Tuesday, April 28, 2015
Freddie Gray, 25, was laid to rest on April 27 2015 and his family had asked that there be no protests that day to allow for them to mourn his death. He had been arrested on April 12 by the Baltimore MD police for possession of a switchblade. The initial report state that sometime after he was arrested, he suffered a medical emergency.
It took 11 minutes after his 8:40 am arrest for him to be placed in the van and 30 minutes later paramedics were summoned to take him to the hospital. Gray was in a coma within an hour of his arrest and died in the hospital on April 19th. He had three fractured vertebrae, a throat injury and his spine was 80% severed in the neck area.
Gray had a police record but it was for minor offenses and drug related charges, nothing that should have led him to dying in police custody. The Baltimore police suspended six officers that were involved in the arrest and transport. They and the DOJ have also opened an investigation as to what had gone so horribly wrong with his arrest. For days there had been peaceful protests until the 25th when the protest in downtown Baltimore turned violent.
That violence looked like a kindergarten fight compared to what developed on the 27th. There were rumors of a protest being held for young people that afternoon and now, reports have stated that it had also been advertized on social media as a "Purge" like the film. What it became was nothing like a protest backing the belief that black lives matter. News stations nationwide showed the developing firestorm and night of destruction and looting.
Reporters questioned why the police were not being more forceful in handling the crowds and others tried to whitewash the behavior as young people who are frustrated with their situation and venting. What I watched was nothing more than people running wild, looting, destroying property, attacking the police and burning their own neighborhoods. I do not know how you can spin people breaking into businesses and strolling out with whatever they want as part of a protest of police brutality.
As it got closer to evening, views from the ground and helicopters showed people driving up to various businesses and leaping out with trash bags to fill as they ran into businesses. The police had come under fire by crowds of people throwing whatever they could get in their hands at the officers or their vehicles. Several police cars could be seen destroyed and claimed as though they were a spoil of war.
At one point, the CVS store, which reportedly had been convinced after many years of diplomacy to open there was set on fire. Reporters in the area wondered why the fire department had not rushed over there quickly to put out the flames. A police car and van could be seen further down the street from the CVS, abandoned and burning as smoke began to roll out of the looted store. Finally the police moved in as a line and the firetrucks could be seen trying to snake their way through the crowds while rocks and bottles were thrown at them.
The fire department finally arrived and the police had to create a ring around the equipment and trucks so that they could try and put out the fire. The mob around could be seen doing whatever they could to prevent the firemen from doing their job and it could be seen now why it had taken so long for them to respond. Everyone was fair game now to attack or destroy and it had nothing to do with a young black man dying after he was arrested. The situation was quickly spinning out of control and there did not seem to be enough police to even take a chance at arresting anyone.
What happened next I am sure shocked more than a few people........ someone came up to the fire hose and stabbed it several times and then walked away. The police were forced to expand their safety perimeter around not only the fire trucks but the hoses as well. I can think of no reason as to why you would want the prevent the fire department from putting out a fire since it could easily spread and take out a whole block of buildings. This was not a protest and it was done right in front of reporters broadcasting live. No one did anything to stop the man either, as if this was an everyday thing to do.
There were several reporters who were now stating that they had been threatened, one was attacked and his camera stolen and many were starting to move away from the direct action. Usually they have no end of people who want to get on camera and voice their specific complaints but that was not happening now. As the sun was going down, reporters were looking for cover and the fires were beginning.
Reporters that had been filming looting and destruction were told that they should move away if they knew what was good for them. They had dropped the use of the word "protesters" as the mobs became more destructive and most had stopped trying to speculate why the police were not moving in to break things up. All someone had to do was watch their television and they could feel the tension of the mob. They were waiting for one more reason to just let loose and destroy anything nearby.
It seemed that whenever the police moved to a new area to try and settle things down, the mob would move back in and continue to loot and burn. At one point, the the new senior housing and community center that the Southern Baptist Church had been building caught fire. The $16 million dollar complex was scheduled to open in December of this year with 60 units of affordable housing for seniors. It also had a community center that would be able to offer work-force training and various other services and programs for all ages in the neighborhood.
More than 60 church members arrived at the building site in an attempt to try and stop the continued destruction or to just stare at a years long dream go up in flames. As the night wore on there were more news reports and films of mobs setting fires, destroying cars and looting shops of their goods that they just dragged outside and fed to the street fires. This had nothing to do with being frustrated.... it had everything with being able to run as a mob and doing anything they felt that they wanted to at the moment.
In the morning it had been reported that there had been 20 police officers injured, 19 structure fires, 144 cars burned and 235 people arrested. What was left was the clean up and some store owners chance to see if their business had survived the looting.
Baltimore has struggled like so many other large cities that have lost major businesses. What happened last night will not encourage more business to invest in a store there. They were not protesting their conditions or grievances..... they were destroying the dreams of hardworking neighbors of theirs. No one guarantees that you get a break in life or that you will be handed a good job, fancy car and a roof over your head. You have to work at it like every one else.
The cars that were burned, they belonged to people who may still have to make payments and it may be their only transportation to work. No one gave them that car but you took it away quickly. The CVS store that is looted and burned out....... they won't rebuild and reopen there so people are out of work and many have no where else to shop or fill prescriptions. The various other small stores that were looted or burned....... the owners have worked hard to open that business and now their dream is trashed.
That was not an attempt to vent your frustrations with being held back from success....
You just wanted to run wild, destroy and enjoy the moment. I can bet that things are going to be a bit rougher now that you tried to destroy your own homes. Destroying the dream of a church to give back to the elderly and needy in the neighborhood is about as low as you can go and I can't entertain any complaints you may have about how tough life is for you.
I can't take your complaints very seriously when you are willing to destroy a dream that was aimed at helping those most in need......
Black lives matter and the protests and outrage should be pointed towards every life that is taken by gunfire, not just those few who die in police hands......
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