A black man dead, mysterious circumstances, and chaos in the streets; if it sounds familiar, that’s because it is. Earlier this month, Freddie Gray was arrested by the Baltimore police. Sometime after being taken into custody, Gray suffered a mysterious neck injury that left his spinal cord “80 percent severed,” leading to his eventual death.

 

Following Gray’s death, CNN reported that the Baltimore Police Department has admitted that Gray did not receive necessary, and requested, medical treatment in a timely manner. Bystander video shows Gray being loaded into the back of a police van — beaten but seemingly lucid — but after that, something occurred during the ride to cause a severe spinal injury.

In a press conference, the Baltimore Police also admitted that the officers involved deviated from standard police procedure by buckling Gray into the van properly. This deviation could have been followed by a “rough ride” — an intentionally rocky and violent ride to purposely injure prisoners.

 

Police have only given vague explanation as to why they arrested Gray in the first place, stating that he was “involved in criminal activity”; beyond that, they have yet to provide any solid reasoning for his detainment. The department has suspended six officers with pay as a result of this incident, and city officials have promised a transparent investigation into Gray’s death.

 

This promise has not satisfied everyone.

 

The streets of Baltimore have become a war zone in the week following Gray's death (mynews13.com)

The streets of Baltimore have become a war-zone in the week following Gray’s death (mynews13.com)

In the wake of Gray’s death, the city of Baltimore has erupted with a series of violent riots that have — as of Monday — led to numerous arrests, injuries, and a state of emergency declaration by Maryland Governor Larry Hogan. With a mandatory curfew in effect, Maryland National Guard troops have descended on Baltimore in an attempt to restore order.

 

As police fight to regain control of the Baltimore streets, numerous community leaders — and Gray’s own family — urge for protests conducted in a peaceful fashion. CNN quoted Gray’s mother saying, “I want y’all to get justice for my son, but don’t do it like this here.”

 

As injustices like this continue to occur throughout our nation, some will continue to react violently. It begs the question: how many more cities have to suffer this sort of tragedy — and subsequent fallout — before something changes?

 

What do you think of the current riots in Baltimore? What are your thoughts on police use of force and the death of Freddie Gray? Comment below or tweet @connerws to keep the conversation going.