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It sounded so simple. Protest the police harrasing our black men. they are RACISSS. And so, even if the police themselves were black, they retreated from the dangerous black areas. Driven out by law suits, public opinion, and countless incidents of strange black men murdering police in squad cars.

Now we see their results. The police are OUT and the thugs are running like pigs gone wild on a watermelon rind.

The Reverend Kinji Scott, a pastor in Baltimore who’s held various positions in local government, recently spoke with Lauren Frayer, an NPR journalist, on the current environment in Baltimore. Scott clearly describes the city as a war-zone and said, “we have broad daylight shootings–all over the city.”

He’s among a group of activist who believes the higher homicide rate is due to a relaxation of police patrols following the Ferguson effect and the death of Freddy Gray. “We wanted the police there,” Scott said. “We wanted them engaged in the community. We didn’t want them beating the hell out of us, we didn’t want that.” Scott believes real change will come when the black community forms strong relationships with the police; however, that has yet to happen.

When asked if he’s optimistic for 2018, this is what Scott had to say:

I am not. Because I look at the conclusion of 2017, these same cities — St. Louis, Baltimore, New Orleans and Chicago — these same black cities are still bleeding to death and we’re still burying young men in these cities.