Here are a few updates for the Freddie Gray incident to think about while the riots continue.
1) The rioters are ridiculously misinformed menaces to society who clearly enjoy “shitting where they eat”
2) Freddie Gray’s arrest record has since been released. It reveals almost two dozen arrests, the majority of which revolve around distribution of narcotics. Furthermore, that was over the course of only 8 years.
3) Freddie Gray might have had a pre-existing spinal injury prior to his arrest. This would change the entire mystery about the unaccounted time during which previous reports allude to improper treatment during detainment. These claims are unconfirmed, but come from various websites saying Gray had a previous claim with Allstate about an accident that caused damage to his back. Even crazier, it’s reported that the most recent injury was only a week before his arrest… which means he should’ve been in recovery or at least wearing a cervical collar… not roaming the streets and running away from police!!
Freddie Gray & Baltimore Police
I read about people being killed by the police all the time. In fact, just in April of this year there have been over 37 recorded deaths from police officers. Most of which are clear cases, like suicide by police or suspects aiming/shooting at the responding officer(s). Unfortunately for police, that kind of stuff is expected by people and goes without merit. In movies we see police shoot “bad guys” all the time. We’re desensitized and it doesn’t even register in our brains.
However, there are (by portion of overall reported incidents) a very small percentage of high profile, emotion provoking deaths. These are the stories that outrage groups of people and we all demand that justice be served.
Freddie Gray’s death is one of those incidents. In a brief recap, Freddy was in a shady neighborhood in Baltimore, ran from the cops (unprovoked), a chase ensued and then there are mixed stories about what happened (report says he was arrested without incident). He was then placed in a van with handcuffs and foot restraints, but no seat belt. Gray appeared fine when placed him in vehicle but was unable to speak or breathe when removed. Upon going to the hospital he died, was resuscitated and then underwent surgery for spinal injuries. He then went into a coma and passed away.
It is unknown what happened and how the spinal injuries were inflicted. Since the incident, five of six officers have been suspended, with pay.
Why are people angry?
Well, a young African American male died for no apparent reason. These types of incidents always bring up underlying tensions that exist in society. Gray’s death puts a face with the faceless incidents that go unnoticed.
What’s the problem?
As always, there are tons… on both sides of the story.
1. UNNECESSARY Police Brutality and Mistreatment of Suspects/ Detainees
This needs to stop. It’s not illegal to run, but obviously that looks suspicious, so the officers responded. Upon stopping, there weren’t any red flags indicating some situational danger, like the suspect yielding a weapon. So what happened? Why wasn’t the detainee properly secured in the vehicle? Did the police break his neck before he was placed in the vehicle?
I’m all about our officers taking proper precautions in dangerous situations, but this didn’t appear to be one of those situations. The word “irate behavior” has been used in reports. Okay, great – pull the damn tazer or pepper spray out and use that. Those are both non-lethal and physical without beating on somebody. That’s what those tools are designed to do on mid-level threat situations. It’s hard to be irate with currents of electricity subduing you, whereas physical suppression almost instinctually triggers resistance… think about it.
2. Police Training & Education
I served in the military, I can understand the rush and feelings that various situations create. However, we need to continue to make sure that training is continual and response to those situations becomes habit. Second-nature. Well trained and educated officers should react favorably in situations like Freddie Gray’s. It requires acting respectfully and authoritatively without being overly physical or provoking exaggerated response. It’s like the Marine that comes home from deployment and beats up the trash talking drunk at the bar. Shake it off. You’re better than that, Marine… he has no idea and probably never will.
Approach the situation carefully and well trained, but don’t let emotions get to you. That’s not the job and will unnecessarily get people injured or killed.
3. Violent Response to Tragedy
Violence isn’t the proper response. It’s absolutely nuts that people think rioting or violent backlash will do anything to correct the problem. Surprisingly, the hippies got something right & they got shit done. In order for both sides to come together, the complete story needs to be divulged and justice needs to be attained in the proper methods. Give the law a chance to work before turning to alternative options. It’s crazy to me when opposing groups almost use tragedy as an excuse to oppose the other side more aggressively. What’s the expected outcome? A revolution where there are no longer police? Because, reasonable solutions don’t come from that sort of behavior, so it almost appears as though people expect radical change.
Gray’s twin sister had it right when she let people know (standing next to the Mayor at a news conference), “My family wants to say, can you all please, please stop the violence? Freddie Gray would not want this. .. Violence does not get justice.”
To those in law enforcement – keep up the good work and remember that you are all role models. In fact, the only thing I enjoy from this type of incident is the rush of positive stories that arise. The great and helpful actions that usually go unspoken, but people feel the need to share their gratuity. Stories like an officer buying a poverty stricken minority child lunch, etc. Even in dark times there are some rays of light shining through that make me proud to be an American.