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In these segments from the DVD Stop Fucking Snitching, Baltimore rapper Skinny Suge presents a no-holds-barred attack on "snitches," NBA star Carmelo Anthony makes a controversial cameo, and the Baltimore Police Department responds
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John Dowery Jr. was happy to be working again. He had recently spent 11 months cooped up, a prisoner in his own home. In November 2003, two officers investigating the sound of gunfire in East Baltimore had arrested him after a car and foot chase. They said that Dowery, who had been riding in the back of a blue Mitsubishi, had jumped out of the car, placed a loaded .38-caliber handgun on the ground, and tried to flee.
A 36-year-old heroin addict with a felony drug conviction, Dowery was facing federal prosecution and the prospect of up to eight years without parole. While he awaited trial, he had been “put on the box”—confined to his house, his whereabouts monitored by a transmitter locked around his ankle.
Staring down almost a decade behind bars can change a man, make him long for a second chance. And now it seemed Dowery had been given one. In October 2004, he had cut a deal, agreeing to become a witness in a murder trial. In exchange for his testimony, and as a result of good behavior, the feds had eased the terms of his pretrial detention. He had entered a drug-treatment program and landed a job working the graveyard shift at a condiment factory in the suburbs. For the first time in years, he was clean and sober, and life was looking up.
Each night, Dowery rode the commuter rail from the city to the plant; each morning, he rode it home again. He didn’t mind the odd hours; having worked as a baker, he was accustomed to being nocturnal. Shortly after dawn on October 19, 2005, he got off the train as usual. It was a brisk morning, with clouds dappling the sky but no hint of rain. He decided to skip the bus and walk the mile to his house on Bartlett Avenue.
Photographs by Veronika Lukasova
He ambled past the massive Board of Education building, with its columns, and headed down North Avenue to Greenmount Cemetery. There he turned left, passing the abandoned row houses where the “corner boys” were already opening for business, hoping to find a junkie in need of a morning fix. Farther on, past still-shuttered hair salons and check-cashing outfits, he turned down East 24th toward Bartlett. Just after seven o’clock, he reached his front porch and called out for his girlfriend, Yolanda, to let him in. Then he sensed something behind him.
|Left to Right: John Dowery Jr., James S. Wise Jr., Joseph Bassett|
He spun around to find two men dressed in black standing in his small front yard. One held a gun. As Dowery scrambled for his neighbor’s porch, the man pulled the trigger. Dowery leaped from the porch and raced around the side of his house, the two men close behind him, the gunman firing the whole way. He managed to stagger through his back door before his legs gave out. The attackers, believing their work accomplished, took off. A neighbor would later tell police that she heard one of them say, “We busted his motherfucking ass.”