One year ago today (April 12), 25-year-old Freddie Gray was arrested by the Baltimore Police Department for the alleged possession of an illegal switchblade. While being transported in a police van, Gray fell into a coma and ended up with 80 percent of his spine severed from his neck, a broken vertebra and an injured voice box. He died seven days later.
What we later found out was that his death was caused by a "rough ride"—an illegal tactic where police intimidate those in custody by handcuffing individuals, dropping them in the back of a police van and driving them around without a seatbelt.
From April 25-27, the city of Baltimore turned violent as protestors and police clashed, not only because of Freddie Gray's hospitalization and subsequent death, but due to years of social and economic neglect by all levels of government and corporate interests, as well as constant unchecked police brutality. The evening of April 27th, 2015, at Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake's urging, Governor Larry Hogan declared a state of emergency and a curfew.
On May 1, 2015, the Baltimore City State's Attorney, Marilyn Mosby, came to national prominence after she announced that her office had filed charges against six police officers after the medical examiner’s report ruled Gray's death a homicide. On May 21, 2015 a grand jury indicted the officers on most of the original charges filed by Mosby. There's been controversy surrounding testimony and challenges defense for the police. Yet, still, the first of six trials begins May 10, 2016.
To commemorate Freddie Gray's death, prominent social activists took to social media to remember the Baltimore native.