The Week in Review: Riots in Baltimore

Gabriella Schwarz / May 1, 2015

Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man, was arrested by the Baltimore police on April 12, 2015, on a weapons charge and died one week later from a severe injury to his spinal chord.

Gray’s death was ruled a homicide on Friday and the six officers involved in his arrest were charged in the case. While questions remain over his arrest, the nature of his fatal injuries and the actions taken by police, his passing has set off intense reactions and protests throughout the country. In addition to the hundreds of protesters arrested in Baltimore, the city has experienced looting, rioting, arson and a city-wide curfew imposed by more than 3,000 National Guard, Maryland State Police and other law enforcement officers. Protests in New York and Denver also turned ugly and additional demonstrations are expected in Cincinnati, Philadelphia, Seattle, Portland, Oregon and Oakland, California, in the coming days.

The frustration and anger felt following Gray’s passing has been building publicly since last summer after unarmed black teenager Michael Brown was shot and killed by police in Ferguson, Missouri. Deaths throughout the year have increased the attention on the deeper issue between race and law enforcement, as well as the economic and social issues felt in many U.S. cities.

Nearly 24% of Baltimore’s population lives below the poverty line, a figure that increases to 35% when looking at just children. The unemployment rate for black men between the ages of 20 and 24 was 37% in 2013, compared with 10% for white men in the same age group. The city has an estimated 16,000 vacant buildings and another 14,000 vacant lots, according to the Housing Authority of Baltimore City.

Despite the challenges facing Maryland’s largest city, the violent actions taken by protesters this week have received much of the focus.

“There’s no excuse for the kind of violence that we saw yesterday. It is counterproductive,” Obama said from the Rose Garden Tuesday. “When individuals get crowbars and start prying open doors to loot, they’re not protesting, they’re not making a statement—they’re stealing. When they burn down a building, they’re committing arson.”

Use Flipboard to follow the latest from Baltimore and join the conversation around race and law enforcement in the U.S.

Police and Race in America by CNN: CNN’s coverage from a year of conflicts surrounding race and the police.

Unrest in Baltimore by Flipboard Newsdesk: Covering different angles from the story in Baltimore: news, analysis, history and images from the ground.

Race Conversations by Nelia Beth Scovill: A look at the impact of race in our culture, from the classroom to the voting booth.

Law…news, litigation, and disputes by CJ: Actions taken by the lawyers and judges that comprise our justice system.

Protests, Riots & Activists by dozzam: News on protests around the world.

Baltimore by Al: A magazine dedicated to life in Baltimore, including sports, food and politics.

~GabyS is reading The Guardian UK election guide