Baltimore: Taking the Battle for Justice for Freddie Gray to the Doors of the FOP

May 25, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


From readers:

On Tuesday, May 19, an audacious group of 50-75 marched to the headquarters of the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) in Baltimore.

Since charges were announced against six of the police who brutalized and killed Freddie Gray, the FOP has been in the forefront of organizing a backlash and demanding that the charges be dropped and no cops ever be tried for this horrendous crime. (see “Charges, Backlash, and the Fight for JUSTICE for Freddie Gray”)

Baltimore, May 19

Baltimore, May 19
Baltimore, May 19. Photos: Special to

The march was called by members of Freddie Gray’s family, and taken up by people in the area around where Freddie had lived, and a number of middle class people of different nationalities joined them. Many told us that they came out because this struggle for justice can’t just “die down,” that it needs to be carried forward. A popular chant throughout the day was “Indict, convict, send the killer cops to jail, the whole damn system is guilty as hell.”

It was a long march, starting at the giant mural just completed at the site of where police had first chased Freddie Gray on April 12 for the “crime” of making eye contact with a cop, and then threw him down, hog-tied him and threw him in a police van. And then the march went miles out of the hood to the FOP headquarters.

As the march stepped off and went through the areas where the powerful uprising was centered, many were joyed to see people continuing to take the streets. Many people greeted the march with fists, chanted along, danced with the beat of the chants, and nodded vigorously. Drivers honked their horns in support. Lots of people grabbed up the "STOP Murder by Police" posters and other materials that the Revolution Club was taking out.

Baltimore, May 19

Baltimore, May 19
Baltimore, May 19. Photos: Special to

To get to the FOP headquarters, the marchers also needed to pass through areas that in the past have been bastions of white supremacy. There was some hostility, including some white men yelling things like “Hey ni—ers, this is my neighborhood, get out of here!”—but there were also those who came out of their homes supporting the march, raising fists and greeting marchers with smiles and waves.

The scene in front of the FOP headquarters was intense. There were lines of cops standing in front, and marchers faced them down. Powerful messages were delivered by members of Freddie Gray’s family and others.

A powerful letter “from the front line in Baltimore” was read out: “Once again, looting and some youth violence has become the center of debate, just like in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, as if bottles being thrown, cars burning or drug stores crumbling to the ground are more important than human beings. They are not.” (The whole letter can be found here)

A woman visiting from the NAACP in Tacoma, Washington, fresh from the fight around the police murder of Antonio Zambrano-Montes in Pasco, spoke to the national importance of the battle against murder by police now.

A member of the Revolution Club spoke about a four-year-old who had made bracelets for Freddie, remembering how he used to play with her and get her ice cream, having to learn to grow up in a world where the heartbeat of a community can be ripped out at any time by murderous cops—and about why horrors like these murders by police happen, why it doesn’t have to be this way, and how we are getting organized, NOW, for an actual revolution to make real a world where a people’s police would sooner risk their own lives than brutalize or murder one of the people.



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