By Autumn McLeod
After the death of Baltimore resident Freddie Gray due to injuries he received while in police custody, protesters have taken to the streets to seek justice as tensions between law enforcement’s and African American’s escalate.
Gray was arrested after he tried to run away from the police and, as he was subdued, he was reportedly yelling that he could not breath. Video footage from a witness show Gray’s limp body being dragged into a transportation vehicle where he was not buckled into a seat belt, which is against protocol.
Police failed to give Gray proper medical treatment at the scene of his arrest as well as when he requested it, laying on the floor of the van. While he was being transported, the van made three stops before Gray made it to the hospital.
The hospital ruled his cause of death as a spinal injury although the cause of it remains unknown. The Department of Justice announced that they would be opening the investigation to determine whether or not Gray’s civil rights were violated.
Some protesters in Baltimore threw soda cans at police and their barricades, others marched to City Hall shouting “No justice, no peace.”
This is not the first time that the police have angered citizens over their use of violent and excessive force. Eric Garner from Staten Island died after a police officer put him in a chokehold. Garner was unarmed and was approached by cops for suspicion of selling single cigarettes from packs.
Chokeholds are prohibited by the New York City Police Department, therefore, this becomes another case of police not following protocol.
In South Carolina, Walter Scott was shot in the back eight times while running away from a police officer after a scuffle. Video footage showed the police officer planting the stun gun that was involved in the scuffle beside Scott’s injured body. It took a while for medics to come and by then it was too late.
According to the New York Times, a White House Task force recommended that the police make changes to their policies. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. has been going to cities around the country to “improve police relations with the minority neighborhoods.”
Citizens all over the U.S are angry with the police and violations they have inflicted upon African Americans in just this past year. Police reformation has to start now or else there is no hope of unity among the people of the country and the men and women who serve to protect them.