The Unrest in Baltimore: A Sad Reflection of Police Violence

It is hard for me to watch the current violence in Baltimore.  Young and old people alike are throwing objects at police, burning stores and partaking in civil unrest.  The National Guard has been called in and tension is at an all time high.  The Home Going service for Freddie Gray was held yesterday.  Elijah Cummings and Jesse Jackson represented the Civil Rights era.  The Obama Administration sent representatives also.  Freddy Gray's twin sister appealed for calm and tried to prevent what is currently unfolding.  Her plea is apparently being ignored by the looters.

The event that precipitated this conflagration was the death of Freddie Gray.  From documents accounts, he was being pursued by police after he was observed standing on a corner possibly trying to pass the time.  Unemployment in our communities is still twice that of other communities.  Police reported seeing a knife in his waistband.  He was handcuffed and placed into the back of as police van.  The Philadelphia Daily News referenced a nickel ride in an article about this incident today.  This ride involves executing high speed turns and stops and starts while an individual is unsecured in the back of a van.  People have been paralyzed and have suffered serious injuries while police implement a form of abuse.  In this situation the 'nickel ride' has cost Baltimore police a serious amount of scrutiny as to how Freddie Gray really died.

Image result for baltimore riots

It just seems like the police killings of unarmed civilians will never end.  The murders are occurring on a weekly basis.  Maybe the Baltimore police did not see the murder of Walter Scott in North Charleston on April 4th, 2015.  We are all human at the end of the day.  Police training should necessitate the avoidance of the use of deadly force when making an arrest.  It is a high stress job but the reason for police academy's should be implementing safe procedures for apprehending citizens.  The mantra is supposed to be innocent until proven guilty.  The fact that almost 380 people have been killed by police since January 1st, 2015 indicates that this tenet of U.S. Justice is not being upheld.

Many of my Facebook friends are condemning the violence that is presently occurring in Baltimore.  The looting of stores to me is an underlying aspect of the economic inequality that exists in many African American communities in this country.  While doing research for an infant mortality project I am working on I came across the following statistics:

Among poor African American infants, approximately one-third are born into single-mother families with little or no father involvement.  More than half (53%) are born into so called fragile families.  While father absence is not unique to the African American community, its toll on African American women and children is extremely high.  

Closing the Black-White Gap in Birth Outcomes: a Life Course Approach, Michael C. Lu, MD

I don't think we can pinpoint one particular social condition that can be the base cause for this current rioting.  Individuals with a job and something to lose would not want to be caught on camera looting and destroying police vehicles.  Many crimes are solved after the fact by the use of video sand facial recognition.  Some perpetrators are already on file for previous arrests.  The anger level is so high in Baltimore that an intervention is currently needed.

The desperation in my community is clearly evident.  Two teenagers were arrested in Philadelphia today for murdering a delivery driver for an Asian restaurant.  They were 14 and 15.  About one month ago, two teenagers were arrested for murdering a man who was walking his dog.  The man was 51 years old and was pleading for his life before ha was gunned down.  These students were students at Overbrook High School.  We react heavily when someone attacks us from outside of our community.  Our youth are imploding and committing egregious acts of violence and we cannot formulate an effective response.  Black voters matter and political summits are not working.  We need to develop responses based on economic development and building social capital in our communities.  Rest in Peace Freddie Gray and the increasing number of individuals killed by police officers in this country.  

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