When Baltimore City erupted on the afternoon of Freddie Gray’s death, many adults froze in front of their television screens. The imagery of high school students hurling bricks and bottles at police in riot gear was, to many, stunning, shocking, astonishing. I was not astonished. Instead, I was saddened, because I was watching evidence of something I’d long known: We’d failed our students.
While civil unrest may have eased in Baltimore City, many of the individuals swept up in the police crackdown are still in jail—going on two months later—as they await final judgment of their criminal charges.
In the wake of the rise in homicides in Baltimore, certain members of Baltimore’s police department are promoting a deceptive and dangerous narrative, translating the public’s demands for more humane policing as a request for impotent policing.
The events that followed the death of Freddie Gray revealed several Baltimore fault lines, including a disconnect between younger generations who are awakening to the structural racism and inequality that limits their opportunity and established institutions that purport to make things better.