Spring in Baltimore: From Holder Farewell Party to Lynch Mob
Doing a little social justice shopping
From the New York Times:
Baltimore Police Clash With Youths After Funeral for Freddie Gray
By SHERYL GAY STOLBERG APRIL 27, 2015
BALTIMORE — Police officers in riot gear clashed with rock-throwing youths on Monday in a neighborhood in Northwest Baltimore, hours after Freddie Gray, the 25-year-old black man who has become the nation’s latest symbol of police brutality, was laid to rest amid emotional calls for justice and peace.
At least seven officers were injured and one was “unresponsive,” Capt. J. Eric Kowalczyk of the Baltimore police told reporters.
The violence broke out in the Mondawmin neighborhood, near the New Shiloh Baptist Church, where friends, neighbors, activists and government officials from the local level to the White House — as well as civil rights leaders like the Jesse Jackson and Dick Gregory — had gathered in the morning to eulogize Mr. Gray.
Groups of angry young people surrounded a police cruiser and smashed it in; another cruiser could be seen burning. Several businesses, including a drugstore, a liquore store and a check-cashing store, were looted. Others pelted the police with items picked up at nearby vacant lots — rocks, bricks, boards and chunks of concrete. Some arrests were made.
At least one small fire could be seen in streets filled with debris. Police officers in riot gear could also be seen outside Camden Yards, the baseball field in downtown Baltimore, where the Orioles were scheduled to play the Chicago White Sox. …
Earlier, thousands of mourners crowded into a church here on Monday to bid an emotional goodbye to Mr. Gray, who died April 19 of a spinal cord injury while in police custody.
The Rev. Jamal Bryant, delivering the eulogy, spoke of the plight of poor, young black men like Mr. Gray, living “confined to a box” made up of poor education, lack of job opportunities and racial stereotypes — “the box of thinking all black men are thugs and athletes and rappers.” …
He also took a swipe at the news media for heavy coverage of scattered violence that marred protests over the weekend. “It’s easy for the news to capture young people rioting and looting. It’s easy to show that, but you ain’t ever going to say why,” he said.
“When society is sick and mean, the innocent will be slain,” the Rev. Jesse Jackson told the congregation. He noted the contrast between Baltimore’s poor, overwhelmingly black west side, and the city’s bustling, prosperous downtown. …
Much of that leadership was seated in the pews, including Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, and Representative Elijah E. Cummings, Democrat of Maryland, who was one of the speakers. Also among the mourners were Kweisi Mfume, a former congressman and president of the N.A.A.C.P.; three aides to President Obama; …
You have to give the Obama Administration credit for managing the transition from Eric Holder to Loretta Lynch so smoothly, without even a hiccup in either strategy (angry up blacks) or results (angry blacks loot).