Sen. Bernie Sanders will come to Baltimore next week, tour the neighborhood where Freddie Gray was arrested and meet with local African-American leaders, his campaign said Saturday.
The independent senator from Vermont, campaigning for the Democratic nomination for president, is scheduled to tour the city's Sandtown-Winchester neighborhood on Tuesday morning before participating in an "ecumenical round-table discussion" on "issues directly impacting the African-American community" with the Rev. Jamal Bryant at the new Freddie Gray Empowerment Center.
Gray, who was arrested in Sandtown-Winchester in April, died after suffering a severe spinal cord injury in police custody. The subsequent protests against police brutality drew international attention. On the day he was buried, the city erupted in arson, looting and riots.
That unrest has pushed its way into the presidential campaign, where Hillary Clinton has faced questions about the tough-on-crime policies popular during President Bill Clinton's administration in the 1990s, and Martin O'Malley has been asked about the mass arrests during his tenure as mayor of Baltimore.
Sanders has been reaching out to African-American leaders and activists since members of the Black Lives Matter movement interrupted a speech he was giving in Phoenix in July. He has met with leaders of that movement and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and appeared at an NAACP rally in Washington.
Polls show Clinton with a wide lead over Sanders for the Democratic nomination, and a wider lead among African-American voters. O'Malley, the two-term Maryland governor, runs a distant third.
Bryant, the pastor of the Empowerment Temple, opened the Freddie Gray Empowerment Center in Bolton Hill in July to offer camps, classes and other programs for young people.
Bryant has also flirted with politics. He announced a run for the House seat held by Rep. Elijah E. Cummings in September before withdrawing a week later.