Protests Over Police Custody Death Put Baltimore In National Debate Vortex


Freddie Gray's death in Baltimore and the emotional protests that followed have thrust the city into the vortex of a national debate over police conduct in minority neighborhoods, prompted by the police-involved deaths Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., Tamir Rice in Cleveland, Eric Garner on Staten Island and Walter Scott in North Charleston, S.C., says the Washington Post. Protests over Gray’s death continued for a sixth day yesterday, with about 200 people circling the grassy plaza in front of a cordoned-off City Hall and then marching in the streets at the evening rush hour.

“Shame on Baltimore police,” said the Rev. Jamal Bryant, pastor of Empowerment Temple and organizer of several demonstrations. Yesterday, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said state troopers will help city authorities deal with Gray-related demonstrations, at the request of Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. At a rally on the corner where Gray was arrested, activist C.D. Witherspoon condemned a statement from the Baltimore police union's president likening protesters to a “lynch mob.” “It was racially insensitive, and it was disrespectful,” Witherspoon said. “We are not a lynch mob.” Union president Gene Ryan walked back the statement, saying he wanted to warn protesters against potentially becoming a lynch mob. Ryan and the union's attorney say protesters should not call for the suspended officers to be jailed or charged before the investigation into what happened is complete.

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