Baltimore, Maryland, We’re Not Ratchet and We’re Not Thugs

National Recording Artist, Sorcez Diniero with CNN anchor, Anderson Cooper

This interview with Sorcez Diniero, major independent recording artist, community activist, and Baltimore native, was conducted Thursday, April 30th, before State Attorney, Marilyn Mosby, announced that the policemen involved in the death of Freddie Gray would be charged.

How are things currently in Baltimore?

It’s calmed down a little bit. Has the tension and the anger that started it all gone away? No, it hasn’t. Actually tomorrow- the evidence from the police investigation – their findings will be turned over to the state’s attorney, who is actually an African American. Her name is Marilyn Mosby, and she just got into office, so it’s like’s a catch twenty two for her. She doesn’t deserve that, and I am one of her big supporters. I actually voted for her to get into office to make a difference, and that is what she has been doing, but she has only been in office for three months.  On top of that, if she comes back and say these guys are not going to be charged, all hell is going to break lose. You think that the police, all the surrounding counties, and the national guard is going to stop this city? It’s going to be turmoil and anger, and we really don’t want that to happen, so we are just hoping and praying that those things will not take place.

In the meantime, our mayor, she’s under fire. I was just interviewed on CNN with Anderson Cooper yesterday, so that made national headlines, one of the biggest news reports, and I set the record straight. There was a lot of buffoonery, a lot of lies going on. People were telling things that weren’t true. We had pastors (because they call themselves a man of cloth) that were lying, only doing it for the lights camera, action, and they were not telling the truth, because they weren’t coming to the communities to see what was really going on with these kids. These are 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16,- telling me, because I’m out here every day with these kids and in the community talking- they say they don’t have nothing to live for. Our mayor cut our budgets.  She cut the rec centers. She cut the summer program. She cut the Pal centers. She cut all the little job opportunities for the kids to have jobs over the summer so they could get their little stipends at the end of the summer. She cut all that in 2009 when she took office, so this was already brewing, and the tip of the iceberg was when Freddie Gray lost his life. It’s just like the icing on the cake with all this other stuff going on. The final piece of the puzzle was when our great mayor calls these kids thugs. That was the icing on the cake. You can’t sit there and call these kids thugs. These are people’s kids. She has kids. I would have never said that. I would have said, “Those were some unruly kids that were acting out. That shouldn’t have happened. That will be handled”, but using the terminology and calling them thugs- you might as well as have called them other things, and that’s just like one of our councilman that was on CNN yesterday said. He said that if you are willing to do that and willing to call us protesters, you might as well call us niggas. You might as well take it back to that, because that is what you really want to say. It‘s not a race war. It’s not a black or brown war. It’s just that this city- the community around the city- the north side, east side, south side, are tired of the police. We have lost 108 people in six years to police brutality. There’s almost 24 million dollars in law suits right now being paid out by the police department of Baltimore city, so this did not just happen over night. It did not just happen with Freddie Gray. We just want to set the record straight.

People don’t understand with these police brutality law suits, we have to pay as tax payers. The taxes go up. I don’t know if people understand that. It happens  where ever you are located too.  Every time there is a lawsuit filed against the police department, they find some type of way to raise y’all taxes or get that money back that they had to pay out, and that’s what they do, which is not right.

What about the witness who said he was in the paddy wagon with Gray and said he was acting like he was trying to injure himself?

He doesn’t know what he’s talking about. First of all, I don’t know how everybody’s paddy wagon is,  but  I’ve ridden in the paddy wagon when I was younger. I know how it is here. Nothing has changed. They have a separation, so on one side there’s one prisoner. On the other side, there’s another prisoner, so you’re separated. He could not see him.  He could not witness him. He did not know what was going on. All he talking about is he heard him moving. First of all, they were supposed to strap him in. They did not strap him in. Second of all, the proper protocol in the state of Maryland for the police is they are supposed to call a medical technician, if a prisoner is hollering about they are in pain or whatever. Then they should have called for that. It’s no different than the Eric Gardner case in New York City, when that police officer put him the choke hold and choked that man, when he was saying that he could not breathe and he has medical problems, and it went beyond that.

BALTIMORE, MD - MAY 02: Protesters march from City hall to the Sandtown neighborhood May 2, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Freddie Gray, 25, was arrested for possessing a switch blade knife April 12 outside the Gilmor Houses housing project on Baltimore's west side. According to Gray's attorney, Gray died a week later in the hospital from a severe spinal cord injury he received while in police custody. State attorney Marilyn Mosby of Maryland announced that charges would be brought against the six police officers who arrested Gray. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD – MAY 02: Protesters march from City hall to the Sandtown neighborhood May 2, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

Are you comfortable with me sharing everything we have discussed?

No, I am comfortable with everything I am saying. First and foremost, I appreciate you taking the time out of your busy schedule. I’m sure you have a million things to do, but we just want to get the word out and set the record straight. Baltimore, Maryland, we’re not ratchet and we’re not thugs. We do have great people from all walks of life in our city of Baltimore. Understand it just did not happen overnight. It’s just been brewing since 2009. Our mayor- the one that you have been seeing on tv, has dropped the ball twice, and her words have been retracted. She tries to come back for them, but she has been the worse mayor in the history of Baltimore, and we can’t wait until she is out of their next year. And that police commissioner, he came from Oakland, and he resigned in Oakland. What does that tell you about our commissioner? She recruited that man, and he doesn’t know what he’s doing. Both of them are terrible, and we want justice for Freddie Gray as well as other people who have lost their lives. On top of that, she needs to be removed from office, and he needs to be gone too. We need new leadership, and that’s what’s going on. There’s going to be some changes regardless of what the outcome is in the city of Baltimore. We don’t want people to stop coming here. I’m really- I’m not going to say I am embarrassed. I’m blown. I’m pissed off. I am not even pissed off with the kids that did what they did.  Unfortunately, at the end of the day, enough is enough. Remember something, they are kids. They are not adults. Those were mostly kids, who were out there doing what they did. Some of them have led paint poisoning. Some of them are bipolar. They have mental conditions. You don’t know what they are going through at home. Parents are out there on drugs or doing other stuff. These are lot of the things, that I deal with in my community. I deal with these  kids to try to help them ease the pain, try to keep them positive, and keep them on track. And our governor- our newly elected governor, he is trying to come in and act like he is so concerned about Baltimore city. He just got elected, which he is a Republican and this is a democratic town. The first thing he did was cut our educational budgets for Baltimore city, which was 35 million dollars, which we did not stand for or tolerate. We marched upon our capital, Annapolis, Maryland and got him to put that money back in the budget. Every other surrounding county got their money, except for the city of Baltimore. If it was not for us and some concerned parents and citizens, we would have never gotten that money back. So once again, it goes back to the budget cuts, so I don’t even want that buffoonery from him either, because he is a liar too, and he just got into office.

What happened to the guy who was shown being arrested or possibly abducted on the video that has gone viral?

Oh, his name is Joseph Kent. He is fine. He is down in Central booking. He should be coming home today. They could not find him and locate him. Some of his family did hit me up on Facebook and let me know, because that was something that we needed to address, that I definitely was going to get to the bottom of, because I do work with City Hall and City councilman. I represent my area, and I am the liason to the councilman that covers our district which we were hit real bad. A lot of stores and  a lot of businesses were hit. Millions of dollars were lost. Many of these businesses may never return. Some of these businesses may never open their doors back up. It’s unfortunate that they did not have insurance on their businesses. That’s a casualty of the war. I feel sorry for them, but it was much, much worse in 1968, from what my parents told me happened after Dr. Martin Luther king passed.

What are your thoughts on Ray Lewis’s video telling the kids to get off the street?

I will say this. Ray Lewis is a good friend of mine by me being a major entertainer and him being a sport’s star and celebrity. We inducted him into Baltimore, and we never turned our back on him. When he was supposed to go to jail, and he was charged for murder- I don’t know if you remember that,  a few years back after our first super bowl. He almost went to jail and would never have been able to play football again or anything like that, but Baltimore did not turn their back on him neither did the team’s owner. He’s done  a lot for our city, and it’s kind of sad to say that he has done more for our city and donated out of his pocket and made it happen for these kids in the city through his programs and so on, just on sincerity. He is really being sincere and passionate, so he is probably one of those few people that can get a pass. When I see all these other celebrities trying to send us,  “Aw, Baltimore, I got nothing but love”, I’m like, “Dude, you don’t even come to our city.” I’m not really going to get into certain names because it’s a long list, but my phone has not stopped ringing from different celebrities. “Bruh, you don’t come out here and help.” Now it takes this situation for you to reach out to me.  As for Ray and as for the media, they can say what they want to say. No he is not from Baltimore, but we consider him to be family. The reason why is that man has donated millions back into the city of Baltimore out of his own pockets. He did not do it for publicity stunts. He did not do it for that. He is really sincere about this situation, and he is there for these kids and the community. I can say that about him, but not all the other Ravens.

A lot of these other Ravens, some of them from Batlimore Maryland,  they did not do sh**, but with Ray, I supported Ray. I understand, and when you saw the way he was reacting and how it was- he still has a house out in here in Maryland, in Baltimore. He lives on the other side of Maryland, a more suburban area, but he still considers Baltimore his home. That’s who paid his bills for all those years, before he retired, the Ravens, so it is a catch 22. Everybody is not going to like that situation, but I don’t see anything wrong with what Ray is saying, not because he is my friend, but because I am looking at the reality.

On Friday, May 1, 2015, State Attorny Marilyn Mosby announced the officers would be charged and over the weekend, the curfew placed on Baltimore residents was lifted. Be sure to follow the city’s progression.


Interview conducted and written verbatim by Fancy/ @FancySwagHer

me in yellow headshot

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