Why did Freddie Gray have to die?
For as long as I live I will be a Black Woman and I will most likely live the rest of my life in America. I will travel other places and may stay in different countries for extended periods of time but America will always be my home. God willing I will have kids and they will be Black, I want sons, I come from a home with all girls so I have always held a special place in my heart for boys. The thought of having sons in the future makes me smile but as soon as I smile a deep fear creeps in. My sons will be black. In America if you are a black male there is this ever present fear that you could be killed by police because you are black.
Recently 25-year old Baltimore resident Freddie Gray died from a severe spinal cord injury after being arrested by police. Gray was stopped by police who were on bikes at the time of the encounter, reports are saying Gray tried to run away from officers once he noticed them. There were six officers on the scene at the time and recorded video of police dragging Freddie from the scene. Once they got him into the police van they did not buckle him in. Gray requested medical attention in which he was not offered in a timely fashion. Freddy Gray died in a coma after being arrested a week later, why is Freddie dead? I can play with the story in my mind all day but I still come back to the same question, why is Freddie Gray dead? What did he do that was so wrong that he deserved to die?
He could have been guilty of a crime and if that was the case lock him up, what did he do to deserve to die? Freddie Gray’s family said that his voice box was crushed and his neck snapped, he had a severe spinal cord injury, went into a coma, and then died. Why is this okay? The police that were on the scene are on suspension with pay, in my world I call that a vacation. A man is dead and the police officers involved are suspended with pay. They get to talk to their children, watch television, still celebrate holidays, laugh at jokes all while the family of Freddie Gray has to mourn his death. Time and time again our young black men are being killed at the hands of police officers and its just being overlooked and justified. How many times will a police officer get to walk away freely after he kills a black boy or man because he was scared?
How many times will a police officer get to claim that they didn’t know the difference between a taser and a gun, and because of this lack of “knowledge” a black man is laying dead in the street. How many protests will we have before America acknowledges the fact that Black people are being murdered by police officers? I have a friend who has a son about 13 and when he goes out she says, “If you see a cop, take your hands out your pockets, if you have a hoodie on take it off, don’t walk too fast, and if you are running with friends stop and walk slowly.” She has to equip her son with survival skills and prays every time he walks out the door that police officers or people playing cop will not kill her son. She knows that if something were to happen to her son he would be put on trial and not the accused.
I watched the news today because the city of Baltimore rallied together to have a peaceful protest #JusticeForFreddieGray the protest began peaceful but ended with angered protesters demanding cops to stop killing Black people. People were angry and began to smash and damage cop cars and verbally insult the police. The news referred to angered protestors as animals and stated they didn’t know how to treat public property. They were outraged that people could be so “barbaric” and deface cop cars. Freddie Gray’s neck was snapped, spine severely injured, he went into a coma, and later he died. Not one time did the news refer to the cops as being barbaric, nor were they outraged because an American was placed in back of a police van with severe injuries and didn’t receive proper medical attention thus leading to his death. But an angry protestor mad that a man was killed so mad that all he could do was break a cop car window because he knows that any given time he could be next is seen as “barbaric.”
America is my home, and for as long as I live I will be a Black Woman, I want to get married and have children, and they will be black. I want to have sons because I grew up in a home with all girls. I want to have sons, and I want them to live. Why am I afraid that my black sons might not live? Why do I live in a country that says it is okay for black sons to be killed by police? Why did Freddie Gray have to die?