Murphy slams O'Malley in another radio ad

November 03, 2006|By Andrew A. Green | Andrew A. Green,SUN REPORTER

A month after accusing Mayor Martin O'Malley in a radio ad of overseeing the illegal arrests of thousands of African-Americans, prominent lawyer William H. "Billy" Murphy Jr. is back on the airwaves, and this time, he's not so subtle.

Murphy, a longtime supporter of Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., the Republican whom O'Malley is trying to unseat, makes an explicit racial issue of the city's policing policy that leads officers to make many arrests for quality-of-life crimes such as loitering. Many of those arrests are ultimately not prosecuted.

"O'Malley's police falsely arrested 21,175 black people in 2005 alone, and none of these 21,175 black people were ever, ever charged with a crime, and he's been doing this to us for seven years," Murphy, who is African-American, says in the ad. "How can any black person with any degree of self respect support a man who does this to us?"

Murphy cites as his source a report issued by a city grand jury about ways to improve relations between the Police Department and the community. The study, conducted at the behest of Circuit Judge Joseph P. McCurdy, is slightly different from what Murphy says. A state Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services report shows that 21,721 African-Americans in Baltimore were arrested but not charged between April 2004 and March 2005.

Police officials said when the report was released that the fact that people were not charged does not mean they were arrested falsely. They also said they are pressured to do more to address quality-of-life issues.

O'Malley spokesman Steve Kearney said Ehrlich is being duplicitous in his crime message, telling white audiences the city isn't doing enough and black audiences that it is doing too much.

"It's just the same two Bob Ehrlichs people are tired of, trying to divide people by telling African-American audiences one thing and white audiences another," Kearney said. "Martin O'Malley will say the same thing to all Marylanders."

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