The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Man Beaten to Death While Awaiting Trial

May 23, 2005

On May 14, 52-year-old Raymond Smoot was beaten to death in the Baltimore jail. According to witnesses, at least six guards beat and kicked Smoot to a bloody pulp while another dozen or so milled around. Smoot died within hours.

What was the man’s crime for which he was summarily executed by a gang of vicious guards? He was out of his cell asking to talk to a guard supervisor about his medications. A diabetic with high blood pressure, Smoot had been without his medications.

Why was Smoot being held in the first place? He was too poor to post the $150 cash bond required to get out of jail for a minor crime.

There has been enough of a reaction in the Baltimore black community to this vicious beating that some of the guards may face charges of some sort. But if the guards involved believed they could get away with such behavior, it is because they felt that they had a license to do so.

Look at the record of the Baltimore jail: Maryland State Senator Verna Jones said that since 2002, 27 inmates have died there.

It’s how prisons are run. Terror is used to control a population of poor people, most of whom are in prison for no other reason than that they are poor.