Freddie Gray’s Death: Baltimore Officers Charged! President Obama wants Justice and Truth

by ahjotnaija

It is confirmed. Mr. Freddie Gray of Baltimore, Maryland was at the time of arrest innocent. He did nothing to have warranted arrest. Yet six police officers of the Baltimore police department arrested, handcuffed and locked him behind their van for a rough-ride, from which he sustained spinal cord injuries. His death resulted from injuries in this death ride.

Up till today, the city of Baltimore had erupted in protest, being joined by sympathisers and cities from accross America and beyond. The major part of the protest had been peaceful with pockets of violence and property vandalisation recorded, which had also since been condemned in order to focus on the primary purpose of the protest, nanely police brutality against Blacks in America.

President Obama weighed in twice on the matter, first to condemn violent protesters while emphasizing the import of objective media reporting. Baltimore is a city with a history of unacceptable brutality, a soul searching mission within the rank and file of the city police department, within the community, Black and White and accross America were pressed home in the president’s message. Upon the charge of the six police officers, the president emphasized the necessity of justice to both the deceased Freddie Gray and the officers facing possible death sentence if convicted. The people of Baltimore want the truth, President Obama said with a voice laden with sadness and calm, deep in thought.

At least one of the accused is facing a second degree murder charge, a graver accusation than those of his accomplice whose action while on duty helped snuffed out life in Mr. Freddie Gray. In a CNN report, it was pointed out that being charged with murder is not same as being convicted of murder.

Thus, the celebration which is now ongoing upon the news of hearing the charges against the police officers is a first step in a two-step victory for the protesters. Many protesters knew this, they are but satisfied that the first move has been taken to getting justice for the death of Mr. Freddie Gray, an unarmed! Black, whose crime was running away for fear of death upon citing the police. As if Mr. Freddie Gray had known he would be killed! by the men who were meant to keep him alive. What an irony!

From hastag stop police brutality to Black Lives Matter to hastag FTC, meaning F*ck The Cop, rising frustration in America, particularly Black communities to underline the long history of unnecessary extra judicial police killing meted out to Blacks, not only in Baltimore, but in America at large is being aired. The Baltimore police, it was revealed in the past days of protest, has been particularly violent and adopted unfriendly policing policies of Blacks in the city.

Baltimore houses many crime prone areas, however experts warn that brutal policing is never an effective crime combating mechanism, in fact it could bolster that which the city wants to curtail. Looking outside the hammer-and-nail approach/tactics a la mass incanceration culture, police brutality (e.g killing Blacks for being Blacks etc) would help; issues of abject poverty among Black communities, existing wage disparity between Black and White communities and high unemployment cum unemployeability of young Blacks in the city need be addressed.

Like the long walk to freedom from slavery, the struggle for equal rights for Blacks fought for by the Civil Rights Movement, it is clear that the journey to ending police brutality against America’s Black population will be long. One can but be comforted in that old slave song which hold true till this day, and anytime sung, connects to the fight/yearnings for freedom by foremothers and -fathers as they tilled the massa’s plantation: WE SHALL OVERCOME, WE SHALL OVERCOME, WE SHALL OVERCOME SOMEDAY…! And they did overcome!

Like the president, I demand that the process of getting justice for Mr. Freddie Gray be fair and truthful, only then can true soul searching to finding solution to the American police culture of brutality commence.