The mainstream media is consumed by Baltimore’s reaction to the death of Freddie Gray, a black man who died of severe spinal injuries after a violent arrest. While the TV networks highlight images of a burning CVS, less attention is being paid to a lengthy history of police corruption and brutality that led to this outburst of outrage in the city’s streets.
Gray’s death itself highlights multiple issues with the Baltimore Police Department. As with many other departments, officers with a history of violence are allowed to remain on the force with little to no accountability.
Baltimore Police Lt. Brian Rice, one of six officers suspended after the incident, initiated a bicycle chase after Gray made eye contact with him, which eventually led to the violent arrest that was caught on video. According to a report released by The Guardian on Thursday, Rice has a history of violence while on duty. A man, who the Guardian said its reporters had identified but kept anonymous for his protection, received a restraining order against Rice after a series of violent threats and incidents. During the duration of the order, Rice’s weapons, which included “a personal Glock handgun, long guns and a cross-bow,” were confiscated.