Gray trials begin: Freddie Gray Trials

Published: November 30, 2015

Gray trials begin: Freddie Gray Trials, In Baltimore, this year can be divided into two parts: what came before Freddie Gray died and what happened afterward.

Gray, 25, suffered a mysterious injury in the back of a police transport van and died April 19, inspiring thousands to take to the streets to protest what they believed was the mistreatment by police of another young black man. The narrative of Gray’s life and death instantly became a thread in the fabric of the Black Lives Matter national movement.

The demonstrations were mostly peaceful for several days, but on the day Gray was buried, looting and rioting started. Businesses were burned down and the unrest ended up costing the city millions of dollars in property damage. The troubles forced an incumbent mayor in the throes of a re-election campaign to drop out of the race, and toppled the career of a reform-minded police chief who was unceremoniously fired. The homicide rate soared and the blood continues to spill on Baltimore’s streets at a pace unseen in decades.

Six police officers were indicted in Gray’s death. Jury selection in the first trial begins Monday. A verdict will likely set the tone for the city: If Officer William Porter is acquitted there could be protests and possibly more unrest. A conviction could send shockwaves through the city’s troubled police department.

“Everything is at stake. The future of the city is at stake,” Police Commissioner Kevin Davis said.

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