Freddie Carlos Gray Jr was a human being but he is dead primarily because he wasn’t viewed as such by the country that birthed him and the social, political,economic system that deemed him unworthy. His death at the hands of the police was a betrayal. Even the effort to have someone held responsible and accountable for his death was betrayed by the very people and institutions we’re propagandized to believe are fair and impartial. The Democrats, the city administration, the prosecutor, the police, the black cops, the female cops, the black judge and ultimately the law and even the media failed Freddie Gray Jr.
His death should put to rest many of the assumptions folks have about how to bring about real change in this country. It should put to rest the idea of democrats being more progressive, the idea that Black faces in formerly white spaces will bring about real change. It dispels the myths about Black cops and women cops being the answer to police brutality.
Baltimore has a Black and female mayor, but she didn’t help Freddie Gray or the thousands of other Baltimoran’s like him. Baltimore is run by Democrats but that didn’t help Freddie Gray. Baltimore has a Black and female State Attorney/prosecutor but though she tried, she couldn’t help Freddie Gray. Baltimore‘s police department is almost half Black, but Caesar Goodson Jr and William Porter didn’t give him medical attention Freddie Gray. Baltimore has black female cops but Alicia White didn’t help Freddie Gray. Baltimore even had Black judges but Barry Williams refused to grant Freddie Gray justice.
The Black cops didn’t help Freddie Gray because he was just another one of the hundreds of (“ ”) they had accosted before. In their eyes he wasn’t a human being, he was a (“ ”)…
I suspect the reason Black upper middle class judge Barry Williams contorted and bent the law to make sure that the police got off was because, like the system he too couldn’t identify, sympathize or empathize with Freddie.
Otherwise how does anyone explain the judge acquitting Officers Ceasar Goodson Jr, Edward Nero and Lt. Rice of all charges by claiming that by standards of law what the cops did in the death of Freddie Gray was not “unreasonable.”
But maybe he’s right, in the US it’s not unreasonable to chase a Black person down (who is minding his own business), injure him in the process, ignore his pleas for medical attention, further injure him with a “rough ride” and ultimately cause his death and not be held responsible.
The well- educated African American actually said after letting Lt Rice off that the court, “cannot be swayed by sympathy, prejudice or public opinion.”
In reality the court operates with a prejudice against the poor and the Colored. Its sympathies lie with the system itself. And negative public perception about poor people in general and so-called minorities in particular, causes jurors to seldom sympathize with poor and black defendants. And public opinion in favor of the police is why it’s almost impossible to convict the cops, despite the evidence.
Incredibly, the jurors in the Porter trial and judge Williams in three trials could not find the officers even guilty of misconduct or reckless endangerment. Gray did not break his own back! One of the legally educated jurors in the Porter case remarked that, “the justice system was well served in this case.” If it was designed to protect its own indeed it was.
“As a trier of fact,” Judge Williams wrote, while acquitting Goodson Jr. “the Court cannot simply let things speak for themselves.” Exactly!
If the law can in no way find these people accountable then what good is the law?
Baltimore United for Change summed it up well writing that, “the moral deficiencies of the justice system are on full display when those accused of vandalizing stores are charged and convicted before any officer is held accountable in the loss of a human life.” Since the riots the system found a way to convict five young Black men to long prison terms for causing property damage during last year’s riot.
Not only was Gray betrayed but so have many poor Black Baltimoran’s who suffer from high unemployment, over-policing ( which ironically does little to deter law breaking in their neighborhood) and over incarceration. Their children more often attend substandard schools and while Baltimore has spent millions of public dollars on sports stadiums the children of the Black poor have few recreational facilities. And last year the cost of water went up by 33 percent.
And the supposedly blind and neutral law can see them too!
“People are tired,” said young Baltimore activist Tyrone West. “If you can’t understand why people are tired of that, it’s un-American. Then you don’t understand why George Washington was tired of that. You don’t understand why no taxation without representation, they were tired of that. People are tired. You get enough people together who are tired, something’s going to happen.”
We can only hope!
justice then peace