What he “did not” say to the Herald
by: Carlos Henriquez | StillReppin.com
The Boston Herald ran a column today (April 28th) by former Boston Mayor Ray Flynn. I have shared his text in plain text justified to the left of this post. I read the Herald and this column with a slant. Allow me to interpret what Ray Flynn absolutely in no way said. I have put my interpretation in bold and justified it to the right. There is an old adage that in “the South” certain things are overt but in “the North” they are coded and covert.
In terms of urban policy, the first thing you learn in Big City Mayor 101 is protecting innocent citizens and businesses.
“In terms of maintaining segregation in a city with a lot of Black and Brown people is to make sure you protect affluent whites and the insured businesses they own.”
That’s not happening in Baltimore.
They’ve allowed the mob to take over. It’s what you learn quickly as mayor — or you pay the price.
“They’ve allowed Blacks to run wild. When you do that it scares white residents and they will leave and that will hurt your city’s economy.”
I spoke to my predecessor, Kevin White, New York City Mayor Ed Koch and Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley after I took office in 1984, and the first thing I asked them is how to stop a riot.
All big cities will face one. You just can’t predict it. Baltimore seems unprepared, despite all the signs leading up to yesterday’s funeral for Freddie Gray, the 25-year-old who died of a spinal cord injury while in police custody.
“Due to the fact that in America we keep black, brown and poor people in ghettos with high unemployment, drugs, and heavy-handed police policies, it’s only a matter of time before they ask for equality. The police should’ve known that killing a man unjustly would anger those people.”
It’s heartbreaking to see what has happened there. This wasn’t a protest, it was criminal rampage. Where was the political and moral leadership? It’s a sad commentary on a once-great American city.
“It’s heartbreaking to see what has happened there. No, not the death of Freddie Gray, not the unemployment rate due to jobs being shifted overseas. Not the failing school system for generations. No not the previous cases of police brutality. I’m talking about the fact that they’re struggling to find black people who will denounce the violence for money or perceived power.”
Every city has faced serious challenges, but the Baltimore police should never have allowed a mob to form. Instead, they should have constantly dispersed the crowd and arrested its militant leaders.
“I chose the word militant because it makes it seem like a military response is necessary”
Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake should have been walking the streets with respected black clergy, giving the city’s police the political and moral support they needed.
“The Baltimore Mayor should’ve followed the play book, walk the streets with clergy and politicians that young people have never heard of or from to tell the police that the young people are out of control, we can’t control them so you do it and we promise not to say too much about how you do it.”
When Boston was on the brink during the Charles Stuart case, we never let protesters take over our streets.
“Before they could protest we had BPD rounding guys up on main streets making them drop their pants. You can’t riot when your pants are around your ankles.”
When Stuart jumped to his death from the Tobin Bridge on Jan. 4, 1990 — all but confirming he was the one who murdered his pregnant wife and not a black mugger, as he had claimed more than two months earlier — I called as many black ministers as I could and we walked the neighborhoods together.
“I have no idea how black men felt about their police interactions but I was walking with as black ministers as I could find that wanted to be on my good side so I don’t care about how that impacted relationships between the community and the BPD, I had moral support.”
The first lesson in these crises is control the streets, protect businesses and citizens, and don’t let anyone congregate. You have to anticipate the city will be volatile.
“Again, do not let violence spread outside of the ghetto to where it affects white wealth or well-being. You have to know these people get angry.”
We knew who the criminals were and moved them away from the business district. They couldn’t get near liquor stores or pharmacies that sold drugs. A mayor must review all these lessons from other cities and tap into professionals with experience.
“We always know who the criminals are but we don’t move them away from liquor and drugs unless they might leave the ghetto with them.”
The black community also deserves to have a police command staff that reflects the diversity of the city. You need to have credibility in the neighborhoods. That’s what I did — promote the same guys who coach Little League and collect the donations in church.
“Give them a couple of black faces to look at in the command staff. They won’t know or ask whether those individuals shape policy or direct police but they will be content. I know because I did it and it worked. Kevin White needed James Brown. Not me.”
American cities are facing serious challenges. Deal with it now before it’s too late.
“They are getting out of hand, if something doesn’t happen soon, it’s going to get ugly”
Raymond L. Flynn is a former mayor of Boston and former ambassador to the Vatican.
Carlos A. Henriquez is a former state representative of Massachusetts (Boston)
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