Please note that the poems and essays on this site are copyright and may not be reproduced without the author's permission.

Saturday 2 May 2015

O-o-h Child


Protesters march through the streets in support of Maryland state attorney Marilyn Mosby’s announcement that charges would be filed against Baltimore police officers in the death of Freddie Gray. Gray died in police custody after being arrested on 12 April
: photo by Andrew Burton via The Guardian, 2 May 2015

Police ignored an unresponsive Freddie Gray on wagon's floor: prosecutor: Medic wasn’t called until police arrived at the station to find Gray was ‘no longer breathing at all’, says Baltimore state’s attorney Marilyn Mosby: Jon Swaine in New York for The Guardian, 2 May 2015

Police officers failed to obtain medical care for Freddie Gray even when they found him unresponsive on the floor of their van after he had repeatedly appealed for help, 
Baltimore’s most senior prosecutor said on Friday.

In announcing criminal charges for the six officers involved in Gray’s arrest, state’s attorney Marilyn Mosby gave the most detailed account so far of the deadly 45 minutes after Gray was captured by officers on the streets of west Baltimore in an illegal arrest.

“Mr Gray suffered a severe and critical neck injury as a result of being handcuffed, shackled by his feet and unrestrained inside of the Baltimore police department wagon,” Mosby said at a press conference on Friday morning.

Gray was arrested on the morning of 12 April after catching the eye of Lieutenant Brian Rice and running away. Mosby on Friday declared the arrest by Rice, Officer Garrett Miller and Officer Edward Nero an illegal one, explaining that a knife found in Gray’s pocket, which he was charged with carrying, was in fact legal under Maryland law.

Mosby said that despite complaining he could not breathe and needed an asthma inhaler at 8.42am, three minutes into his arrest, Gray was ignored and loaded into the van. He had already been pinned down by Nero and placed in a so-called “leg lace” by Miller.

Gray was not seatbelted in the vehicle as is required by Baltimore police rules. Several prisoners in the past have been seriously injured by so-called “rough rides”.

The first stop made by Officer Caesar Goodson, the van’s driver, was four minutes later at Mount and Baker streets. Gray had his legs shackled while the arresting officers completed paperwork. He was then reloaded into the van by Rice, Miller and Nero “on his stomach, headfirst on to the floor”, again without being seatbelted, said Mosby.

About 10 minutes after this, Goodson’s van made a second stop outside a grocery shop at Fremont Avenue and Mosher Street, whose CCTV cameras captured footage of the vehicle. 
The existence of this stop was not disclosed by police until Thursday 30 April.

After getting out and checking on Gray, Goodson returned to the driver’s seat and resumed his journey, according to the prosecutor. Gray’s health and responsiveness at this point is not clear, apparently because Goodson has declined to cooperate with investigators.

Goodson radioed for support from other officers to “check on the status of his prisoner”, said Mosby. He then made a third stop at Druid Hill Avenue and Dolphin Street at 8.59am. 

He and Officer William Porter inspected Gray. Mosby said Porter asked the 25-year-old if he needed medical care, and Gray “indicated at least twice he was in need of a medic”.

Yet Goodson and Porter still did not request medical care, the state’s attorney said. 

Despite moving Gray from the floor of the van to the bench, Porter once again failed to restrain Gray with a seatbelt. And despite Gray’s obvious distress, Goodson chose -- “in a grossly negligent manner,” said Mosby -- to respond to a separate arrest nearby.

The van made a fourth stop to collect the second prisoner, Donta Allen, near the intersection of North Avenue and Pennsylvania Avenue. A CVS pharmacy at this spot was badly burned during rioting on Monday night. Protesters subsequently made the intersection their base in the following days.

At the second arrest site, Goodson and Porter again inspected Gray, this time with Sergeant Alicia White. They “observed Mr Gray unresponsive on the floor of the wagon”, yet did not act. White “spoke to the back of Mr Gray’s head” and when he did not respond “she did nothing further despite the fact that she was advised that he needed a medic,” said Mosby.

“She made no effort to look or assess or determine his condition,” said Mosby. Gray, laid out on the floor of the wagon and not answering, was ignored.

“Despite Mr Gray’s seriously deteriorating medical condition, no medical assistance was rendered or summoned for Mr Gray at that time by any officer,” said Mosby. He was once again not restrained with a seatbelt in the back of the van as Goodson made the last leg of his journey to the police department’s western district headquarters.

When the van finally arrived at the police station at 9.24am, White and officer Zachary Novak attempted to remove Gray only to find he was “no longer breathing at all”, Mosby said on Friday. Medics were finally called –- more than 40 minutes after Gray first complained of problems. He was found to be in cardiac arrest and severely injured.

Gray was taken to the University of Maryland’s Shock Trauma hospital and was operated on. However, he lapsed into a coma and never recovered. He was pronounced dead on the morning of 19 April, exactly a week after he caught the eye of Rice and fled. His family said his spine was “80% severed” at the neck and his voice box almost crushed.

The state medical examiner declared Gray’s death to be a homicide. “We have probable cause to file criminal charges,” said Mosby.

Twitter conservatives can't wrap their heads around Marilyn Mosby -- so they attack her instead

Marilyn Mosby: screen shot via Salon, 1 May 2015


A group of demonstrators leave North and Pennsylvania Avenues before the 10 p.m. curfew. Hundreds of people gathered at North and Pennsylvania Avenues to celebrate that 6 Baltimore City police officers have been charged for the death of Freddie Gray
: photo by Kenneth K. Lam/Baltimore Sun, 1 May 2015

My favorite shot of the day. protesters march up 14th St. in #Oakland toward Frank Ogawa Plaza @SFGate: image via Jessica Christian @jachristian, 1 May 2015

Curious faces watch #mayday #oakland march at #CatTownOakland: image via Victoria B. @v_bogg, 1 May 2015

If you build it we will burn it. 20th and telegraph #mayday #Oakland #mayday image via Charmaine Chua @ravellledfleeces, 1 May 2015

#Oakland to Baltimore We won't take it anymore! #FreddieGray: image via Occupy Oakland @OccupyOakland 1 May 2015

Fists raised at the #Oakland #Palestine Solidarity Mural: image via Dena Takruri @Dena 1 May 2015 Oakland, CA

KFC got it tonight in Oakland. #FreddieGray: image via AJ Vicens @AJ Vicens, 1 May 2015

At this point, we now know that #FreddieGray was illegally assaulted & arrested without cause. Critically injured.: image via Shaun King @ShaunKing, 1 May 2015

At this point, we now know that #FreddieGray was illegally assaulted & arrested without cause. Critically injured.: image via Shaun King @ShaunKing, 1 May 2015

At this point, we now know that #FreddieGray was illegally assaulted & arrested without cause. Critically injured.: image via Shaun King @ShaunKing, 1 May 2015

At this point, we now know that #FreddieGray was illegally assaulted & arrested without cause. Critically injured.: image via Shaun King @ShaunKing, 1 May 2015

New addition to #FreddieGray's memorial in Gilmor Homes #Baltimore: image via Colin Campbell @cmcampbell6, 1 May 2015

 new art at #FreddieGray's shrine where he was arrested. image via Baynard Woods @baynardwoods, 1 May 2015

This, the latest statement from the Baltimore City Police Union (@FOP3) re: the #FreddieGray officer arrests: image via deray mackesson @deray, 1 May 2015

And here's why GoFundMe shut down the fundraiser for the officers who killed #FreddieGray (h/t @soniamoghe) officer arrests: image via deray mackesson @deray, 1 May 2015

Thugs. The 6 @BaltimorePolice who killed #FreddieGray: image via deray mackesson @deray, 1 May 2015

Embedded image permalink

"Absolutely vital" truth of #FreddieGray's death uncovered - Barack Obama as officers charged: image via BBC Breaking News @BBCBreaking, 1 May 2015
Embedded image permalink

Yes last night was Bad it was Ugly :::: But today we Stand tall and proud WE WONT FOLD :::: #Baltimore | #DVNLLN" image via KnownNobodyBBC Breaking News @byDVNLN, 28 April 2015

Embedded image permalink

Yes last night was Bad it was Ugly :::: But today we Stand tall and proud WE WONT FOLD :::: #Baltimore | #DVNLLN: image via KnownNobodyBBC Breaking News @byDVNLN, 28 April 2015
Embedded image permalink

Yes last night was Bad it was Ugly :::: But today we Stand tall and proud WE WONT FOLD :::: #Baltimore | #DVNLLN: image via KnownNobodyBBC Breaking News @byDVNLN, 28 April 2015
Embedded image permalink

This how my city been looking :::: We are the forgotten ones ::: You wonder why we lashing out ::: #Weovebaltimore image via KnownNobody @byDVNLN, 29 April 2015

Embedded image permalink

[Time 11 May 2015 cover photo by Devin Allen]: image via KnownNobody @byDVNLN, 30 April 2015

"To the youth of this city: Our time is now." #Baltimore's @amarilynmosbyesq / Pic @byDENLLN #BaltimoreUprising: image via MoveOn,orgVerifiedAccount @MoveOn, 1 May 2015

 #Baltimore protesters rejoice over charges in '#FreddieGray's death: image via HuffPost BlackVoices @blackvoices, 1 May 2015

 #Here's the itemized list of charges against six #Baltimore police officers for the death of #FreddieGray's death: image via Breaking News @NewsOnTheMin, 1 May 2015

 #Here's the itemized list of charges against six #Baltimore police officers for the death of #FreddieGray's death: image via Breaking News @NewsOnTheMin, 1 May 2015

"This is your best weapon against police"#KevinMoore, filmer of #FreddieGray explains need 4 CopWatch: image via Chuck_MODI@POPSspotSports, 1 May 2015

Kevin Moore, the Man Who Filmed Freddie Gray's Arrest: Colleen Moore, Vice News, 1 May 2015

The man who used his cellphone to record video of Freddie Gray's arrest by Baltimore police officers was himself arrested by officers after he left a protest on Thursday, in what he describes as a clear case of witness intimidation.

Baltimore police arrested Kevin Moore along with two friends of his from Ferguson, Missouri, who work with the group Copwatch, an activist organization that advocates for the filming of interactions with police. Police released Moore on Friday morning without charges being filed against him. His two companions, Chad Jackson and Tony White, remain in custody.

Moore told VICE News that, prior to his arrest, the police department's internal affairs division had already interviewed him for several hours about what he witnessed when Gray was arrested. His video showed the arresting officers lifting Gray from the ground where they had handcuffed him and carrying him limply to the back of a police van. Gray was later determined to have a severed spine and died a week after his arrest.

The Baltimore State's Attorney's Office announced on Friday that it had filed criminal charges against the six officers involved in Gray's arrest and subsequent death.

Moore described the circumstances of his arrest on Thursday to VICE News on video and in an off-camera interview.

"They waited until I got away from the protest and my people to protect me," he said.

Police arrested Moore, Jackson, and White after the three of them walked to Bruce Court, an area where Moore lives that is located not far from the site of the protest. The pretext for the arrest was not clear.

"They had assault weapons, rifles, they had everything -- their tank, two choppers," he recalled. "They took me to the Western District [police station], never gave me charging papers or anything."

"It's called witness intimidation," he added. "But if they hadn't let me go it would have been a whole lot of BS that they didn't want to deal with, so they decided it was in their best interest to let me go. But they still have my friends."

Chuck Modiano, a member of Copwatch, told VICE News that jail support informed the group that Jackson and White will probably be released sometime in the afternoon on Friday. To his knowledge, no formal charges are being filed. Modiano said that Copwatch did not know on what grounds police were holding the two activists.

The Baltimore Police Department did not answer inquiries from VICE News about their arrests.

"I have a feeling there's some foul play going on," Moore said, noting that the police did not give him even a citation.

Moore said he felt intimidated by the police when they earlier sought to question him about Gray's death, and particularly after they subsequently circulated his photo and personal information online, saying that he was wanted for questioning.

"They plastered my picture all over the internet hoping people would come forward and tell on me," Moore said. "I gave them that video... They asked me, like, 'You seem like you are a positive leader in your community.' And [I was like], 'Oh, so you know who I am?' I'm not hiding, I've never been hiding."

Moore praised the decision this morning by Baltimore State's Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby to press criminal charges on the officers involved in Gray's death, and said that he is determined to seek "justice for my man Freddie."

"It's called witness intimidation" We spoke to the man who filmed #FreddieGray's arrest: image via VICE News @vicenews, 1 May 2015

#BaltimoreUprising: Why everyone in #Baltimore hates the media: image via Anonymous @AnonyOps, 1 May 2015

Embedded image permalink

Yes last night was Bad it was Ugly :::: But today we Stand tall and proud WE WONT FOLD :::: #Baltimore | #DVNLLN: image via KnownNobodyBBC Breaking News @byDVNLN, 28 April 2015  


TC said...

Baltimore (Randy Newman): Nina Simone cover, 1978, w/ terrific Baltimore photos by Ty Waller, 1969

Bob Marley: Johnny Was a Good Man

O-o-h Child (Stan Vincent): The Five Stairsteps (Burke Family), live, c. 1970

O-o-h Child: Nine Simone cover, 1971

O-o-h Child: PS 22 Chorus cover

L'Enfant de la Haute Mer said...

Everything has been said, Tom Clark

TC said...

If only!

Meanwhile, there's this (also from Guardian in New York):

All six police officers charged over the death of 25 year-old Freddie Gray have been released on bail, following a brief spell of detention at Baltimore’s central booking and intake centre.

Four officers, charged with felony crimes including second degree murder and manslaughter, each posted a $350,000 bail, while two others, charged with misdemeanours including second degree assault, posted $250,000. The bail amount and the officers’ ability to pay came in stark contrast to many of those accused of rioting during the unrest sparked by Gray’s death.

Eighteen-year-old Allen Bullock, charged with eight criminal counts including rioting and destruction of property after he handed himself in to authorities following his involvement in the unrest, was given $500,000 bail, which his family was unable to pay.

Bullock’s public defender Jennifer Davis told the Guardian it was “outrageous” that the teenager, who is facing his first charges as an adult, should be given a bail charge at least $150,000 more than the officers accused over Gray’s death.

Bullock’s parents told the Guardian on Thursday that they could not afford to pay the bail fee. The teenager is not due for another hearing until 28 May and was committed to jail, according to court records.

“As parents we wanted Allen to do the right thing,” Bobbi Smallwood, Bullock’s mother, told the Guardian through tears on Thursday. “He was dead wrong and he does need to be punished. But he wasn’t leading this riot. He hasn’t got that much power.”

“It is just so much money,” she added.

Mose23 said...

I don't reckon Freddie will be the last but it's great to see Marilyn Mosby pursue this.

billoo said...

The Fairsteps..definitely! Why not Coltrane's Alabama as well?

Hello, Tom.


manik sharma said...


The TIME magazine cover says more than any of us probably could. The text/image hullabaloo I've read about for years finally makes a grand appearance of much significance.

TC said...

Many thanks, Duncan and billoo.

The Five Stairsteps began as a a five-member teen age singing group consisting of children of Clarence Burke Sr., a Chicago policeman, and Betty Burke. A first prize show in a citywide talent contest at the Regal Theater in Chicago brought the group to the attention of a member of the Impressions, who introduced them to Curtis Mayfield; Mayfield signed them to a contract on his Windy City label, for which they began recording in 1966. Betty Burke gave them their name, a simple description of the appearance given when they were lined up by age (the kids, most of them then attending Harlan High School, were still growing). With their early recording success they gained the nickname "First Family of Soul," soon to be appropriated by the Jackson 5. The peak of their career was their wonderful interpretation of the Stan Vincent tune "O-o-h Child", which justly become one of the songs by which that epoch was (and for many remains) remembered.

The Nina Simone "Baltimore" video presents photos taken by Ty Waller at the time of the civil disturbances in Baltimore in the late 1960s. The most striking revelation is the resemblance of the city then to the city now, almost half a century of urban decay later. Keeping in mind that Baltimore is a city that a century ago had a population of nearly a million; it's just two-thirds that populous now. The boarded-up windows of derelict houses are mute testimony to a disastrous history. After WW II, with the apportionment of government housing loans for returning GIs, the practise of "red-lining" neighborhoods -- dividing certain cities into mapped zones according to economic and racial status of the residents -- had particularly profound effects in Baltimore, where the "red-lined" inner city zones deteriorated into a ghetto. The sub-prime loan crisis, a national contagion, hit hard here; the "We Buy Houses" notice seen on a building in one of Devin Allen's photos is graphic evidence of the continuing manipulation of this primarily black underclass neighborhood by real-estate speculators.

In that same time-machine portfolio the police can be seen to be lacking the Star Wars hardware now sported by the occupying cop army of the city (many of whom, by the way, live well away from the areas they are charged to "protect and serve"); indeed, without the armored personnel carriers and masks and shields and superweapons they appear all but... human, would that be the word.

Marilyn Mosby, by the way, comes from a family of several generations of police. It's hard to see her actions here as anything but courageous. Whether the indictments lead to convictions of course remains to be seen.

It's my impression that in an area of 60% black unemployment, where the ceiling of possibility is so impossibly low, the younger people, who are no fools, are coming to a point of decision that is deeply political. With some few exceptions, they are not members of this society, any more than the Palestinians living under Israeli rule in the West Bank are members of a society; they are its outcasts, its victims. These are the conditions from which, with education, intifada arises, not merely in reaction to incidents, but as a strategy for survival.

When one thinks about it, there are many small aspects of the picture created by these unfolding events that suggest what is happening goes beyond the sphere of the local. The man who shot the crucial video had associations with Copwatch and Ferguson. He happened to catch the images of the brutalization of Freddie Gray by accident... but his capture was perhaps not quite so accidental at that, when one considers the larger trajectory of history in all this. The right place and the right time and the wrong place and the wrong time seem to converge and shift and finally elude category, any more.

TC said...

Manik, Sorry, hadn't see yours till just now, and yes, that TIME image is one that makes, and in fact had already made, a strong impression, thanks to under-the-radar circulation on "social media" so called -- that weird spillover cauldron of truth and fact and deception and rumour and emotion and, finally, the news the mainstream media is not built to notice.

Devin Allen, who took the picture, is a neighborhood kid with skills and heart and knowledge; the recent events have raised his game, but to respond to the historical moment he had to be ready; I believe his work has been been inspired to large degree by the example of Gordon Parks, and that would amount to a solid grounding in socially conscious documentary photojournalism of the highest order.

TC said...

Marvin Gaye: Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler), 1971

Gil Scott-Heron: Message to the Messengers

Gil Scott-Heron: Winter in America (live in Central Park, 2010)