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Baltimore Protests Freddie Gray's Death and Police Brutality

  • Protesters gather for a rally in Baltimore to protest the death of Freddie Gray, who died while in police custody.

    Protesters gather for a rally in Baltimore to protest the death of Freddie Gray, who died while in police custody. | Photo: Reuters

Published 25 April 2015

Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old Black man, died in police custody from medical negligence.

At least 1,500 people marched in the streets of Baltimore on Saturday afternoon to protest  police brutality and criminalization of Black men.

The day before, the police department admitted that Freddie Gray, a Black man and Baltimore resident, died while in police custody because of medical negligence. "Our police employees failed to give him medical attention in a timely manner multiple times," Police Commissioner Anthony Batts admitted in a statement to the press on Friday.

RELATED: Baltimore Protest Photo Essay

The protesters marched up to the Western District Police Station, where Gray had been detained, chanting, “Shut it down,” “Community control of police now!,” “Jail killer police!” and “Unite Here!” among other slogans, while vowing to completely block the streets of the city. The police did not deploy paramilitary tactics like in the similar case of Ferguson, Missouri.

RELATED: Resistance to Police Brutality and Racism in the US

Malik Shabazz, an attorney and president of Black Lawyers for Justice, shouted in a microphone: "We've got to shut this city down ... We don't fear no police today," reported Reuters.

RELATED: Freddie Gray May Have Died in Abusive Police Seatbelt Practice

Gray's death is adds to the growing list of Black men killed during police operations in recent months, like the high-profile cases of Michael Brown from Ferguson, Missouri, and Eric Garner in New York City.

Although in these two previous cases no policemen has been prosecuted over the killings, in Gray's case six policemen have been suspended, though with pay.

"We are all united in our demand to indict the six police officers and convict," said Sharon Black, spokeswoman for People's Power Assembly, one of the rally organizers.The internal investigation launched by the police department is expected to should report its findings by May 1 to the state prosecutors, while the U.S. Department of Justice is conducting a separate probe. 

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