Freddie Grey killed, military occupation of Baltimore, USA

Baltimore protester and militarised police. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

By Andre Damon and Joseph Kishore in the USA:

The social eruption in Baltimore, Maryland

29 April 2015

The eruption of mass anger in Baltimore, Maryland over the police murder of Freddie Gray,

In this article, and in many others, the spelling is ‘Gray’.

However, the Baltimore People’s Power Assembly writes:

Please note that the Baltimore Peoples Assembly is using the spelling “Grey” in respect for Freddie Carlos Grey, who spelled his name with an “e” and the many friends and family in the community who have confirmed this.

The Andre Damon and Joseph Kishore article continues:

and the subsequent military-police takeover of the city, have once again revealed the reality of social life in America. The United States is a seething cauldron of social discontent, over which a frightened and isolated ruling class rules ever more nakedly through the methods of violence and repression.

Two thousand National Guard troops, many of whom were previously deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan, have poured into one of America’s largest cities, only 40 miles from the nation’s capital. A curfew has been imposed, and anyone found after dark without a driver’s license and a document from their employer attesting to the fact that they work after hours will be arrested.

The entire political and media establishment has seized on the rioting and unrest following the funeral of Gray to declare their support for the paramilitary occupation of the city. The gamut of opinion represented on the television news ranges from full support for the crackdown to criticism of Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake for not having called in the National Guard earlier. …

To say that there is no excuse is to say that there is no reason, that the social eruption in Baltimore is simply the product of “thugs”—a term used ubiquitously by the political and media establishment over the past several days. In fact, the cause of the unrest in Baltimore is not hard to locate. It is the product of intense anger over poverty, unemployment, social decay and the unending reign of police violence and murder in Baltimore and cities throughout the United States. …

The killing of Gray—an act that has yet to result in any arrests or charges—is only the latest in a long string of daily harassment, brutality and abuse, in Baltimore and throughout the country. Those responsible are almost never held accountable. …

The eruption of anger in Baltimore, however, is the expression of these sentiments in a form that lacks political direction. Police violence, inequality, poverty and unemployment cannot be ended in this way. This requires a political movement of the entire working class, which must come to the defense of the workers and youth of Baltimore.

This video says about itself:

Baltimore Police Were Harassing Students Before Monday’s Uprising

28 April 2015

Exclusive documents obtained by The Real News show how police officers engaged in a pattern of abuse after the killing of Freddie Gray by arresting teenagers who were waiting to take the bus back home. Days later, that very place in Northwest Baltimore would erupt and lead to the chaos seen this week.

By Rebecca McCray in the USA:

April 28, 2015

The effectiveness of curfews is questionable. Human rights advocates note there is little substantive legal scholarship on the long-term impact of emergency curfews, particularly those placed on impoverished, predominately poor communities of color—which are most likely to experience an increased police presence. The tendency to tighten the grip of law enforcement on communities that have assembled to confront that relationship poses challenges for cities that want to productively move forward after deaths like Gray’s.

“If you look at what happened in Ferguson, violence escalated when members of the community were restricted by the state of emergency,” Jamira Burley, senior campaigner on criminal justice and gun violence for Amnesty International, told TakePart. “Curfews increase tensions and continue to create an environment where community members feel like they can’t trust police and don’t feel safe.”

Curfews are an increasingly popular response to communities that have taken to the streets to grieve and protest following the death of black men at the hands of police.

For much of the last two weeks, protesters marched peacefully through Baltimore’s streets. Then, on Saturday night, following one such peaceful demonstration, a small group of protesters smashed windows and damaged cars near Camden Yards. …

The governor, Larry Hogan, declared a state of emergency and announced plans to bring in hundreds of National Guard troops. …

Parts of Baltimore’s new curfew strategy remain imprecise. The Baltimore Police Department and the mayor’s office did not respond to requests for comment on the enforcement. It is also unclear how the curfew will be imposed: Will officers choose to saturate certain neighborhoods—particularly impoverished, predominantly black communities? “More oppression of the oppressed is not the answer to injustice in Baltimore,” Hassane Muhammad, spokesperson for Black Lawyers for Justice, told TakePart. “A curfew won’t fix it. Until there is transparency and there aren’t two systems of justice in America, there won’t be peace.”

Baltimore already has one of the country’s strictest youth curfew laws: People under age 14 must be indoors by 9 p.m.

The truth is, curfews are simply a short-term tactic. Forcing citizens into their homes—under the threat of incarceration or fines—can temporarily clear the city’s streets. But curfews do not address a larger cocktail of systemic problems. Without dealing with the roots of violence against people like Freddie Gray, Baltimore—and other cities—can only limp forward. The bond between our poorest citizens and law enforcement will remain broken.

The city of Baltimore remains under a siege by 2,000 National Guard troops and another 1,000 state and local cops assembled from the city and surrounding areas. Although the head of Maryland’s National Guard claimed, “This is not martial law,” the city, just 40 miles from the nation’s capital, is occupied by military vehicles, helicopters and heavily armed troops: here.

Where is #JosephKent? Prominent Ferguson activist ‘kidnapped’ by police live on TV in Baltimore: here.

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