Baltimore Police Refer to Protesters as “Lynch Mob” #HaveASeat

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Emotions are raw and tensions high in Baltimore, Maryland where outraged Black residents continue to protest the death of Freddie Gray. Gray died from a mysterious spinal cord injury on Sunday, one week after he was taken into custody by Baltimore police.

According to the family attorney, William Murphy, Gray was in perfect health until police chased and tackled him.  Less than an hour later, he was on his way to a trauma clinic with a spinal injury, where he fell into a coma.

Officials have not said how he was hurt but believe it happened during the 30-minute ride in the back of a police van.

The Fraternal Order of Police added fuel to the flame when they released a statement that compared the  peaceful protests to a “lynch mob”.

It reads:

“…the images seen on television look and sound much like a lynch mob in that they are calling for the immediate imprisonment of these officers without them ever receiving the due process that is the Constitutional right of every citizen, including law enforcement officers…”

But a lynch mob? You mean the very mechanisms of widespread White terror that police forces  sanctioned and  incited  for the better part of American history? I can’t.

This is a lynching.

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This is a protest. See the difference?Justice Department opens probe into death of Freddie Gray

Immediately critics called out the FOP for the racist faux pas, prompting Gene Ryan, president of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 3, to backtrack in a news conference saying, “Maybe I need to reword that.”

But when Ryan attempted to clarify his statement, he only stuffed his foot further in  his mouth.

“When you’re trying to put somebody in jail before all the facts are in — the investigation hasn’t been completed,” Ryan said at a news conference. “I mean, that’s wrong.”

And he’s right. It is wrong to arrest someone without clear evidence of a crime… which is precisely what police did to Freddie Gray. And Eric Garner. And Eric Harris. And Justus Howell.  And countless other Black men who’ve been murdered in cold blood for attempting to breath while Black.

Court documents say Gray “fled unprovoked upon noticing police presence” though the circumstances surrounding Gray’s arrest are just as murky as his those surrounding his death.

Michael Davey, an attorney for the officers involved,  said that police did not need probable cause to arrest.

“There is a Supreme Court case that states that if you are in a high-crime area, and you flee from the police unprovoked, the police have the legal ability to pursue you, and that’s what they did,” he said. “In this type of an incident, you do not need probable cause to arrest. You just need a reasonable suspicion to make the stop.”

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Despite at least two videos that show Gray being brutally dragged, screaming in pain, to the police van, Davey again declared Wednesday, “Our position is something happened in that van, we just don’t know what.”

Gray was in perfect health until police chased and tackled him, Murphy said. Less than an hour later, he was on his way to a trauma clinic with a spinal injury, where he fell into a coma.

Baltimore, a city blighted by years deindustrialization and massive poverty, is a pressure cooker for Black urban residents who live in fear of aggressive police force. Since 2011, the city has paid $5, 765, 064 in settlements and court judgements for cases alleging officer misconduct, including the slamming of a pregnant woman into the ground, the killin of an unarmed veteran, and the beating of a church deacon.

Gray’s death is the sixth killing by Baltimore police since the start of 2015.

 

 

 

 

 

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