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Baltimore Chaos Sparks Calls for Social Reform

Protesters take to the streets in Baltimore as protests continue in the wake of Freddie Gray's death while in police custody.

(Kim Hairston/Baltimore Sun/TNS used with permission)

Protesters take to the streets in Baltimore as protests continue in the wake of Freddie Gray's death while in police custody.

Alana Burgess, Contributor

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Protest and riots sparked throughout Baltimore after Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old African American man, passed away after an incident of alleged police brutality. Many protesters celebrated after the six officers were charged, however for many, this is not enough. They want to put an end to police brutality, especially involving people of color.

At first the protests were peaceful, but after Gray’s funeral, violence erupted.”

— Alana Burgess

According to the Baltimore Sun, the protesters chanted, “No justice, no peace, we don’t need you on our streets.” At first the protests were peaceful, but after Gray’s funeral, violence erupted. According the Washington Post, 486 people were arrested, with some cases severe enough to be taken to court. The National Guard and FBI were brought in for backup. Rioters looted stores and set buildings and cars ablaze, which sent the city into a state of emergency. In addition, according to the Los Angeles Times, a curfew was ordered on April 28 before being rescinded May 3.

Police dressed in riot gear hold their line on Pratt Street near Howard in Baltimore on Saturday, April 25, 2015, as protests continue in the wake of Freddie Gray's death while in police custody.

(Karl Merton Ferron/Baltimore Sun/TNS used with permission.)
Police dressed in riot gear hold their line on Pratt Street near Howard in Baltimore on Saturday, April 25, 2015, as protests continue in the wake of Freddie Gray’s death while in police custody.

According to The Washington Post, the protester’s and rioter’s determination led to the injuries of about 113 officers. Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony Batts spoke to CNN saying that the police need to acknowledge that “we are part of the problem.” Experienced police officers are worried that new officers are looking to quit after facing the riots of Baltimore, just when the police force could use extra help. On CBS’ the Late Show with David Letterman, President Barack Obama said, “This is not just a policing problem. What you have are pockets of poverty, lack of opportunity…all across the country. Too often we ignore those pockets until something happens.” And, Prince released a song about the riots appropriately named “Baltimore.”

Both police brutality and the problem of poverty stricken urban neighborhoods are sure to be major issues over the next few months, especially in the lead up to the 2016 presidential election.

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Baltimore Chaos Sparks Calls for Social Reform