Some of are supporters asked us today, “why has the R&S team remained so quiet with all that’s happening in Baltimore?” The truth is there is just so much going on with the team, we haven’t had time till now to blog about our feelings on the matter.
Whenever a tragedy likes this takes place we always go into action. First and foremost we pray, then we reach out to love ones we may know in the area, and then we look for ways to help. At this point, we have just been staying in contact with people we know in Baltimore and following the news.
With that being said, here is our thoughts on the Baltimore Riots. We think it is absurd, childish, despicable, and immoral. Our team is totally for protesting if need be. We believe everyone should stand up for what they believe in. Actually, we think the American people should stand together more for our freedom and our human rights. We chose the name Rise & Stand because of our strong beliefs of taking action and not backing down.
pro•test noun ˈprōˌtest : A statement or action expressing disapproval of or objection to something.
Rioting and acting the fool is not the same as protesting. If the leaders that brought is this far could see the way some people are acting today they would be sickened and roll over in their graves. Tearing down your own city and hurting your neighbor is NOT what Martin Luther King wanted from you. Stealing from stores and beating babies is NOT what Abraham Lincoln had in mind. This is exactly the reason humanity always takes one step forward and two steps back. Why does history keep repeating itself and things never seem to get better? The reason is exactly what you are seeing on TV today. Imbeciles destroying our economy and nation by throwing a massive temper tantrum.
By now, most of us know where the other riots in the past lead us. We won’t focus on them today. This blog is strictly about Baltimore.
Freddie Gray, a man who died a week after suffering injuries while in Baltimore police custody, had a lengthy criminal record, mainly for drug-related offenses, according to state court records. Police claim he was “involved in criminal activity,” prior to his arrest.
Gray, passed away after spending seven days in a coma as a result of injuries he suffered while in the custody of city police. Freddie was arrested April 12, 2015 by four officers outside a public housing complex. Police said four bicycle officers tried to stop Gray for an unspecified reason and he ran from them. The police caught him and held him till backup arrived.
Just a quick search on Google will show you hundreds of people ticked off that the police approached Gray for “unspecified” reasons. They accuse the police of profiling, racism, and labeling. Most of these “supporters” of Gray say the cops had no right to even mess with Gray and should mind their business.
Let’s look at Freddie Gray’s history and see if he has been a victim of racism by the law in the past. Let’s see if there is any reason the cops would suspect him of mischief.
March 20, 2015: Possession of a Controlled Dangerous Substance
March 13, 2015: Malicious destruction of property, second-degree assault
January 20, 2015: Fourth-degree burglary, trespassing
January 14, 2015: Possession of a controlled dangerous substance, possession of a controlled dangerous substance with intent to distribute
December 31, 2014: Possession of narcotics with intent to distribute
December 14, 2014: Possession of a controlled dangerous substance
August 31, 2014: Illegal gambling, trespassing
January 25, 2014: Possession of marijuana
September 28, 2013: Distribution of narcotics, unlawful possession of a controlled dangerous substance, second-degree assault, second-degree escape
April 13, 2012: Possession of a controlled dangerous substance with intent to distribute, unlawful possession of a controlled dangerous substance, violation of probation
July 16, 2008: Possession of a controlled dangerous substance, possession with intent to distribute
March 28, 2008: Unlawful possession of a controlled dangerous substance
March 14, 2008: Possession of a controlled dangerous substance with intent to manufacture and distribute
February 11, 2008: Unlawful possession of a controlled dangerous substance, possession of a controlled dangerous substance
August 29, 2007: Possession of a controlled dangerous substance with intent to distribute, violation of probation
August 28, 2007: Possession of marijuana
August 23, 2007: False statement to a peace officer, unlawful possession of a controlled dangerous substance
July 16, 2007: Possession of a controlled dangerous substance with intent to distribute, unlawful possession of a controlled dangerous substance (2 counts)
Gray had a rather large arrest record with convictions dating back until at least 2007. During our little investigation, we noticed tons of Gray supporter’s claim his arrest record was because the cops always arrest Gray for dumb reasons. They claim the racism and hate from the police is nothing new for Gray.
We noticed while viewing records, that not all of the arrests led to convictions, in many of the cases Gray pleaded guilty to one charge while the others were dropped. Hmmm.
Deputy Police Commissioner Jerry Rodriguez told press that the details of Freddie Gray’s arrest this month are vague. The officers were patrolling the area for some time due to high crime and major drug issues. Gray was not caught by surprise that cops were patrolling.
Now, I don’t know if you have ever caught yourself in the wrong place at the wrong time but half of our team has. Since we travel to disaster areas and help out after tragedies sometimes we get questioned. We have no problem answering questions or even showing what is in our pockets. The officers are just doing there job. What if they didn’t check out the people in the area and we were the bad people with the weapon? That would be a fail on the police officer’s part.
Here is a guy standing outside a complex for some time that is well known by the local police for drug possession and selling. The police go to question him and he runs. What would you think? A person who is completely innocent would not run. Even if he believed in his mind that these cops were out to get him, he had no reason to run if he was not guilty of something.
Still, after Gray tried to flee, the only charges placed against him was unlawful possession of a switchblade knife. When the officers ran his information they saw that he was due to go to court in May for a drug arrest in December 2014.
Police released a timetable of the events leading up to Freddie Gray’s arrest and death. He was seen at about 8:40 a.m. on April 12, 2015 on a street northwest of the city’s downtown. The officers approached Gray and he fled. He was caught about two minutes later two blocks away. The officers called for a transport van at about 8:42 p.m. Then, at 8:54 a.m., a block away from where Gray was arrested, the van left for the Western District station “after stopping to place additional restraints on the suspect.” At about 9:24 a.m., an ambulance is called to the Western District station.
Keep in mind this isn’t just one officer at the scene. This is a group of officers who felt they needed to place additional restraints on Gray. It makes us wonder what was Gray trying to hide.
This incident leads us to the Baltimore riots. Freddie Gray supporters know just as much as we do. Some of them know a lot less than we do. Yet, they feel the need to riot and destroy their town. We questioned a group of the supporters and below is their answers.
Us: Why are you rioting over a man you do not even know? You never met him. He could be evil to the core.
Supporter: “Because man this ain’t even just about Gray. It’s about all the black men the cops be killing for no reason. We are sick of it.”
Us: You believe that all the people cops kill or use force with are innocent?
Supporter: “Maybe not all but yea most of them. No one deserves to be beat up or killed for some small crime. We can’t even touch them but they can use their power over us. It’s BS.”
Us: How many “murders” by cops do you think there has been in the last couple of years?
Supporter: “Thousands. It happens somewhere like every day. If you research it, you will see that it’s almost always black men too.”
Us: Do you really think rioting will make a difference?
Supporter: “It’s not really about making a difference. Man, this sh*t ain’t never gonna chance. It’s always been this way and always will. Rioting is showing them how mad we are and just sick of it. It’s the only way we know to fight back.” (Another group member joins the conversation.) “We know rioting won’t stop them. The cops will probably just kill more of us for it but we don’t care. We got to do what we got to do you know. Like, I know Ferguson didn’t change anything cause there has been like 20 more murders by police since then.”
The Rise Team wanted to conduct a longer interview but the answers to these questions was enough to make us sick. I hope readers share this blog to all the young men and women out there who think the same way these young men do.
In 2013, approximately 767 people lost their lives to cops. These people range from all ages and ethnicity. The majority of these deaths were during shootouts.
According to statistics collected by the FBI, 76 law enforcement officers were killed in line-of-duty incidents in 2013. Of these, 27 law enforcement officers died as a result of felonious acts, and 49 officers died in accidents. In addition, 49,851 officers were victims of line-of-duty assaults.
747 people killed by an officer for a majority of reasons. 49,851 officers killed by civilians. Why do we not hear about those officers more?
Let me be clear, Rise & Stand is not saying that every police officer is innocent. There are some nasty ones out there, we are well aware.
However, for every one nasty officer, there is 25 good police officer’s risking his or her lives for YOU.
Is it possible to stop these riots in the future? Possibly, but several steps will have to be taken before this madness ends.
Come on people, rioting does not solve anything. All it does is defeat the purpose and bring more misery. Even the rioters in Baltimore agreed during the interview that rioting did not solve anything.
It’s time to stop acting like wild animals and think of others instead of just thinking about yourself. Some of you may know that our team member Angie Rodgers is the mother of the adorable Grace Anna. Gracie was due to have her surgery today in Baltimore but could not because of these riots. Now, she must wait until June. They already waited so long. We read stories of babies beat down with bats, stores and cars burnt to the ground, women raped. Do these actions make you better than a “possible” racist murdering cop?
It is due time to wake up America. We have to stop this from happening again.
Rise & Stand Team.