The Marc Steiner Show

16 Arrested During Election Night Celebration in Charles Village

Here’s a letter that we received and wanted to share with everyone.  If anyone else would like to publicize first-hand information about the police misconduct in Charles Village on Election Night, or has other Election Night experiences they’d like to share, please post your comments here or email us at



During the night following the election, my roommates and I walked
down to 33rd and St. Paul and started celebrating the election of
Barack Obama. We quickly gained support of local students, and our
group of seven quickly grew to over 400. What was a beautifully
patriotic evening, filled with unity and gentle celebration, quickly
turned into fear and chaos as the Baltimore Police Department randomly
(and illegally) assaulted, intimidated, and arrested many members of a
peaceful crowd.

Last Spring, President Ungar invited you to speak at Goucher to a
group of Goucher students, faculty, and staff. President Ungar
personally invited me at the last moment, claiming it was essential
that I hear you speak. Your discussion inspired me to want to get more
involved with our city, and this semester several of my friends and I
moved down to Charles Village from Towson, in order to become true

On November 4, the six of us – all sophomores at Goucher, voted
for the first time. Sending in my absentee ballot to my native
California was one of the most exciting things I have ever done, and
we were all excited to partake in making history. Just a month before
hearing you speak at Goucher, I had the opportunity to shake now
President-elect Obama’s hand at an election rally in Wilmington. I
took the train up to Wilmington by myself, and I instantly befriended
a group of students from the University of Delaware. The feeling of
unity was overwhelming, and I instantly knew this campaign was unlike
anything else in history.

The night of Nov. 4th was no exception. My roommates and I had to get
outside to celebrate. People joined quickly and we were suddenly
flanked by members of the community, students from several
institutions, schoolteachers, and professors – all united and chanting
"USA! USA!". The Hopkins Campus Security respected the crowd and kept
it under control, and it became a truly beautiful event. I was
surrounded by people I had never met before, of all colors: black and
white, Muslim and Jewish, old and young, from near and far all
celebrating under American flags.

You have already heard about what the police did last night. They
arrested two of my roommates and another one of my friends, for
reasons that were never disclosed. I stood and watched while my
roommate, a 19-year-old girl from New Jersey, was grabbed by the
throat by two policemen twice her size and had her arms bound so
tightly behind her back, she was screaming in agony.

I have talked with Goucher President Sanford Ungar, and he has already tried to help us get our
voice heard. The fact is that this happens every night in this city,
without a single mention in the Sun  or on the local TV news. These
students and the professor that were arrested were never told their
rights and were fingerprinted, photographed, intimidated, and forced
to spend hours in cells with people charged with violent crimes.
Fortunately, my friends and the rest of these aforementioned sixteen
that were arrested are lucky enough to be backed up by institutions
like Goucher College and Johns Hopkins University.

I know this letter is far from brief, and I appreciate that you have
taken the time to read this. I was inspired by your discussion at
Goucher, and wanted to know what I could do to change something in
this city. I think Baltimore is a beautiful place buried in an
inconceivable amount of filth. Before election day I couldn’t fathom
how I could help, or what I could even help with. I now know the
intricacies of how the Baltimore Police Department detains citizens
without Mirandizing them, charging them, or respecting their basic
freedoms. I feel I can speak on behalf of everyone who witnessed
Tuesday night’s atrocities when I say that we want to help.

The sixteen people arrested last night were picked randomly. It could
have been anyone. I have spoken with and know personally several of
those arrested and can tell you that they were all respectable and
respectful citizens that have done so much already to make this city a
better place. Will these volunteers, public school teachers, artists,
and professors voices be drowned out?

I hope not.

Thank you again for speaking to us at Goucher. Baltimore needs you,
and is lucky to have you.

Thank you,

Nick Bourland
Goucher College class of 2011

Written by Marc Steiner

Marc Steiner

The Marc Steiner Show airs Monday thru Friday from 10AM to Noon on WEAA 88.9 FM. The show covers the topics that matter, engaging real voices, from Charm City to Cairo and beyond. Call us at 410.319.8888 or email us to participate live in the show, or share your comments on our site! Aren’t in Baltimore but want to listen? Stream the show live.


  1. “…and I instantly knew this campaign was unlike
    anything else in history” said the whiny 19 year old student at Goucher.

    Such wisdom. Such perspective.

    Welcome to Baltimore. If your conduct is deemed disorderly by the police (making lots of noise with your multicultural, multi-colored cohorts), you just might get roughed up and arrested and (gasp!) have to spend hours in cells with people charged with violent crimes (<--innocent until proven guilty?). Yes, Baltimore is buried in an inconceivable amount of filth, but it is NOT a "beautiful place"!

  2. -Here’s a letter we got from Dave Eberhardt, which he sent to the JHU Newsletter, as well.

    As a veteran of the civil rights and peace movements, I would always NOT give police the benefit of the doubt. I live near the JHU campus. I also work at the Jail and enjoyed meeting Hopkins and other students as they came out of Central Booking.

    Observations: a kindly, fatherly, Mr. Maytag looking officer explains to me at the liquor store- “We needed the streets clear for the Hospital ambulances and for traffic to go through. One professor interposed himself between the arresting officers and the paddy wagon. We gave the students time to disperse. We simply have to keep the streets clear.”

    Why not give the students more time to disperse? I asked.

    Then too, why didn’t the students use the beach instead of the middle of a major intersection? The streets might belong to the people if one were trying to make a serious point. But this wasn’t 1917 or 1776. If it was St. Paul and 33rd, couldn’t the ambos find another route? Couldn’t the police have been more flexible? Or couldn’t the students have gone to the sidewalks or the beach?

    It is interesting- to me- to read the Newsletter’s side of things- with the editorial, the cartoon, etc.- all pointing to abuse of power. But I think the rightness of the two sides of the story gets lost in the details.

    Realizing that nothing would come to charges, I was tempted to think the brief stay at Central Booking might be a good thing for the students- in that I believe jail experience is a worthy price to pay for a cause. I also feel that Hopkins, like other campuses- has been largely apathetic politically. Is this generation apathetic politically? Ours wasn’t- (although I have to tell you- a lot of it was). But Hopkins even had a Chapt. of SDS!

    I end up thinking- the police probably could have acted in a more peaceful manner- and so could the students. Why not channel all the enthusiasm into some real work for peace- now that the racial side of King’s dream has been realized (NOT). Issues of class and violence clearly remain undiscussed, unaddressed.

    The part of King’s dream re non-violence has a long way to go. It would be a good thing we could work on the issues of non-violence for both the police and this generation. I don’t think either side understands it- certainly- the government and its police departments don’t- and won’t under Obama.

    Yeah- go ahead- let’s have an investigation. Let’s investigate the Hopkins Applied Physics Lab defense contracts. Let’s investigate police spying. Let’s find some projects worthy of participation.

    Dave Eberhardt
    4 Hadley Sq. N.
    Balto 21218

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