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Nov 19, 20

“Like a Bludgeon”: Corruption, Counter-Insurgency & the Limits of Reform within the Baltimore Police

In this episode of the It’s Going Down podcast we speak with journalist and author Brandon Soderberg about the book they recently co-authored, I Got a Monster: The Rise and Fall of America’s Most Corrupt Police Squad, which details the notoriously corrupt Gun Trace Task Force (GTTF) in Baltimore, MD. The book discusses how the GTTF grew from a squad of police tasked with stopping gun violence into a highly organized criminal operation which stole massive amounts of money, drugs, and guns, planted false evidence, and impacted the lives of thousands of people.

From the book’s website:

Cops planted heroin to cover up a fatal crash that resulted from a botched robbery. They stole hundreds of thousands of dollars, faked video evidence, and forged a letter trying to break up the marriage of one of their victims to keep his wife from paying a lawyer. And a homicide detective was killed the day before he was scheduled to testify against the crooked cops.

During our discussion, Soderberg argues that beyond being a tale simply of police corruption, the story of the GTTF also shows the limits of police reform within racial capitalism, as the GTTF itself was created out of Obama era attempts at reforming policing. By the time the Baltimore Uprising exploded in 2015 following the police murder of Freddie Gray, the unit was then used as a counter-insurgency operation; a “bludgeon” against the wider community.

The story of the GTTF also helps highlight the ways in which modern policing protects capital and enforces racial apartheid and segregation. For those fighting for abolition in the post-George Floyd world, we hope that this discussion adds to the growing consensus that the modern manifestations of slave patrols needs to be totally abolished.

More Info: Brandon Soderberg on Twitter, I Got a Monster homepage

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It’s Going Down is a digital community center from anarchist, anti-fascist, autonomous anti-capitalist and anti-colonial movements. Our mission is to provide a resilient platform to publicize and promote revolutionary theory and action.

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