Police arrested activist Kim Trueheart at Baltimore City Hall in January, saying she had been “banned” for disruptive behavior. We forwarded the news to AF James MacArthur. Here’s what he wrote back:
Quiet as it’s kept, months ago I was the first in media to publicly disclose the existence of the super-secret city hall “banned” list. I openly discussed it on Marie Jones Brennan’s Crime blog. Her envy of me is probably why she hasn’t pointed this out.
What happened to Kim Trueheart is absolutely detestable, but for a man knowing what I know, not the least bit surprising. At one point I used to cover city hall extensively. Many people wondered why I suddenly stopped. The answer is simple. I found out I was on the banned list.
I’ve always known my work placed me in constant risk of arrest, but I didn’t think it would go like this. Believe it or not, I took numerous steps to help prevent chances of me being arrested. Multiple constantly rolling cameras and live stream audio were among some of my tools.
Not only did this stuff provide a better product for my audience, for the most part, it kept the cops in check. The average cop is not willing to act like a jackass knowing they’re on live camera and audio.
Though I never came out and blatantly revealed to my audience, besides my own cameras, I often had other people with cameras on scene recording the whole thing, including shooting me, shooting the scene. Cops eventually figured this out. It frightened them.
We tracked down MacArthur’s comment on Baltimore Crime Blog:
Unfreaking believable. I course I would have asked those tough questions, but I’m still in exile from city hall. Hey, the people of this city have set the bar of acceptability to where public officials here have to answer to no one. Folks like us who ask the tough questions, pushing the envelope a little are readily minimized and marginalized. At least I am.
Getting exiled from city hall is easy. I haven’t been exiled yet, but my friend has. There is an unfriendly security team at the entrance. Once you appear on their radar you’re out.
Since waves made by the Trueheart arrest, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has denied responsibility for the ban, saying it “was a decision that the Police Department made”. If so, serious questions remain about the status of the “banned” list, which may still be in effect for many besides Trueheart.
Meanwhile, MacArthur is still in jail. Here’s more from his letter:
I’m still here in hell. As you’re well aware my 1 February bail review was a complete bust. We’re now being given full evidence that the entire so-called judicial systems seems to be conspired against me.
Hoping against hope you receive this letter. I have reason to believe my mail is being tampered with and intercepted. To go from getting mail every single day, to now having gotten nothing in over a week, doesn’t take a genius to imagine something must be up.
My guess is my incoming and or outgoing mail is being screened/read carefully by investigators/prosecutors in a desperate attempt to find something, anything they could use. After all, at this stage they have a lot of explaining and justifying as to why such a tremendous circus fiasco was performed. Why such a tremendous outlay of resources and personnel?
All for a so-called violation of probation that even the judge saw as bogus and has now closed and dismissed.
The State’s case is weak and deteriorating, but pride prevents them from withdrawing. The police and prosecutors will now seek a way to save face. May God in Heaven put them to shame and heap embarrassment on their heads.
It’s absolutely despicable how under a phony application of law enforcement, these evil people have sought to suppress my voice. My civil rights mean nothing to them. My good character and years of serving the public and community amounts to nought in their eyes.
Hey, since I’m continued to be held on a no-bail status in the interest of public safety, let’s all wait and see the sudden decrease in crime in Bodymore, Murderland. After all, the government is telling the people I’m responsible for Baltimore being such a messed up and dangerous place.
The “so-called violation of probation”—which served as the pretext for the December 1 raid on MacArthur’s home—was indeed dropped from the books days before a scheduled hearing.
MacArthur’s arraignment is scheduled for March 11. If you don’t mind some extra eyeballs on your letter, you can write him at:MACARTHUR #2335662 300 E. Madison St. Baltimore, MD 21202