The mainstream media is getting the story wrong with regards to the Baltimore Uprising taking place. Journalists are lazily positing a direct connection between the Freddie Gray protests and the riot that broke out after Freddie Gray’s funeral.
But that’s not the full story.
Most of the media are ignoring the fact that the Baltimore Police Department escalated the situation by releasing a press release during Freddie Gray’s funeral that claimed that Baltimore’s most notorious gangs—the Bloods, Crips, and Black Guerrilla Family—were forming a dark alliance to “take out” police.
Officials calling for calm can offer no rational justification for Gray’s death, and so they appeal for order.
Jim Bourg / Reuters
TA-NEHISI COATES APR 27, 2015
Rioting broke out on Monday in Baltimore—an angry response to the death of Freddie Gray, a death my native city seems powerless to explain. Gray did not die mysteriously in some back alley but in the custody of the city’s publicly appointed guardians of order. And yet the mayor of that city and the commissioner of that city’s police still have no idea what happened. I suspect this is not because the mayor and police commissioner are bad people, but because the state of Maryland prioritizes the protection of police officers charged with abuse over the citizens who fall under its purview.
The citizens who live in West Baltimore, where the rioting began, intuitively understand this. I grew up across the street from Mondawmin Mall, where today’s riots began. My mother was raised in the same housing project, Gilmor Homes, where Freddie Gray was killed. Everyone I knew who lived in that world regarded the police not with admiration and respect but with fear and caution. People write these feelings off as wholly irrational at their own peril, or their own leisure. The case against the Baltimore police, and the society that superintends them, is easily made: