Race and Facebook: Freddy Gray

A response for when a (probably white) commenter argues it’s not about race; it’s about if you’re doing something wrong. If you’re not doing anything wrong, a police officer is not going to stop you.

Freddie Gray made eye contact police officers on bike duty, and Freddie Gray began to run. Police officers pursued on foot after Freddie Gray, and called dispatch. When confronted, Freddie Gray submitted himself to the police. Even though police officers had no reason to suspect Freddie Gray of any crimes, Freddie Gray was handcuffed in a prone position. At this point he requested an inhaler, and indicated that he could not breathe. He was searched. He had a weapon, but it was legal by regulation. He was then restrained for transport, without probable cause of having committed a crime. While transported, he was not restrained by a seat belt, as is protocol. The police stopped, restrained him outside of the vehicle, filled out paperwork, and transported him, again using illegal restraints. While on the way to the Central Booking and Intake Facility, where they process criminals http://www.dpscs.state.md.us/locations/bcbic.shtml, he suffered a fatal neck injury because he was handcuffed and shackled on his stomach on the floor of a moving vehicle. The officers called in additional units because they were concerned with the status of his prisoner and needed to check on Freddie Gray. Freddie Gray indicated he needed help and could not breathe. The additional police officer asked if Freddie Gray required medical assistance, which he confirmed multiple times. The officers reoriented Freddie Gray in a seat but still without a seat belt, and responded to another request for police officers. When arriving at the police next scene, Freddie Gray was unresponsive. The officers arrested the other person, and loaded the person for transport in the car with Freddie Gray. At the police station, the other person was unloaded and secured inside before Freddie Gray was tended to. Upon unloading, the officers realized Freddie Gray was no longer breathing, at which point they called a medic. The medic determined Freddie Gray was experiencing cardiac arrest. He was transported to a hospital, where he underwent surgery. He died shortly after. (See: Baltimore Attorney General conference:  http://www.wbaltv.com/news/raw-video-states-attorney-press-conference-officers-charged/32687522).

When I heard about the unrest in Baltimore, I checked Facebook because why not. I found many proclamations making similar statements similar to the one at top of this post. I can find no trace of the things I saw that day. April 27th in Facebook time is hours of scrolling, and I think some have been deleted. I did check out my favorite conservative page, and found similar remarks. Here’s the “best:” https://www.facebook.com/beingconservative/posts/10152784554875911

The fabrication of charges by judicial institutions against the unliked is not a groundbreaking concept. Freddie Gray’s case isn’t unique. People really don’t want to, will do anything so they don’t have to, listen.

I’ll save and alter this rebuttal, and hope it will be useful somewhere for some of you, and have some effect. The work of rectifying society is a lot of words and thinking, but far more worthwhile than candycrush and liking your crushes photos.


One thought on “Race and Facebook: Freddy Gray

  1. I will begin by saying that I don’t make a habit out of reading comments on political events on Facebook because I usually become quickly enraged. I took a quick look at the post you linked to and strongly wish it was socially acceptable for me to message some of the individuals who have commented with a link to this blog.

    Now for a substantive contribution! From my vantage point, the media has to do with everything. Not only have they played a big role in bringing light to important events that have centered around racial issues, but they have also played a role in the biased accounts that many uninformed commenters on social media use to support their uneducated claims. “This kind of thing doesn’t happen all the time, so he obviously was doing something wrong,” I feel is probably a common thought of the public. The problem is, this kind of thing DOES happen all the time. The media just has not covered it for this reason or that reason. Black lives don’t appear to be as precious to the media as celebrity gossip and the like. Yet evidence that police have used unethical methods has been pointed to before. Plus, the concept of “rough riding” a suspect is not new. (More on that here: http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/04/the-rough-ride-and-police-culture/391538/)

    My dream is that the public will be able to gain enough motivation and support to force the media to rethink how they frame events and what is covered. The media has to respond to the viewers, but the majority has to care about the issues that really matter in order for that to happen. I do not wish that there are more cases like Freddie Gray, but I would like to see more dialogue and truth behind the coverage of these cases so that people can no longer make uneducated claims to which they feel fully justified.


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