Starting on April 27, the city of Baltimore erupted in riots following the protests of the death of resident Freddie Gray. Gray succumbed to spinal injuries on April 19, after being held in police custody. The death of the young African American man comes after a slew of recent events that have roused public sentiment- including the shootings of Walter Scott in South Carolina, and of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, both perpetrated by police officers.
According to officials, the Baltimore Police Department has a history of enacting extrajudicial violence against people in its custody, and has regularly paid compensation through the court. What were intended to be peaceful protests against the Baltimore police turned into riots, which included the burning and vandalism of parts of the city.
Within hours of Freddie Gray’s funeral on April 27, protesters began attacking police officers. Later that day, the Maryland Governor Larry Hogan declared a state of emergency, calling in the national guard to quell the riots. Baltimore schools were closed in the 28th, and peaceful protests have resumed since then. The city is now in the process of recovery from the damage done. On Sunday May 3, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake lifted the city-wide curfew that had been in place since the riots, two days ahead of schedule.
Senior Daniel Park thought it was “…disturbing that people are so emotionally charged without standing back and rationally analyzing the facts.”
Baltimore seems to be a repeat of similar incidents that have occurred throughout the country which have polarized police departments and the African American community.
Officials hope that protests will die down after Maryland State Attorney Marilyn Mosby announced on May 1 that her office would be pursuing criminal charges against the six officers involved in Freddie Gray’s arrest.