The Baltimore protest calling for justice for the death of Freddie Gray has reached a level of chaos that led to the arrest of 31 adults and four youths on Saturday. Six police officers were also hurt as business establishments were destroyed and vandalized by demonstrators overnight. There were broken glass windows and damaged police cars.
In the middle of chaos, Gray’s family was pleading – they do not want this kind of protest.
Baltimore protests for Freddie Gray’s death
Gray’s death had become an inciting incident to the lives of those who joined the demonstration on Saturday. They felt that Gray can be any one of them.
Tanya Peacher told WBALTV11 that she joined the Baltimore protest because she saw his son as she watched the video of Gray’s arrest. Another protester, Dante Acree, wore a sign that reads: “I am Freddie Gray.” He said that Gray could have been one of his kids.
“It could have been my brother, my father. I’d want the same support,” he told WBALTV11.
Leonard Patterson hoped that by joining the protest and succeeding, the cause will make the world a better place for his daughter.
“I’m trying to do everything in my limbs, everything in my power, to make this a better world for her. I’m here to do what I can. Police brutality is as old as the 1950s, the 1960s. It’s still here,” Patterson said.
Rev. Alfreda Wiggins echoed the same sentiment as she addressed congregation inside St. Luke’s United Methodist Church on Sunday.
“Freddie Gray died under mysterious and vicious circumstances, so that the attention of the world could focus on the injustice that African Americans are subjected to, over and over again. Freddie was a black boy. His mother and father were black. His sisters and brother were black. We are black. He could be our son, our grandson. . . . We need to reach out, and cry.”
Gray’s family does not want this kind of protest
The violence that happened on Saturday lost the real meaning of Gray’s death, said Tessa Hill-Aston, president of the Baltimore branch of the NAACP.
“The last two hours was about breaking things up, and nothing about Freddie Gray,” Hill-Aston was quoted as saying by the Washington Post.
She added that as the violence was happening, one of Gray’s cousins sat in a corner to cry while saying their family does not want what was happening.
Gray’s brother was also seen begging with a protester to put down a sign with expletive aimed at the police. “It’s not what we want,” Gray’s brother was heard saying.
The family’s message was fully expressed with Fredericka Gray’s first-ever public speech.
“My family wants to say, can you all please, please stop the violence? Freddie Gray would not want this. Freddie’s father and mother did not want nobody … Violence does not get justice.” Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake blamed the violence to the outsiders who have joined the Baltimore protest. She said they were the ones who shut the city down and incited the aggression.
“We are seeking answers. We can seek answers as we seek justice, and as we seek peace,” the mayor said.