‘Rough Rides’ and the Challenges of Improving Police Culture
By David A. Graham, Apr 27, 2015
A rough ride. Bringing them up front. A screen test. A cowboy ride. A nickel ride.
Police say that intentionally banging a suspect around in the back of a van isn’t common practice. But the range of slang terms to describe the practice suggests it’s more common that anyone would hope—and a roster of cases show that Freddie Gray is hardly the first person whose serious injuries allegedly occurred while in police transit. Citizens have accused police of using aggressive driving to rough suspects up for decades in jurisdictions across the country. Though experts don’t think it’s a widespread practice, rough rides have injured many people, frayed relationships, and cost taxpayers, including Baltimore’s, millions of dollars in damages.
Gray’s funeral was Monday, eight days after he died and two weeks after he was arrested by Baltimore police under murky circumstances. President Obama sent three aides, including the chair of his My Brother’s Keeper task force, to the burial. Protests have roiled the streets of Baltimore ever since Gray died, forcing the city to reckon with a troubled police department and its fraught relationship with black citizens. Continue reading