Syllabus for law school's Freddie Gray course says unrest 'almost certainly not over'

Law syllabus for Freddie Gray course: unrest "almost certainly not over"

A new course at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law titled "Freddie Gray's Baltimore: Past, Present, and Moving Forward" aims a wide lens at the 25-year-old man's death and the "serious recent disturbances" that followed — which it says are "almost certainly not over" and require deep analysis.

"The course is not viewed by its organizers as an end in itself," reads the course overview, provided Wednesday by Professor Michael Greenberger. "Rather, it is intended to be a springboard for further and deeper academic teaching and writing efforts, clinical work, and student and faculty involvement in citizen and government efforts to reform law and policy in the subject matter areas" of "policing; criminal justice; housing; health care; education; poverty; and community development and joblessness."

Gray was arrested in April and suffered a severe spinal cord injury while in police custody. His death from the injury sparked demonstrations against police brutality across Baltimore. On the day of his funeral, rioting, looting and arson broke out.

"These events, which are almost certainly not over, have highlighted and/or uncovered serious on-going social and financial dislocations within the City," the syllabus reads.

Six Baltimore Police officers have been criminally charged in Gray's arrest and death; all have pleaded not guilty. The legal process leading to their trials is still in its early stages.

Greenberger, the course administrator, will be joined in teaching or planning the eight-week course by 12 other professors at the law school. The syllabus also lists Sherilynn Ifill, the president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, as another "tentative" organizer and teacher, of a class on the causes and implications of housing segregation.

The coursework will also be "supplemented by other academics, experts, and officeholders," though the syllabus does not identify those people.

Students, the syllabus reads, will be "apprised throughout the course of volunteer opportunities to work on the issues addressed in the course."

Individual classes will cover the following, according to the syllabus:

•The Details of the Unrest Itself; Policing and the Community

•Housing: Public and Private Perpetuation of Residential Racial Segregation and Concentrated Poverty

•Housing Segregation: Causes and Implications

•Race and Policing (including racial profiling; stop and frisk; mass incarceration; and the criminalization of poverty.)

•Employment and Economic Development

•Education and the School to Prison Pipeline

•Public Health and Access to Health Care (including addiction and substance abuse; mental health; HIV/AIDS; lead paint; and obstacles to good health care.)

•Cycles of Violence (including domestic violence and abuse of children); Summation of Course and Moving Forward

"We see this course as an opportunity for our students to grapple with important issues in their backyard," said Law Dean Donald B. Tobin in a statement about the class Tuesday. "We want not only to educate our students but to inspire them to act on what they've learned and work with our neighbors in West Baltimore to strengthen our community and city."

The course is scheduled to begin early next month.

krector@baltsun.com

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