The nation’s latest casualty of police brutality is 25 year-old Freddie Gray of Baltimore, Maryland who suffered a spinal cord injury after being arrested and denied timely medical care by the Baltimore police on April 12th. Gray died from his injuries at the hospital a week later on the 19th. His agonizing cries for help were in vain. He was placed in the police van, unbuckled, placed in leg irons and denied prompt medical attention all while the van made three subsequent stops before arriving at the police station where Gray finally received medical attention, but to no avail, reported CNN (April 24, 2015).
“The people are demanding immediate arrests, immediate end to the
protracted investigation, and immediate end to the stonewalling,”
said Malik Shabazz, president of Black Lawyers for Justice.
News of a “credible threat” from various gangs warning they would ‘take out’ police officers, prompted the University of Maryland and the Mondawmin Mall to close early.
Gray’s funeral was held, Monday, April 27th and the residents of Baltimore showed their discontent at the lack of regard for black lives with an outpour of violence and looting by late afternoon.
Residents had poured onto the city’s streets, throwing rocks, bottles and chunks of concrete at police officers who were lined up in riot gear. The violence broke out in the northwest neighborhood of Mondawmin, where Gray’s funeral was held. Maryland’s governor Larry Hogan, declared a state of emergency and activated the National Guard on Monday and a curfew was set for all Baltimore residents.
This is the second time in six months, since the Ferguson shooting of black teenager Michael Brown, that the National Guard was called in to help diffuse a situation brought about from a deadly encounter of a black man by the hands of the police.
Religious leaders and civil rights activists hoped Gray’s death would serve a more meaningful purpose and spark peaceful protests as a catalyst for change for the black community.
According to the New York Times, cars were set on fire, store windows were shattered, and a CVS drugstore was looted and set ablaze, and a cafe inside a century-old Italian deli was demolished. The scene was horrific, the aftermath like a movie scene. City officials closed schools Tuesday morning to protect the safety of the children. According to the department, fifteen police officers were injured, a few suffered broken bones, and one officer was unresponsive.