Outbreak Erupts In Baltimore
By Dimon King
Chaos, just chaos everywhere you turn. These past few days have been chaotic, and many issues have been arising. The latest one occured in Baltimore. The 27th was filled with arson and riots ending with many injured, an angry governor, distraught neighbors, state troopers tripled on every corner, burglaries, and a huge mess to clean up the next morning. What is this world coming to? And all because of the death of one man: Freddie Gray. Is this the justice that so many wanted, did this bring him back or solve anything at all? The severity of the incident resulted in the Baltimore Orioles postponing their games against the Chicago White Sox, and playing on wednesday at Camden Yards where the fans were not allowed to go. It was closed to the public.
There has been about a week's worth of peaceful protesting going on throughout Baltimore. That was until Saturday night, when some protesters got into a fight with officers in their riot gear at a basketball court located at Camden Yard. From then on it just got worse. Places such as CVS drug stores were looted and burned down. Officers went to deal with the arson, robberies, and rioting. By the end, 19 cops were injured, there were about about 235 arrests, fifteen buildings and a hundred and forty-four cars were set on fire.
Early that morning, the police started to gear up for the violence that was sure to come, after they received word that across the social media, someone called for all high school students to “purge." This coming from the horror movie, “The purge”, where one night a year, from 7 a.m to 7 p.m all crime is legal, and police, firefighter and medical units are unavailable. There the police made two hundred and thirty- five arrests. Thirty five of them were juveniles. There were some by a area enclosed with eight high schools. Captain J. Eric Kowalczyk, told the reporters that he didn't think that there would be anyone there that would expect them to deploy with automatic weapons and armored cars for 13-15 year olds.
The effect of the damage caused the start of the 10 p.m curfew. Even with the curfew, many people were still out in the street, and rioting still continued. Police commissioner Anthony W. Batts stated that “The curfew is in fact working.” He went on to elaborate that only ten people have been arrested after it went into effect. “Everything is safe and stable. So lets hope it stay that way.” To make sure everything was going to improve, national guards were placed in a two and three block radius around the Northwest Baltimore neighborhood.
The next day, tuesday night, almost one thousand people came together at the empowerment temple.There, five hundred different religious leader began to call for healing with policing, policies and schools. But just behind those doors, there was some more fighting with the police who were behind their shield getting bottles thrown at them. The morning after, everyone in the neighborhood came out and started to clean all the mess that took place the night before. One of the residents stated “It’s sad, this don't make no sense. It comes to a point where you just gotta take pride in your own neighborhood. This make us look really bad as a city.” After the clean up, in the late afternoon, peaceful demonstrations took place, as the protesters chanted “All night, all day, we're going to fight for Freddie Gray!!” At the same time, Governor Larry Hogan and Mayor Stephanie Rawlings tried to do some damage control. Her actions came with criticism that she took too long to bring back-up and ask the governor to send in the national guards.
The mayor mentioned that this crisis is a ‘very delicate balancing act’ and that by creating a militarized atmosphere, it could further the tensions. The fact that Mr. Gray died because of police mistreatment made him a symbol, similar to Michael Brown.
When President Obama gave his first remark on the crisis in Washington, he called them “criminals and thugs.” Stating that there was no reason for what has taken place. He understood that people wanted an answer, even so the justice department was working with the local law to find out what truly happened that day. “When individuals get crowbars and start prying open doors to loot, you are no longer protesting.” he said that “ you are not making a statement but stealing. When you burn something you are committing arson.”
In the investigation to find out what truly happened to Mr. Gray, the sixth officer was suspended with pay. Many of the first the officers in questions were charged with homicide, manslaughter, assault and misconduct in the death of Freddie Gray. This news resulted in peaceful celebrations across Baltimore. His mother, Gloria Darden, told the reporters "I feel good because we got all six of them. You can rest Freddie, you can be in peace now.” Some say that it is still too early to celebrate. There will be justice once they are convicted of their crime. Even though the officers have charges pressed against them, the national guard is still on patrol around the areas where there was protest and violence.