WASHINGTON, April 28, 2015 – Anger, riot and rampage in Baltimore have become one more tragic footnote in America’s continuing sage of urban unrest. This time it is based upon the suspicious death of Freddie Gray, a black man, at the hands of the police. Gray suffered fatal spinal injuries after being arrested by Baltimore police for a minor crime.
There is a strange twist to the city’s unrest, and it comes in the form of a statement made by Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. Did she seemingly give potential protesters the green light to destroy their own community?
Rawlings-Blake suggested giving “space” to city residents who were intent on letting loose their pent up inner urban rage over the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray. Did this light the match in the minds of the protesters to put their angry intentions into negative action? The mayor said, “We also gave those who wish to destroy space to do that as well,” reported the Blaze. Was she giving permission for hardworking business and property owners to simply let the street hoodlums in to destroy their property and livelihoods? Did she give the thumbs-up for those intent on looting and pillaging?
The aftermath of her comments was seemingly prophetic. Gray’s funeral was barely hours past when an apparent now viral ‘PURGE’ Instagram social media post suggested violent protest to begin at 3 p.m. The posting stated, “All High Schools Monday @3 We Going to Purge.” This, coincidentally, was timed for when the majority of city schools would be out for the day.
Unlike Ferguson, where the carnage occurred over a few blocks, the riotous outbreak occurred in several areas throughout Baltimore.
There appeared to be little hint of the upcoming violence after Gray’s death. In fact, there was peaceful protesting leading up to his funeral on Monday. This was in stark contrast to the near spontaneous combustion of angry riotous behavior that occurred in the days after Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson.
One hero of the violent outbreak was a mother of a young suspected rioter who doled out an apparent well deserved smack aside the head to her son when she spotted him participating in the angry protests. She can be seen in the You Tube video when he seemed to make a move to joining the protests.
Several of the protesters, when questioned by television reporters, could not admit that their looting of stores, burning cars and destroying property was not justified. They uttered disconnected self-serving platitudes like, “We want to end oppression,” “Justice for the people” and “We do this to show what they’re doing to our people.” One partially disguised protester commented “We need to get the police out of our community.”
What is all too sad is that the young man, who spoke wearing a scarf covering everything but his eyes, spoke the truth with his last phrase. The police were kept away from the looting, burning and destruction, and it was the young man’s community if he was indeed a resident, that was suffering the consequence of his idea of justice and freedom.
Yet, there was a flicker of calmer heads prevailing and one of them was the dead man’s twin sister Fredricka Gray, whose called for calm. She stressed, “My family wants to say, can you all please stop the violence? Freddie Gray would not want this,” reported the Blaze.
Maybe Fredricka Gray has the answer which can help the city to begin to heal. Hopefully the violent protesters will listen to her plea, “Can you all please stop the violence?”
On “Freedom’s Gate” host Kevin Fobbs is joined by Cliff Russell, a Detroit news anchor, political analyst, and current host of “Detroit Speaks with Cliff Russell” will join Linda Lee Tarver, a Michigan Civil Rights Commissioner, organizational psychologist and director of community affairs and election integrity liaison for the Office of Michigan Secretary of State on Standing to discuss not only what caused the riots but what needs to be done to change the course of our cities.
They will discuss possible causes and solutions to the violence and anger that resulted in riotous outbreaks in Ferguson, Mo., and the city of Baltimore.