Baltimore, MD — It is no secret that the Baltimore police department is one of the most, if not the most corrupt departments in the United States. TFTP has reported on their crimes for years ranging from planting evidence on innocent people to outright murdering innocent citizens. Making matters worse is the fact that almost none of these cops are ever held accountable. However, one brave Baltimore mom who was unafraid to challenge the corrupt department, is changing that paradigm.
Erica Hamlett's son Jawone Nicholson was waiting for his school bus last year when a crazed Baltimore cop approached him and nearly killed him. Jawone had done nothing wrong, committed no crime, and harmed no one. Yet the off-duty cop still felt it necessary to hold Jawone at gunpoint.
"He came up and he never and identified himself as an officer. He asked us why we was over there, asked us a few questions, and then he pulled his gun," Jawone told the Real News Network.
"He pulled the gun and then we put our hands up like this and started walking away, and he followed us," he said.
The officer did not identify himself as a police officer and continued to follow the 16-year-old boy. Naturally, Jawone was scared to death.
Jawone called police who quickly arrived and disarmed the crazed cop. But he was not arrested and allowed to walk away.
"He can be doing everything right, everything right, and that man had every opportunity to kill my son," Hamlett said. "And from the lies that he’s told since the incident, he would have had no reason not to tell a lie to make it seem like my son provoked him to do what he did to him. Dead men don’t tell tales."
According to Hamlett, after this officer pulled a gun on her son, instead of investigating her complaint, the department set out to smear Hamlett and Jawone.
As Real News reports, "Hamlett filed a peace order against the officer, which a judge approved. During the hearing, the officer said he felt threatened by the teen, who he thought looked suspicious. We contacted his lawyer who did not respond. But since then, Hamlett says efforts to hold the officer accountable have revealed a system that is hostile to civilians."
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Hamlett explained that the officer's department-provided attorney then dug through the family's Facebook posts in an attempt to smear them. This was all they had because neither Jawone nor Hamlett has any criminal record.
"His lawyer brought up stacks our Facebook posts because he couldn’t find any criminal record on us because I don’t have a criminal record, my son doesn’t have a criminal record. So he went to Facebook and pulled up all the posts, all my Facebook posts, and said my son was big and he was aggressive. If he was so big and aggressive, then why would you even approach him in the first place?" Hamlett explained.
Hamlett explained that the more she pursued the complaint against this problem cop, the more the department fought back.
"They treated us like we were criminals. And I was like, 'I’m not doing that, we’re not criminals, we’re here to give a statement because we filed a complaint.' And then they asked me to refrain from social media, don’t do any interviews," she said.
But Hamlett refused to be intimidated and she kept fighting. Her persistence would actually pay off and toward the end of last year, she received a statement from the Internal Affairs Division of the Baltimore police department. The letter informed her that her allegations were sustained and the officer responsible will be charged internally.
It was a small victory in this sea of corruption that is the Baltimore police department. However, it was conditional. Hamlett and the public at large will not know what type of punishment—if any—the officer will face because the department keeps it secret.
One step forward, two steps back.
This brave mother and son do not plan on backing down, however, and they are seeking massive reform to change this process. You can watch the video of the assault with a deadly weapon and the family's response below.
After a recent corruption trial exposed just how bad things were at the Baltimore City Police Department, Maryland state delegate Bilal Ali suggested that the whole department should be “disbanded and reorganized from the ground up.” We agree.