Thousands of people have taken to the streets of Baltimore, Maryland on the east coast of the United States in recent days to protest the death of Freddie Gray who died in police custody on April 19. Gray was found with a switchblade but police said he didn’t resist arrest and officers didn’t use force.
Gray died of a severe spinal cord injury (three severed vertebrae and a crushed voice box) while official police spokespeople have denied the use of force by any officers. Gray’s death follows in an ever-growing line of police killings of unarmed Black men like Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO, Eric Garner in New York City and Trayvon Martin in Florida, to name a few.
Much like in other cities, especially Ferguson, Mo., U.S., citizens have taken to the streets in mostly peaceful, but sometimes violent protest. Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake even went as far as to enact a city-wide curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.
The protests also have begun to affect sports in Baltimore. American football players in the National Football League (NFL) like Torrey Smith, Clinton Portis, Cris Carter and others have taken to social media to comment on the state of affairs in Boston as have other celebrities.
The riots have forced the city’s professional baseball team, the Orioles, to cancel at least one game and close another to the public and further move an upcoming series with the Tampa Bay Rays from Baltimore to Tampa Bay.