Underground Party People
Union Boss Mum After Police Shooting At AFSCME Hall Leaves Two Dead
It's been more than two weeks since a shootout between several partygoers and police after an illicit Independence Day event at a Southwest Baltimore union hall left dead two young men: Raemond White, 21, and Haywood White, 18. The deaths are Baltimore's 11th and 12th fatal shootings by police in 2008 (almost as many as in all of '07, which saw 15 fatal police shootings). Despite stories in The Sun and The Examiner about the incident, questions still remain about what happened that night--and how and why the party at the union hall was allowed to happen in the first place. (See below to read a statement by Mayor Sheila Dixon issued just before press time, after numerous inquires from City Paper.)
A party promoter known as "Mike Love," whose real name is Michael Tyrone Baze, hosted the booze-fueled Fourth of July bash. Billed as "Extreme Intoxication Volume 3," the event brought Raemond and Haywood White to the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees Local 67 hall on Bush Street, in an industrial section of Pigtown. In the wee hours of July 5, gunfire erupted and chaos ensued.
Party fliers show that since 2006 Mike Love and his companies Tainted Ink Modeling Group, Powerhouse Productions, and Fame and Fortune Records have hosted at least three events at the AFSCME hall. None of the events had one-day liquor licenses as required by law, according to Douglas Paige, spokesman for the Baltimore City Board of Liquor License Commissioners.
Police spokesman Sterling Clifford, who also is a spokesman for Mayor Dixon, says an investigation into the shooting is ongoing. Police accounts of the incident state that the Whites began shooting guns in the air outside the party, then fired on uniformed police when confronted. Clifford refers questions about the use of the union hall to AFSCME Local 67 executive director Glenard Middleton, a prominent statewide labor leader and husband of 6th District City Councilwoman Sharon Green Middleton (D).
Glenard Middleton, a Democratic Maryland superdelegate and a member of Gov. Martin O'Malley's transition team, says he had no knowledge of the event. He declines to say who rented the AFSCME hall at 1410 Bush St. "We weren't there, that event was held without our knowledge, I don't know these people, and that's all I can say," Middleton says.
Mike Love's MySpace page states he is 28 and a 1998 graduate of Southwestern High School. In a note he posted just over 48 hours after the Whites were fatally shot, Love described his mood as "mellow." He wrote: "First and foremost, R.I.P. Raemond P. White, aka `CITY BOY.' You will truly be forever missed but yet forever a part of my heart . . . I'm good now, I let go and let GOD and I feel much better and now know you're in a much better place than I am right now, but I'll see you soon my dude. ONE CITY!! ONE LOVE!!" Of the party that ended in tragedy, Love wrote, "It was a great turnout, a great event, from start to finish. Despite what the `NEWS' might tell you. Which they are lying about and totally wrong."
Mike Love could not be reached for this story. A person answering two phone calls at a number listed on his web site hung up both times when a reporter identified himself.
Tainted Ink Modeling Group was incorporated in November 2006, according to the Maryland State Department of Assessments and Taxation, and lists the resident agent as Michael Tyrone Baze, at 1030 Harwall Road in Baltimore County. The company's web site states it was established in 2000 with a mission "to help young men and women enter into the world of modeling with as much ease as possible as well as to motivate and help build self-confidence." The company has hosted numerous barbecues, parties, and grand openings featuring rappers, DJs, women, and alcohol, with billings such as "Super Summer Splash Bash," "Jaw Dropperz," and "Extreme Intoxication 2."
No one answered a knock at the door of Michael Baze's business address on Harwall Road, a brick residence across from Edmondson Heights Park in the Gwynn Oak section of Baltimore County. Court records indicate that Baze was convicted in 2002 on felony cocaine charges and sentenced to six years in prison, with most of the time suspended. Baze's attorney, William Buie III, confirms that Baze is in fact Mike Love.
Police are still investigating the fatal shooting at the July 4 union hall bash. A third victim, Darryl A. White Jr., was shot in the hand but survived. He was charged with possession of a handgun aggravated by possession with intent to distribute marijuana. His preliminary hearing in Baltimore City District Court is scheduled for Aug. 1. According to a statement of probable cause filed in court by homicide detective Daniel T. Nicholson IV, who along with Sgt. Clifton McWhite and detective James Lloyd responded to the shooting, security guards at the party had asked the Whites, who are believed to be related, to leave the party. Security also closed the party, and a large crowd was assembled in the parking lot and the street, Clifford says.
Once the three young men were outside, according to Nicholson's report, "the group began discharging weapons into the air." After uniformed, marked patrol units approached, "the group entered a white 4-door Ford Taurus." Then, "as the vehicle attempted to flee the scene, several shots came from the vehicle towards the officers." The officers fired back.
According to the statement, Raemond White was shot in the chest, and Haywood White was shot in the head. Police have identified the officers involved with the shooting as veterans James L. Brooks and Christopher D. Ahearn, of the Southern District.
The statement of probable cause indicates that a police search of the Ford Taurus turned up a Colt .45 handgun from the front dashboard and a .40-caliber Sigsauer handgun from "just inside the fold down rear seat," which allowed access to the trunk, where police also found several individually packaged bags of marijuana.
The statement further indicates that the Sigsauer contained no ammunition, "with the hammer in the lock back position with magazine," yet it does not indicate whether the Colt, which police believe to be the weapon used to fire on the officers, was loaded.
Among the victims, only Darryl White, the 22-year-old survivor, has criminal convictions, though Haywood and Raemond White were charged with handgun possession and drug possession, respectively, in 2006. A relative who answers a call to Darryl White's residence says the family has no comment.
In addition to the investigation into the shooting death of Raemond and Haywood White, police are investigating the illicit use of the AFSCME hall, according to Local 67 boss Glenard Middleton, who insists he is unaware that Love hosted parties there in the past. Middleton indicates displeasure that the incident could reflect poorly on the union yet declines to elaborate, citing the police investigation and his intent to talk to the union's lawyer. "I wish I could talk about how I'm feeling," he says.
Middleton seems surprised when City Paper informs him of an upcoming event advertised on the internet as "The All White Party for the Grown and Sexy," with open bar and free food, on July 26 at the AFSCME hall. "That's not true," he says of the scheduled event (the event has since been relocated to the American Legion Post No. 137, on DeSoto Road in Morrell Park). The group hosting that party, according to the flier posted on the MissionTix web site, is called "4theloveofit."
Liquor board spokesman Paige says the board has no jurisdiction over parties that serve alcohol without a one-day permit, which are only granted to charitable organizations. "Think of the times they have these events and you don't hear anything," Paige says. "I'm sure it's not an isolated type of promotion."
"As Mayor, I have tasked the men and women of the Baltimore Police Department to aggressively target our most violent criminals and work to get guns off the street. Unfortunately for all involved, a number of those criminals have chosen to attack our officers rather than surrender, forcing police to defend themselves and the civilians they are protecting.
All loss of life in Baltimore is tragic, and we would all like to see the number of police-involved shootings - and all shootings - go to zero. We all watch these investigations closely, and recent events have demonstrated the Department's ability to thoroughly investigate these shootings. For the safety of our officers and our citizens, I am hopeful that fewer people will choose to engage police, and more people will chose to respect the law and our city."
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