April 29, 1992: Riots erupt in Los Angeles following the acquittal of police officers involved in the brutal beating of Rodney King.
April 29, 2015: Protesters make their presence felt in Philadelphia, Boston, Detroit, D.C. and even the Big Apple following the death of Baltimore resident Freddie Gray.
There’s a 23 year gap between the two cases yet it seems that little has changed in America, as clashes between citizens and police only seem to have increased in recent months. Baltimore remains under a 5am curfew, but that hasn’t stopped people from taking to the streets to get their voices heard, resulting in the arrest of hundreds tonight alone. City leaders are already bracing themselves for the worst, as a report which will determine whether any charges will be brought against the six officers involved in Gray’s death is expected by Friday, (May 1.)
If history repeats itself Baltimore may see an uprising not seen since it rioted in 1968 following the death of Martin Luther King Jr. From April 6 to 14 the city joined over 125 others across the nation as they reacted in justified anger to the death of a man that prided himself on peace.
Like Ferguson and others before it, what’s happening in Baltimore is only a symptom of an issue that has plagued this country for some time. Whether policies are put into place to address it will be the real determining factor on whether other cities suffer a similar fate.
It’s not all doom and gloom however.
Despite a barrage of images and blatantly edited content by mainstream media, in reality Baltimore is far from the war zone currently being put on display. Despite the arrests there’s also been a type of calm as many residents have attempted to both rebuild and resume living their day to day lives. In reality, the violence that was plastered across 24-hour news outlets has been isolated and scattered throughout a city that has entire blocks which are empty thanks to gentrification and more. This is not the first time such a scandal has erupted in the area, in 2004 Jeffrey Alston was awarded $39 million after being left paralyzed following a “rough ride” at the hands of Baltimore police. Unfortunately, Gray did not live to tell his story, much less be awarded anything.
Earlier this evening, U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings said that it was “questionable as to whether” Gray should have even been arrested. He added, “We will never let that issue die until it’s fully resolved.”