Baltimore police officers making routine stops or arrests around the city are encountering something very different these days: bystanders, often dozens of them, crowding around and recording their every move.
Since the death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black Baltimore resident who died in police custody on April 19, the balance of power between police and citizens in the city appears to have tilted on its axis. Protests following Gray’s death, which at first experienced little police pushback, have led to elevated levels of violence around the city by criminals who some experts say appear emboldened. There were 43 homicides in May, the most in any month since December 1971—when the city was almost one-third bigger than it is today. According to numbers compiled by the Baltimore Sun and the FBI, the average number of monthly murders in May from 2009 to 2014 was 21.
At the same time, arrests…
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