what many think he embodies; racism, misogyny, xenophobia, intolerance. Yet, the governor presides over a state the U.S. Department of Justice says has engaged in patterns and practices of discrimination (for decades) from Baltimore City to Pocomoke City.

“…Baltimore City Police Department (BPD) engages in a pattern or practice of conduct that violates the First and Fourth Amendments of the Constitution as well as federal anti-discrimination laws. BPD makes stops, searches and arrests without the required justification; uses enforcement strategies that unlawfully subject African Americans to disproportionate rates of stops, searches and arrests; uses excessive force; and retaliates against individuals for their constitutionally-protected expression…and has exacerbated community distrust of the police, particularly in the African-American community,”  states part of the press release announcing the devastating, now infamous 163 page DOJ investigation into the Baltimore Police Department in August.

However, last week the DOJ had to make yet another announcement about another law enforcement agency in Maryland.

“The United States’ complaint in intervention alleges that the Worcester County Sheriff and the state of Maryland subjected former Pocomoke City Police Officer Franklin Savage to a racially-hostile work environment while he was assigned to a joint task force operated by the sheriff’s office. Specifically, Officer Savage was repeatedly subjected to racial epithets as well as other racially-charged acts of harassment, humiliation and intimidation by his co-workers and supervisors…(his) complaints about racial harassment allegedly resulted in a series of retaliatory actions against him by the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office and Pocomoke City,” according to the DOJ statement from Oct. 19. Further, the DOJ says two other officers, Lt. Lynell Green and former Pocomoke City Police Chief Kelvin Sewell were also retaliated against for supporting Savage, and Chief Sewell was eventually fired.

The case of former Chief Sewell garnered national headlines when he was unceremoniously and quite possibly unlawfully fired in June of 2015, after Pocomoke City made him the first Black police chief in the town history in 2010.

My colleagues (and friends) and regular contributors to AFRO First Edition, Taya Graham and Stephen Janis of The Real News Network, have reported on Sewell’s plight consistently since his firing. And in the process they have revealed what many believe to be an informal, but very tangible 21st century Jim Crow style caste system in the sleepy town of a little more than 4,000 people split almost evenly between Black and White.

“(Sewell) implemented a form of community policing, which was incredibly popular,” Janis said recently. “Crime was reduced and he was mysteriously fired,” he added.

I believe Sewell, a former homicide detective with the Baltimore Police Department was ultimately fired for treating Pocomoke’s Black residents with a level of respect, that was probably unnerving to many of the town’s White residents who were accustomed to operating at the top of a social order, which relegated Blacks to second class status for generations.

According to the ACLU of Maryland, Worcester County is the same jurisdiction where Maryland State Trooper John Maiello contacted Teleta Dashiell in November 2009, a young Black woman he sought as a possible witness in a criminal case he was investigating. Maiello reached out to her by phone but he didn’t get an answer so he left a message. After he thought he had hung up he didn’t realize he was recorded on Dashiell’s messaging service referring to her as a, “god danged nigger,” in a conversation with a colleague.

Throw in the fact (just for grins) the state STILL is not in compliance with Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act according to the U.S. Office of Civil Rights, in relationship to its treatment of Maryland’s HBCU’s, and Hogan’s principled stand on “Trumpism,” seems dubious given his relative silence on the stench of racial  bias wreaking from his own back yard.

Sean Yoes is a senior contributor for the AFRO and host and executive producer of “AFRO First Edition,” which airs Monday through Friday, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on WEAA 88.9.

 

Sean Yoes

AFRO Baltimore Editor