Commentary by Dejour Sellers.
MAY 26, 2015: On April 12th, 2015 Freddie Gray, an unarmed black man, was arrested by Baltimore police officers. It was reported that he was already injured while being arrested and when he was taken out of the van he was completely unresponsive with three fractured vertebrae, injuries to his voice box, and a broken spinal cord due to a “rough ride”. He died a few days later on April 16th, 2015.
The Baltimore riots have received a lot of criticism. The news channels have called the protesters “thugs” and “savages” but won’t dare to look at the reason why they had riots in the first place. In my opinion, a riot is an understatement. This is a revolution. There have been a lot of complaints from news channels and non-blacks about people not peacefully protesting and just rioting, but the news rarely covered the full week of peaceful protests in Baltimore. The news jumped directly to what the rioters were doing and as a result painted black people as the bad ones in the situation.
Corrupt cops and inaccurate news reporting are the reasons why we are so angry. The news media paid heavy attention to Freddie Gray’s criminal history and the fact that he had a pocket knife on him—as if that was an excuse for his death. They write stories about rioters destroying their own communities but won’t show the Nation of Islam protecting the officers from angry protesters or citizens cleaning up the very next day. There are also stories that talk about how Whole Foods and Five Guys gave free food to the National Guard who were already provided with food, but not about how citizens from all over the DC, Maryland, and Virginia area went down to Baltimore to help give food to hungry school children.
Americans often have riots when their favorite sports team either lose or win and those situations are rarely shown on the news. During these situations, not many people face consequences, but when people of color rebel against a system that wasn’t built to benefit them, it’s broadcasted everywhere in the worst way possible. We have every right to riot because http://killedbypolice.net/ states that since the beginning of January, 398 black people were killed by police officers, the numbers are growing more by the day and we are fearing for our lives. We riot because we’re angry and because we aren’t given the rights we deserve. We riot because murderers get away free because they’re on the police force. We riot because the police kill and arrest our family members. We riot because black lives matter.
Dejour Sellers is a Senior at Friendship Collegiate Academy.