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Corrupt Baltimore season 2

“The city belongs to us” (We Own This City), by Justin Fenton, translated from English (United States) by Simon Bouffartigue, Sonatine, 415 p., €22, digital €15.

Justin Fenton, seated at a brasserie near the Luxembourg Gardens (Paris 6and), admits having had to deal with a few bouts of “paranoia” as he investigated one of the largest cases of police corruption in Baltimore. “I was writing about police breaking into people’s homes, sticking GPS trackers on their cars, listening and spying on them.says the American journalist. So I took precautions. » Like leaving a note in your car before meeting a confidential source or turning up the volume on your sound system and locking yourself in a closet to make a sensitive phone call. “Was it theatrical? Only necessary? I’m not sure, but prevention is better than cure. And then it made me feel better. »

To read The city belongs to us, striking snorkeling deep into a vast enterprise of embezzlement, we understand that the risk of taking a bad blow was not zero. In the footsteps of a “super gang of ripoux”Fenton sheds light on the reflexes long acquired by the police institution to defend itself: minimizing supposedly isolated facts, firing a few lamplighters and sending cops notoriously known for their repeated blunders back to the streets.

The specific obsession with the “muckracker”

“It was a pervasive and deeply rooted behavior that dates back years”, believes Fenton. Faced with the inertia of blind or complicit authorities, the journalist endeavors to “document this reality” throughout articles written for the Baltimore Sun, where he works then, which will serve as support for his book. With the obsession proper to muckracker, to the “dumpster digger” – an expression which, in American journalistic jargon, sounds like a compliment – he collected more than two hundred testimonies, met ordinary citizens crushed by miscarriages of justice, retired police officers, elected officials and social workers, lawyers, magistrates.

Justin Fenton multiplies the points of view, just to avoid being accused of “anti-cop” in a highly flammable American context

He fills notebooks and notebooks, consults internal documents and gradually builds up a database which he then injects into an endless chronological frieze, multiplying the points of view to “Get as much information as possible and not push any particular narrative”just to avoid being taxed with“anti-cop” in a highly flammable American context.

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