“Pray for Baltimore.” This was the phrase that caught my attention and spurred the decision to find out about what was going on in Baltimore….
on April 12, 2015. 25 year old Freddie Gray, a young man with known criminal records mainly misdemeanor and drug-related offences was arrested in a high crime area of Baltimore. The police men who arrested him said he fled when approached, so they chased him down on their bicycles and arrested him after finding a switch blade on him. Within an hour of the arrest, he had fallen into a coma and taken to trauma centre where it was determined that he had suffered a spinal injury (his family reports that his spine was 80% broken from the neck, 3 of his vertebrae were fractured and his larynx was injured).
After several attempts to save him, Gray died on the 19th of April. The 6 officers connected with his arrest were suspended temporarily with pay for not providing medical attention soon enough. His death led to the inception of a peaceful protest by the African American populace, but by the 25th, what began as peaceful took a violent turn resulting in 34 arrests and injuries of 15 police officers.
Gray’s funeral took place on the 27th of April. After the ceremony, the protest got more got more heated and out of control with reports of looting and destroyed properties.
What transpired before the death of Freddie Gray is quite unclear. The police officers that made the arrest said it was done without fuss. Several eyewitnesses reports the opposite. They said the police officers at some point were “folding” Gray, “bending” his legs backward, “holding” him down on his neck with a knee and beating him with batons. Several videos show Gray being dragged into a police van with him making this really awful sound.
As of today, 200 arrests have been made, 2 out of the 15 injured police officers are still in the hospital, 14 vehicles and 15 structures including a CVS pharmacy have been burned down. The governor of Maryland has declared a state of emergency, 82 troopers have been sent to Baltimore, the Maryland national guard activated, 500 state troopers activated and an additional 5000 police officers requested from other states to defuse the escalating situation.
My question is, if the police are to be believed, what happened after the arrest to lead to such injuries on a young man you claim to have arrested peacefully? With that being said, I have a problem with the turn the protest has taken. A protest is going on to address an issue of enormous importance and a group of people with questionable intent now deem it fit to carry out nefarious activities, in the process dispossessing people of their hard earned means of livelihood. Things like this is what cast African Americans in a bad light because when people are watching what they see is an angry mob looking for an excuse to self destruct and not a greatly “disadvantaged” populace fighting to be heard.