Some West Baltimore Residents Not Happy with Charles Barkley Taping

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Charles Barkley may be a basketball icon and popular sports commentator, but his views on race have led many in the Black community to cast him a side-eye. But TNT thought his controversial views would make for compelling TV and signed him up for a six-part TV series on race called The Race Card, airing in 2017.

For one of his show segments, Barkley traveled to a West Baltimore church to talk to residents about their relationship to the police in the wake of both the Freddie Gray, Jr. case and the Justice Department’s finding that Baltimore’s Black residents experienced a pattern of racial profiling. When Barkley shared his support of the police, the crowd wasn’t having it.

The Undefeated reports:

Barkley and a TNT production crew came to Baltimore on Monday to film segments for The Race Card, a six-part program scheduled to air in 2017, in which Barkley is to engage communities on hot-button topics.

There are few more contentious contemporary issues in America than the relationship between police and the African-American community.

And there are few cities where the sides are more divided than Baltimore, where the April 2015 death of Freddie Gray from spinal injuries sustained while he was in police custody set off riots and looting.

Three of six officers who were charged in Gray’s death were acquitted in respective trials. Following the third acquittal in July, Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby dropped charges against the remaining three officers, citing long odds in securing convictions against them.

Following Gray’s death, the Justice Department launched an investigation into the patterns and practices of the city’s police department. In August, the department issued a scathing 163-page report charging that Baltimore police had violated the constitutional rights of residents by using excessive force and by conducting illegal stops. The report noted that those practices had a particular effect on poor, black residents who were much more likely to be stopped and arrested unnecessarily than other Baltimoreans.

With that as a prologue to Tuesday’s meeting at Southern Baptist Church, the site of a fire during the riots, Barkley spoke of his desire to “start a dialogue” between the police and the community.

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Source: Black America Web | Tonya Pendleton