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#MARCH2JUSTICE In Baltimore 3 | by Stephen D. Melkisethian
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#MARCH2JUSTICE In Baltimore 3

North Baltimore, Maryland, Sunday April 19, 2015. Around one hundred activists associated with Justice League NYC and other civil rights groups marched down historic US Route 1 through Baltimore as participants in an event named #MARCH2JUSTICE. On April 13, 2015, the activists gathered in New York CIty to embark on a 250 mile march through five states to culminate in a rally on the National Mall near the US Capitol on Tuesday, April 21. The marchers intend to deliver to Congress a "Justice Package" of criminal justice reform legislation and other demands to end police brutality and empower youth.

Postscript. As the march moved through the streets of Baltimore young Freddie Gray lie nearby in a hospital bed, his life slipping away, yet another young African-American victim of police violence. Freddie passed the next day. Angry crowds are filling the streets in protest. Hopefully the anger will be expressed non-violently and directed where it belongs; against the corrupt and ineffectual city and state government, the notoriously brutal Baltimore Police department and the corporate capitalist thieves who plundered, poisoned and abandoned this city. But this was not to be.

On Saturday April 25 after a peaceful daytime march by a diverse crowd of over 2,000 social justice activists and supporters, rioting and looting erupted in the evening, provoking a predictably violent police response.

Sunday was mostly chill and respectful of the Gray family's call for peace and justice for Freddie as the Baltimore Police Department's investigation of his killing by BPD officers went forward.

What actually happened here? A young African-American man was arrested by the police for no apparent good reason and ended up dead from spinal cord injury sustained while in custody. Freddie was manhandled by cops, subjected to a paddy wagon ride intended to injure him further and denied the prompt medical care he begged for.

On Monday April 27 after Freddie Gray's funeral, all hell broke loose. In "Charm City" there are now numerous spectacular arson fires, looting of business establishments large and small, occasional gunplay, nearly olympic feats of hateful projectile hurling against the police, burning of police and civilian automobiles, tear gas and other chemical weapon retaliation by cops and other assorted mayhem. They don't call this place Mobtown for nothing and, tragically, the violence is as American as cherry pie. It should be noted that dozens of members of the faith community including the Nation Of Islam and other good samaritans were on the street all night trying to wage peace. The mayor has announced a 10 PM to 5AM curfew for Tuesday and beyond. Let's hope that the violence is over.

Postscript 2. On May 1, 2015 five of the six police officers who killed Freddie Gray were charged with homicide. The driver of the police paddy wagon was charged with second degree "depraved heart" murder, meaning that the State asserts that the killing was intentional. Four of the other five officers are charged with manslaughter and all were charged variously with other violations including false imprisonment and misconduct in office,

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Taken on April 19, 2015