Last Monday “rioting” broke out in Baltimore over the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody. Today, Huffington Post is reporting that the Baltimore State’s Attorney called his death a “homicide” stating “We have probable cause to file charges” including second degree murder, involuntary manslaughter and assault, among others. Charges will be filed against the six officers involved in Gray’s arrest.
The State’s Attorney further noted that “no crime had been committed by Mr. Gray.” Police had said Gray was arrested for possessing a switchblade, but the knife in Gray’s possession was not a switchblade and was lawful. Gray was “illegally arrested”.
I lived in Baltimore for 11 years. My daughters grew up there and went to public schools. I worked everyday in the heart of downtown Baltimore – before there was a Camden Yards and an Inner Harbor – when the Baltimore Colts played in Memorial Stadium. I was there when they moved in the middle of the night – before there was a Baltimore Ravens.
The state of Maryland always prioritized the protection of police officers charged with abuse over the citizens being abused.
“Over the past four years, more than 100 people have won court judgments or settlements related to allegations of brutality and civil rights violations. Victims include a 15-year-old boy riding a dirt bike, a 26-year-old pregnant accountant who had witnessed a beating, a 50-year-old woman selling church raffle tickets, a 65-year-old church deacon rolling a cigarette and an 87-year-old grandmother aiding her wounded grandson ….
And in almost every case, prosecutors or judges dismissed the charges against the victims—if charges were filed at all. In an incident that drew headlines recently, charges against a South Baltimore man were dropped after a video showed an officer repeatedly punching him—a beating that led the police commissioner to say he was “shocked.”
Now we hear the calls everywhere for the young people of Baltimore to remain “peaceful” and “non-violent”. I guess we equate broken glass with broken spines.
The call for non-violence is a ruse. It is call for compliance.
Nobody and no media was asking the question: Why is Freddie Gray dead?
Where are the calls for “peace and non-violence” when citizens are being abused by police power?
Everyone knew. The Baltimore Sun did an intensive investigation of wanton police brutality back in 2011:
Why are there always calls for “non-violence” when the people being oppressed rise up?
The calls for non-violence ring hollow when they begin only after the violent repercussions of years of police brutality begin. Where were the calls for non-violence before? It’s like calling a time out. It’s a ruse.
“When nonviolence is preached by the representatives of the state, while the state doles out heaps of violence to its citizens, it reveals itself to be a con.”
Does that make violence right? No. But it is the natural response.
And it gets attention.
And sorry, but it feels good to get the oppressors boot off your neck – even for just an hour or two so you can breathe again.
This country has made Martin Luther King into the icon of non-violence. He was nothing of the kind. Dr. King believed in confrontation – not compliance.
And the racists of the 1960s came to believe he was the better choice than Malcolm who told any white man who attacked black citizens to expect bullets. Civil rights came to America not with a mealy-mouth “non-violence” – it came with confrontation, busted heads and the burning of a few cities.