National news and media outlets have been in an obsessive frenzy over yet another death of a young black male youth while being in the custody of the police. This time it was a young man named Freddie Gray in Baltimore, Maryland. Gray was arrested and was being transported in a paddy wagon along with a few other men. However, Gray died before even arriving to the precinct. Autopsy reports of Gray stated that the young man sustained several severe body injuries such as spinal cord damage, head trauma from being slammed into the door bolt of the police van, and more bodily bruises that show he wasn’t secured in a seatbelt. Despite the countless street surveillance cameras posted all over the city, there is very limited video footage showing what exactly happened to Gray to cause his death. Friday morning, the New York Times reported that Baltimore’s chief prosecutor charged six police officers with crimes including murder and manslaughter in the arrest and fatal injury of Freddie Gray. With this surprising news, we shall see if the truth will surface as this rollercoaster of events continues on.
Upon Freddie Gray’s untimely death, there were peaceful protests being held around the city spotlighting the severe economic and social issues that have been plaguing the city of Baltimore for so many decades. Majority of the population are living extremely below the poverty line. The majority of people in these poverty stricken neighborhoods are people of color. The Baltimore civilians are not just protesting against racial inequality, but mostly the lack of economic opportunities and progression. But instead of spotlighting these systematic injustices, the intense national news coverage only surfaced once the peaceful protests turned into violent mayhem. It seems to be a habitual pattern of major news outlets showing footage of African American citizens looting and vandalizing property. However, it’s never confirmed or mentioned how the tides always seem to shift from peace to violence on the national media level. Who throws the first blow, the police or the civilians? It’s still not certain where the definitive responsibility lies, yet it’s so disheartening that this vital question remains rhetorical.
The outpour of growing protests around the nation due to police misconduct is only gaining intensity. This matter can no longer be swept under the rug. As I stated in my #crimingwhilewhite post during the unjust death of Eric Gardner, our government needs to take drastic strides in revising government policies and documents to reflect the current state of society so that hopefully all legal entities can attempt to begin fair practice of law and order. Most importantly, in regards to police training, more in-depth academy programs need to be created towards the social and psychological aspects of the job. Factors such as being more physically fit, training in various social and economic neighborhoods, revising the age of entering the academy and retirement are just a few of many aspects that can hopefully begin to shift the climate of the police force as becoming a more positive sector in society.
I continue to also pray and hope that more people continue to protest as their hearts become more unsettled and anguished from this continuing police brutality issue. There are so many activist groups across this nation that continues to courageously protest against this injustice, despite the knowing risks of being arrested or physically violated by law enforcement. Change always comes from within first. We have to take our future and society into our own hands. As this revolution continues, we will continue to get knocked down, but we have to keep marching on.
If you want to learn more and become more active in this growing movement, below are just a few out hundreds of social and political activist groups that have been leading forces in marches, protests, and community mobilization programs. They courageously continue to take the forefront in steering our generation towards a brighter tomorrow!
Justice League NYC: www.gatheringforjustice.org
Will Rap 4 Food Inc: www.willrap4food.org
Dream Defenders: www.dreamdefenders.org