*************Updated April 28, 2015 – to include to President Obama’s comments at press conference*****************
“A number of protesters were concerned that Baltimore—nicknamed “Charm City”—was being treated unfairly in the media after the trouble on Saturday. Baltimore was not out of control,” said Karen DeCamp, a director at the Greater Homewood Community Corporation, a nonprofit advocacy organization, who was demonstrating outside the funeral home, Sunday. “Baltimore was not burning. A very small number of people made some trouble, and it was completely blown out of proportion.”
10,000 people from across the country peacefully protested in Baltimore in support of the seeking of justice of the death of Freddie Gray. Despite the fact that 100 of the 10,000 acted up and approximately 35 people were arrested after the peaceful protest, (that’s about 1%), much of the mainstream media used attention grabbing words in their headlines like ‘Protest Turns Destructive, (USA Today)’ ‘Scenes of Chaos In Baltimore… (NY Times), Dozens Arrested After Protest Turns Violent (WBAL TV). One website BreitBart.com’s headlines read: 1,000 Black Rioters In Baltimore Smash Police Cars, Attack Motorists In Frenzied Protest.
The truth is you had 10,000 plus people come together in unity in support of the fight for justice for Freddie Gray. While the numbers vary, 100 or so were the ones you saw acting up on the news and the 35 persons who were arrested were the ones you read about. But reporting that won’t bring in the ratings that attract a heavy advertising revenue.
CNN reported: Protesters angry over the death of Freddie Gray got into physical altercations with police Saturday night in downtown Baltimore near the city’s famed baseball stadium.
Some of the hundreds who confronted lines of police officers got into shoving matches with helmeted cops while other demonstrators threw objects. At least five police cars were damaged by people who smashed windows and jumped on them.
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said she was profoundly disappointed by the violence, adding that 95% of the protesters were respectful but a “small group of agitators intervened.”
Time.com reported: The demonstration was aimed at police, who had Gray in their custody when he suffered injuries that would prove fatal. Baltimore police said 35 people, including four juveniles, were arrested and six officers suffered minor injuries during the latest protest.
As you read most of the nationwide coverage, the various news media and websites do admit that most of the protesters were peaceful as you read further down their stories, despite the attention grabbing headlines that speaks of only the violence, destruction and criminal mischief of a few. Unfortunately there will always be a few agitators in any crowd this size. Some of which are purposely positioned among the peaceful protesters for just that reason.
After what has been going on with black men being killed nationwide without any justice taking place even after grand juries, video evidence, incidences being ruled homicide by medical examiners, No officers go to jail, very few cops lose their job and the Ferguson officer who killed Mike Brown was allowed to retire and protect his pension, there is a sense of frustration in these protests, yes!
What happened in the streets of Ferguson was worst by comparison. But let’s be very clear, the scene the media is describing, the picture being painted with all headlines are something no one, I repeat NO ONE wants to see. What they’re showing you are the actions of 100 or so people, there were 10,000 people there, and despite some of the headlines, and you can see by the pictures below all the protesters were not black and out of control. And despite what a local pastor would have you believe, some of those who were acting up the most were doing so before those (he called outsiders), who came to town in support showed up.
Words have power, they create perceptions that make other actions possible and allow the most outrageous of explanations why they kill black people believable and acceptable by other groups of people. Let’ be clear here, NO ONE wants to truly see Scenes of Chaos: 1,000’s of Frenzied Protesters Rioting In Baltimore, the city would truly still be burning. But they media will show the worst or the worst, you know if it bleeds it leads. It’s true it’s great for ratings which leads to heavy advertising revenue, but it is not good for our community or the race relations nationwide.
Just like the media takes the liberty to show the worst of the worst like they did in Baltimore, I am taking the liberty to show the worst of the worst in their reporting and calling them out. It’s important to not allow the mass media to distort the narrative and take away from the message of this fight for justice.
What they don’t report was there were, “Muslims, Christians, Jews, Blacks, Whites, Asians, Young and Old, Rich and Poor people all united and standing harmoniously against common oppression,” shared one of the organizers Frank ‘Sha’ Francois. The demonstration was sponsored by a wide coalition of social justice groups, including Malik Shabazz of Black Lawyers For Justice (BLFJ), Carl Dix of Stop Mass Incarceration (SMIN) and brother Ted Freedomfighter Sutton of Sutton House, just to name a few who came in support of their brothers and sisters in Baltimore. Support for justice of Freddie Gray, 25, who was arrested one week ago, in West Baltimore. Who died on April 19th, from injuries sustained while he was in police custody.
“One burning building will be looped on television over and over again and the thousand of demonstrators who did it the right way have been lost in the discussion,” President Obama said at press conference Tuesday.