THE WOUND THAT DOESN'T HEAL
Five years after the Baltimore Uprising by J.M. Giordano
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Five years ago, on April 12th, 2015, the 25-year-old Baltimore resident Freddie Gray was arrested by the Baltimore Police Department.
During this arrest and transport, Gray’s neck and spine suffered injuries that resulted in Mr. Gray slipping into a coma. He succumbed to his injuries a week after his arrest on April 19th, 2015.
Initial protests started occurring on 18th due to the existence of the video of Mr. Gray’s arrest filmed by Kevin Moore. Further driving these protests were already existing tensions not only within Baltimore’s historical racial and class struggles but also against the larger national backdrop of African-American deaths at the hands of Police such as Eric Garner a year early.
After Mr. Gray’s death, civil unrest continued to grow as many sought to express their frustrations and to bring to light the problems and injustices happening within the city. At first, the mostly peaceful protests were met with a large show of force by not only by the inclusion of thousands of police officers in full riot gear, tanks, and police helicopters, but by the also the deployment of Maryland’s National Guard troops.
All over the city and the country, people watched with bated breath as tensions continued to rise spurred by the media frenzy.
On May 1st, Mr. Gray’s death was ruled a homicide and the six officers were charged. However in July, all the officers were either acquitted or had the charges dropped.
These tensions can still be felt today like a highly visible wound that doesn’t heal.