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Taking the Streets to Fight for Justice for Freddie Gray
April 25 Protest Disrupts Business-as-Usual in Baltimore

April 27, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


From a correspondent:

Unity in Baltimore, April 25

On Saturday, April 25th, thousands of people took to the streets to demand justice for Freddie Gray, brutally murdered by the Baltimore police. They shook up the city, from the boarded up houses and Gilmor Homes housing project in West Baltimore – where Freddie Gray was murdered – to the glitzy waterfront where the crowd at a Baltimore Orioles game was locked down in the stadium by police to prevent them from encountering and mixing with protesters outside. It was definitely no business as usual, and set the tone for a new stage of struggle for justice for Freddie Gray.

Starting at the Scene of the Crime

Around 2,000 gathered near the Gilmor Homes projects in the early afternoon—people from the neighborhood, including family members of Freddie, but also many others—and then marched into the streets and on to City Hall. The starting point was the spot where Kevin Moore, who lives at Gilmor Homes, saw his friend Freddie Gray on April 12 being handcuffed by the police.

Moore told the Baltimore Sun that cops had cuffed Freddie and had him face down on the ground, with one cop's knee on his neck and the other cop bending his legs back so that his heels were touching his back. Moore said, "They had him folded up like he was a crab or a piece of origami… The police yelled 'stop resisting,' but there was no resistance. He couldn't move." The cops dragged Freddie, screaming in pain, to the van and threw him in. They stopped several times on the way to the station, once to shackle Freddie's legs. Freddie sustained severe injury at the hands of the police—his spine was 80 percent severed at the neck, according to his family's lawyer. He was in a coma for a week and died on April 19.

Members of the Revolution Club, Baltimore, April 25 Photo: Special to

City officials and the police have been lying, promising "investigations," and trying to steer people away from the real issue—the pigs murdered Freddie Gray.

After gathering at Gilmor Homes, people marched to the Western District Police Station, where many spoke bitterness: “There’s blood on your hands!” “They killed a man, it could’ve been me! It could have been my brother, my nephew! It could have been you!” And “We need justice!”

From West Baltimore, marchers headed down to City Hall for a rally that became a speak-out.

An Inspiring Mix

A young woman in Freddie's 'hood brought out what many are thinking and feeling: "For them to just be running around and getting away with killing people is not okay. Therefore the six police officers that killed Freddie Gray to be still walking around, on suspension with pay, is unacceptable. Very unacceptable." And she said, "We're gonna be out here every day, until something happens… It has to start somewhere. It definitely has to start somewhere. And if it has to start here in the community, then this is where it has to start."

Baltimore, April 25

Indeed, the anger and the fierce determination of the people in that community to see justice for Freddie has spurred and inspired many others to act. Saturday's protest saw a broad range of people come out into the streets—middle class white people, college students, Black people from other parts of Baltimore, people from different cities nearby and farther away. A group of white youths said they had come from Arizona to be part of this. A middle-aged white man from aUnitarian church in a Baltimore suburb hooked up with a Stop Mass Incarceration Network contingent from New York City, including Juanita Young and other people who have lost loved ones to murder by police.

A middle-aged white guy marched with a home-made sign saying that he was a witness to a police killing of a man named George Wells. Wells, a Black man, was shot six times, including three bullets in the back. The man at the march said he saw how the police lied about what actually happened, which he saw with his own eyes. The murder of Freddie Gray brought back "raw emotions" and he felt he had to act: "This has to stop."

A group of four or five young Black kids, from 5th grade to high school, marched with home-made cardboard signs—one said "Stop killing us black people!" At the beginning of the march, several boys on bikes, doing wheelies in the street, put the Stolen Lives poster from on the front of their bikes. Kids in the 'hood are aware of what the police do from a very young age. Earlier in the week, a young woman teaching in a pre-school there said that she has talked to her four-year-old son about how there are "bad cops" and so he has to be careful about how he acts around police. Four years old—and a target on his back already!

Baltimore, April 25 Photo: Twitter/@JamesFromTheInternet

A young Black student at Johns Hopkins University, who came to the protest with a couple of others from school, said she thought the marching in the streets was good, but "I'm not really happy about the numbers. All of Baltimore should be here." A 40ish Black woman, who came with her family, made the point even more emphatically: "I wish the whole fucking city of Baltimore were out here to shut it down!"

Members of the Revolution Club from New York City—with the "BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!" t-shirts—were out in the midst of the Saturday march, standing and fighting together with the people and bringing the message of the movement for revolution that's needed to put an end to murder by police and all the other horrors that this capitalist-imperialist system brings down on people here and around the world. They came fresh from being part of the April 14 national actions that began to put the movement to STOP police murder back on the offensive and on a higher level. Running with their crew were several youth from Freddie's neighborhood. The poster, with the names and faces of some of the hundreds killed by police around the country, spread throughout the crowd, as it has on previous days' protests. People were profoundly moved by the poster, looking intently at the faces and descriptions on it, and drawing the connections between what happened to Freddie Gray and the epidemic of police murder across the country.

Baltimore, April 25

One older Black woman had one of the posters strapped around her neck with a string. This was after the protest streamed out of the City Hall plaza and was headed for the baseball stadium—people had marched 4-5 miles already, and she was walking at a good pace but with a noticeable limp. Asked why she and so many others are in the streets for Freddie, she said, "Because he didn't do nothing. He got killed for nothing. It's got to stop."

Brutalizers and Murderers Cry “Outside Agitators” and “Violence” at Camden Yards

As the afternoon went on, groups of youth found different ways to express their anger over the daily routine of police violence, terror, and all-too-often death at the hands of police. And as night fell, hundreds of protesters headed for the bright lights of the gentrified district around Camden Yards, where they engaged in a several hours long standoff with riot police and police on horseback. Even in the midst of this, news reporters bemoaned the fact that curious shoppers, diners, and partiers came over to find out what the protest was about. And authorities refused for a time to let people attending the Orioles’ game leave.

Police periodically charged into the crowd outside Camden Yards – at one point grabbing, piling on, and arresting a man who video showed was clearly only speaking on a bullhorn. The photo editor for Baltimore’s City Paper was knocked to the ground and beaten by police while his colleague was shouting “He’s a photographer! He’s press!” A reporter from the European news agency Reuters was arrested when he attempted to photograph the beating.

Baltimore, April 25 Photo: Cat April Watters

The powers-that-be expressed horror and outrage over minor property damage. But they are the ones who unleash their police to murder Black people. And the police union, earlier in the week, had the gall to compare people demanding an end to modern-day lynching by police with a lynch mob! They should shut the fuck up. A system that daily unleashes mass terror, brutality, and violent murder, a system that mobilized state police, riot police, and horses to intimidate and attack the protesters, and arrested 35 people, has no right to speak when it comes to condemning violence.

The Struggle Continues

The day after the mass protest, hundreds of people attended a wake for Freddie Gray, and on Monday, April 27, people will gather in pain and anger for Freddie Gray’s funeral. His friends and supporters, and people who refuse to let this murder go down have promised to continue the struggle until there is justice.

There is pain in the horror that was done to Freddie Gray, and the absence of justice. There is hope in the determination of the people, and in the fact that there is a movement to STOP police murder, which took an important step going back on the offensive on April 14 nationwide. The struggle continues…


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