Family and friends of Dante Smith, a man shot by Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearm, and Explosives (ATF) agents two weeks ago gathered in front of the University of Maryland Medical Center in Southwest Baltimore to call attention to Smith's plight. The family says they have not been able to see Smith, who is still in intensive care inside the University of Maryland Medical Center since the shooting and is charged with a number of charges including armed robbery. The police and the ATF have said Smith along with others tried to rob undercover ATF agents and that is what led to the shooting. Smith's family disputes this story. Milton Walker, Smith's grandfather, who was the most vocal at the demonstration, often with Smith's wife Chelsea, and Smith's children nearby, connected Smith's shooting to police shootings of others in Baltimore and around the country and also countered the narrative put forward by police. "This is a tragedy and it shouldn't be. The doctors aren't telling us anything, the police aren't telling us anything," Walker told the group. "They got him charged with a charge he shouldn't be charged with—they've given five different accounts." Also present were members of grassroots activist group Baltimore Bloc and Kelly Davis, the fiance of Keith Davis Jr., who was shot by Baltimore Police in 2015 and whose case has been a cause for Bloc and others in the city—most recently, Davis' trial ended with a hung jury.
In a touching moment, Davis spoke to Smith's wife Chelsea and told her she had a "long fight" ahead of her in helping her husband and countering what the family believes is a false narrative about the shooting. "I'm sorry to welcome to you a club that shouldn't have this many members," Davis told Chelsea, referring to the growing group of women whose partners have been shot by police. "But we are here but this is a family and everybody fights together." (Brandon Soderberg)
(Photos by J.M. Giordano)