The death of Freddie Grey started it all, the young man arrested and put in the paddy wagon, dead when they opened the doors again. Police brutality the people say, while authorities caution, it's under investigation ("Police poised to announce completed Freddie Gray investigation Thursday," April 30). Freddie Gray, one more unarmed black male killed at the hands of police or self-selected guardians of the law. A string of them capturing national attention starting with Trayvon Martin, gunned down as he walked through a neighborhood by a self-appointed community guard. A black male shot by the police in Ferguson, Mo. A 12-year-old boy in Cleveland carrying a pellet gun. Freddy Gray was one too many for Baltimore.
Although Freddie's family pleaded non-violence along with the preachers and politicians, the day of the burial, young blacks took to the streets — pelting police with bricks and bottles, setting fires to cars and businesses, rioting and robbing. Wreaking havoc as promised.
The rioting and destruction brought out the neighboring police forces, the state police and the National Guard to help save the city. But it was the local people, fellow blacks who had had enough of the lawlessness of youth, who took to the streets to stand guard over their community, face down the mobs. A singular man stood in the street, told the angry youth to go home, study, get an education. One young mother saw her teenage son in a mask. She tore after him, screaming at him, slapping him around the face. Go home, she demanded. The cowed youth turned and left the scene. Black preachers, politicians and community leaders marched arm-in-arm through the streets, and a local drum and bugle corps came out pounding their drums and parading the streets while their cheerleader girls gyrated and swung to the beat and their high-stepping young men marched with pompoms and smiles. It was a scene to behold. Baltimore was healing from within.
John Hutchinson, Parkton