This Must Stop: On Running Unprovoked and Other Crimes

This Must Stop: On Running Unprovoked and Other Crimes

 

Another one. Freddie Gray died in Baltimore, his neck broken and his spine 80% severed; doctors say "you have to apply a significant amount of force" to make that happen. Police admit their own explanations for why he was arrested remain "a bit vague," except that Gray, 25, was in a high-crime area with drug problems and they suspected he was "involved in criminal activity," possibly that of having or selling a knife. Baltimore's mayor and police commissioner, both black, say they will "move forward in a responsible way to determine all the facts of this incident so that we can provide the community with answers."

Baltimore police say Gray was initially apprehended because he began "running unprovoked" when he saw them; they have a well-documented history brutality. Eric Garner was standing on a sidewalk possibly selling cigarettes. Walter Scott was running away. Michael Brown was walking. They were likely all scared of the police; Tamir Rice was too young to know he should be scared. On Tuesday, a March 2 Justice organized by Justice League NYC will end its eight-day, 250-mile trek from Staten Island to D.C. with a rally and concert on the National Mall. Activists, artists and others say they are marching because a black man is shot by police at least every 28 hours; because "this must stop"; because "every town has its Michael Brown"; because it's time "to prove once and for all that all men and women are created equal." Past time, in fact. The great Toni Morrison on the legacy of slavery, the intersection of race and class, the failure of police to "stop and frisk on Wall Street," the conversation on race that America has yet to have, but so desperately needs: "I want to see a cop shoot a white unarmed teenager in the back...Then when you ask me, 'Is it over?’, I will say yes.”

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