Like many of The Vandalia Leader’s readers, I have been following the coverage of the riots in Baltimore, Maryland over the last few days.
Protestors, peaceful and not so peaceful, took to the streets in support of a black man, Freddie Gray, who suffered a fatal spinal-cord injury after being handcuffed and put in the back of a police van.
His death one week after being in custody is attributed to how six police officers allegedly treated him while being taken into custody and while in custody.
After two days of looting and vandalism leading to a curfew Monday night, 15 Baltimore City police officers have been injured while damage done to the city has already reached in the million dollar range.
It was like watching the Ferguson riots all over again. Buildings were being set on fire, stores were being looted, and police officers were being attacked.
Unfortunately, both city and state officials in Baltimore and Maryland learned absolutely nothing from the Ferguson situation.
Once again, local politicians fought for camera time to show support for the victim and his family.
The police officers are already guilty in the court of African-American public opinion as they were in the Michael Brown case in Ferguson.
At first, it appeared that evidence might cause some bigger trouble for the officers involved.
Then I got word from a source with ties to some Baltimore police officers that there is likely more to the story.
In what is not being reported as of yet on mainstream media, Gray was allegedly running from police and jumped out of a second story window. This might have caused his spinal injury.
It was only then the injury may have become worse when he was apprehended and their knees were put on his shoulders so they could cuff the suspect.
Politicians in the Freddie Gray case took sides to be considered a part of the “in crowd,” which is in support of those protesting what happened.
“I’ve made it very clear that I work with the police and instructed them to do everything that they could to make sure that the protesters were able to exercise their right to free speech,” said Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. “It’s a very delicate balancing act, because while we tried to make sure that they were protected from the cars and the other things that were going on…We also gave those who wished to destroy space to do that as well.”
So there you go…Just give these folks the “space” they need to destroy what they want to.
I’m sure the business owners in Baltimore loved this idea of encouraging free speech.
It took newly elected Governor Larry Hogan more than a day to alert the National Guard. His office says they were trying to reach the mayor all day long to see what resources she needed.
It doesn’t matter who may or may not be at fault for the National Guard’s activation delay because even when they were activated, they were only on standby.
Forget standby, just send the National Guard into the city and end this nonsense.
Just as Missouri took too long to activate and then residents never really saw the National Guard on the streets, the same thing is happening all over again.
So Baltimore residents are destined to be fearing for their lives for the next week, even with an overnight curfew.
Police officers are on alert as major gangs in the city have said they will be targeting police.
Meanwhile, a city where I have family and friends living in is being destroyed.
Our family faced obstacles last year as we took our son to Cardinal Glennon Hospital in St. Louis while the riots were still simmering in nearby Ferguson.
Now I have family and friends who are under attack and are concerned about a city that many of them were born.
I was born in Baltimore and I still cling to a sense of pride for being from there.
Please join me in praying that this senseless violence ends quickly.
Unfortunately, this has changed Baltimore forever.
As a tourist, I was going to take my family to downtown Baltimore when we go to Maryland in the next couple of months.
I was wanting to see the Ray Lewis statue in front of the Baltimore Ravens stadium.
Those plans are on hold now and that’s frustrating to me. I’m sure I’m not the only tourist changing their plans.
Again, please take some time to lift your prayers to an almighty God for a sense of peace to be somewhat felt again in Baltimore.