Six police officers in the city of Baltimore, Maryland were charged on May 1 for the death of Freddie Gray. Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old African-American, was pulled into a police van and suffered spinal cord injuries that ultimately led to his death. The events were caught on video.
The reports show the arrest of Freddie Gray was unjustified and unnecessary. Gray was approached by the police, surrendered and taken down with no warning. While they were searching him, the officers found a switchblade knife, which is legal to carry in the state of Maryland.
After making the arrest, the officers recklessly threw Gray into the back of a police van and did not securely buckle him in for a safe transport. This is a violation of a police code. Throughout the arrest and ride, Gray pleaded for an inhaler, saying he could not breathe.
The ride to the police station, which should have taken two minutes, ended up taking around 40 minutes, according to police logs. Throughout the drive, multiple officers were said to have checked on Gray. Gray asked for medical attention, but was ignored, and he was not breathing by the time he arrived at the police station. It is obvious that the officers were not concerned for the medical state of Freddie Gray.
Once the public became aware of what had happened, protests were organized. As time progressed, some became violent. A curfew was set in place for the residents of Baltimore in order to establish safety.
Most media outlets chose to only report on the violence that was happening in the city. Videos of protesters looting businesses, burning the American flag and throwing flaming trashcans went viral.
Overlooked were the peaceful rallies that were run by organizations such as Black Lawyers for Justice. Groups like this are looking to spread the story of Freddie Gray, so police corruption can be highlighted and fixed. This is a message that needs to get out to help prevent innocents from dying by the hands that are supposed to be there for safety.
In the past year, many accounts of police brutality and corruption have become widespread in the media. In July, police in New York City sparked protests after choking Eric Garner to death. In August, the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, caused chaos, as well.
It is obvious that something needs to be done.
The officers' charges show that the message was heard loud and clear from the protest. Freddie Gray needs justice. Once the announcement of the charges was made, the rallies and protests started to diminish and became cheers, instead.
However, was this only a temporarily fix?
Charges have been filed, but this does not necessarily mean that they will be found guilty by trial. If something were to go wrong in the trials and the police officers were found not guilty, the riots in Baltimore may be reawakened.
The outcomes of what has happened in Baltimore, so far, should be an example for the nation. Police brutality and corruption is apparent and needs to be addressed. Hopefully, the message will be heard and the history that was made in Baltimore will not be swept under the rug. All that can be hoped for is a fair trial that brings justice to Freddie Gray.