Baltimore Justice and Freddie Gray

Baltimore

In search of justice for Freddie Gray in Baltimore, Maryland, the first officer involved has been scheduled to be seen by a judge on Nov. 30. Further court proceedings for the five other officers connected to this case have been filed and are expected to occur next year. According to The Baltimore Sun, at the age of 25, Gray died a week after his arrest on April 9. His death and funeral sparked protests throughout the nation. Shortly thereafter, periods of mayhem were followed by thefts and violent rioting, which persuaded Governor Larry Hogan to call upon the National Guard. He also requested that Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake implement a nightly curfew for the safety of the town’s residents.

There are multiple inconsistencies within the Gray case. Evidence provided by the medical examiner has indicated that Gray’s fatal injury was acquired while he was in the van in which authorities placed him. According to The Baltimore Sun, “Prosecutors allege that the officers involved did not place Gray in a seat belt after his arrest. They also failed to offer and provide medical care that he requested; violation of department policy.”

The accumulation of riots after the passing of Gray has pushed authorities to address the misconduct within the criminal justice system. As recently stated in USA Today, “The city of Baltimore announced an agreement to pay $6.4 million to settle a lawsuit filed by the family of Freddie Gray.” There has been tension between Gene Ryan, president of the Fraternal Order of Police and Mayor Rawlings-Blake since the announcement. Ryan displayed his disagreement in a reBaltimorecent interview by stating, “Just as Baltimore is returning to its pre-riot normality. This news potentially threatens to interrupt the progress made toward restoring the relationship between the Baltimore Police Department and Baltimore City government.”

In response, Mayor Rawlings-Blake explained, “The Board of Estimates will vote to decide if the proposed $6.4 million will be compensated to the family of Gray. The intent of the compensation amount should not be taken as a token of guilt for the officers involved. The implementation of this increment of money is being proposed specifically for the towns-people. Adversely, it will potentially avoid costly and projected litigation that would only make it more challenging for our city to recover.”

Prior to Gray, Maryland has had multiple police misconduct cases that have resulted in settlements. According to RT.com, within the past three years, “The Board of Estimates have reportedly paid $125,000 to a bystander who was shot in the stomach and arm during a scuffle between police and a suspect in Jan. 2013.” The Board of Estimates also paid a settlement of $95,000 to a woman who endured a ‘rough ride’ after her dress was ripped and her bare body was exposed during a bloody arrest in 2012. The woman had open wounds on her shoulders and across her breasts.

Regardless of the payout, discrepancies among authorities and minorities are widening. Views among officers, government officials, and citizens differ over the amount of money being disbursed in Maryland. None the less, the payouts are seen as justice for those involved with mishaps with police officials. The Board of Estimates awarded approximately $220,000 for police misconduct incidents prior to Gray’s mysterious death.

By Jhayla D. Tyson

Sources:
Breaking News: Baltimore Unrest, 2015
RT: ‘Piece of Cargo’: Baltimore woman awarded $95K for ‘rough ride’ with Police
The Baltimore Sun: Officers’ trials set in Freddie Gray Case
USA Today: Baltimore to pay Family of Freddie Gray $6.4M

Image Sources:

Top Article and Featured Image Courtesy of Fibonacci Blue’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inline Image Courtesy of Ivan Bandura’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

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