Posted on Apr 27, 2015
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“I don’t know how you can be black in America and be silent,” Bryant said at the funeral.

BALTIMORE — Some of the speakers at the funeral for Freddie Gray — who died in police custody in Baltimore on April 19 — wanted the service to be non-political. But the ceremony quickly evolved into a mix of mourning and call to action, and the crowd didn’t seem to mind.

Mourners poured into New Shiloh Baptist Church on Monday, filling the red-cushioned seats well over capacity. They applauded proclamations about Gray’s life and what he might have made of himself. They shouted their approval when speakers said Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake hadn’t done enough to support the community since Gray died. And churchgoers roared their approval when Dr. Reverend Jamal Harrison Bryant ended his eulogy by shouting, “no justice, no peace,” a rallying cry for protesters since Michael Brown was shot in Ferguson last summer

Gray's name has become another hashtag in the ever-growing list of black people and other minority Americans who have been killed by police under apparently dubious circumstances.

Police killings were thrown into the national spotlight in August, when officer Darren Wilson shot and killed Brown. Protesters against police brutality then took to the streets, and similar demonstrations have rolled across America in cities from New York to North Charleston, South Carolina and now to Baltimore.

Gray — who played football, loved sports and had served as a church usher — died a week after police arrested him on April 12. He died with smashed voice box and a spine that was almost completely severed.

Police say they arrested him “without force,” though a video of Gray’s arrest showed him screaming and at least one of his legs appeared completely limp. A bystander said it looked "broken." Police admitted they didn’t put Gray in a seatbelt after they put him into their van.

They did, however, stop the van to shackle his legs before they diverted their route to the shock trauma center at the University of Maryland Medical Center, where Gray underwent surgery because of a "medical emergency."

The Baltimore Police Department has put the six officers involved in Gray’s arrest on suspension with pay, and police officials have said they are trying to figure out how Gray died. But few black residents in Baltimore appear to trust the process.
“You know most of us are not here because we know Freddie Gray,” Billy Murphy, the attorney for the Gray family, said at the funeral. “But we know lots of Freddie Grays. Too many.”

BALTIMORE — Some of the speakers at the funeral for Freddie Gray — who died in police custody in Baltimore on April 19 — wanted the service to be non-political. But the ceremony quickly evolved into a mix of mourning and call to action, and the crowd didn’t seem to mind.

Mourners poured into New Shiloh Baptist Church on Monday, filling the red-cushioned seats well over capacity. They applauded proclamations about Gray’s life and what he might have made of himself. They shouted their approval when speakers said Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake hadn’t done enough to support the community since Gray died. And churchgoers roared their approval when Dr. Reverend Jamal Harrison Bryant ended his eulogy by shouting, “no justice, no peace,” a rallying cry for protesters since Michael Brown was shot in Ferguson last summer.

“I don’t know how you can be black in America and be silent,” Bryant said at the funeral. “With everything we’ve been through, ain’t no way we can stand to be silent.”

Gray's name has become another hashtag in the ever-growing list of black people and other minority Americans who have been killed by police under apparently dubious circumstances.

Police killings were thrown into the national spotlight in August, when officer Darren Wilson shot and killed Brown. Protesters against police brutality then took to the streets, and similar demonstrations have rolled across America in cities from New York to North Charleston, South Carolina and now to Baltimore.

Gray — who played football, loved sports and had served as a church usher — died a week after police arrested him on April 12. He died with smashed voice box and a spine that was almost completely severed.

Police say they arrested him “without force,” though a video of Gray’s arrest showed him screaming and at least one of his legs appeared completely limp. A bystander said it looked "broken." Police admitted they didn’t put Gray in a seatbelt after they put him into their van.

They did, however, stop the van to shackle his legs before they diverted their route to the shock trauma center at the University of Maryland Medical Center, where Gray underwent surgery because of a "medical emergency."

The Baltimore Police Department has put the six officers involved in Gray’s arrest on suspension with pay, and police officials have said they are trying to figure out how Gray died.But few black residents in Baltimore appear to trust the process.

“You know most of us are not here because we know Freddie Gray,” Billy Murphy, the attorney for the Gray family, said at the funeral. “But we know lots of Freddie Grays. Too many.”
Nearly everyone in the church applauded when Murphy said the Baltimore Police Department needed to recruit more people from black communities in the city. They applauded when he said police needed body cameras, and that those officers couldn’t decide when to turn the cameras on and off. And the crowd laughed when he said they all needed to stop ducking jury duty.
Though the crowd was hyped up by the calls to action — and there were many — speakers were also somber.

Rep. Elijah Cummings’ voice seemed to shake as he spoke about Gray and the thoughts that may have gone through the young Baltimore resident’s head before he died.

“Family, there are those who will tell you not to cry,” Cummings said. “I’m not going to do that.”
Pastor Walker Scott Thomas spoke directly to Gray’s family, saying, “You had dreams of who he might become.”
And then Bryant took the stage to close the ceremony.

“At 25-years of age, being black in Baltimore, no opportunities to go to Johns Hopkins [University], no doors open at the University of Maryland … he had to have been asking himself, ‘What am I going to do with my life?'”But Bryant asked the family and the rest of Baltimore to do what they could to focus on the future, to eradicate the conditions they feel left Gray without a life to build for himself. He said they should be tired of looking at the stadiums of the Baltimore Orioles and Baltimore Ravens and wondering how so much money can be spent on sports, when they feel so little is spent on black communities in their city.

Nearly every speaker talked about agitating for change long after the cameras have gone.
“Protests around his death serve as the defibrillator to start the heartbeat of change around this city,” Pastor Thomas said. Then he again spoke to Gray's family: “All of us who gathered here today are just here to say, ‘we’ve got your back.’”
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Responses: 15
MAJ Robert (Bob) Petrarca
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These are the things that are tearing the fabric of America to pieces. One or two unfortunate events and an entire ethnic demographic is up in arms. We can't keep labeling everyone and trying to make the population percentages make sense because it will never work. You can't be an ethnic politician white or otherwise and show direct favoritism to your own ethnic group at the expense of others.

Define justice - a white LEO kills a black man and the white LEO has to be guilty and go to prison - that's not justice that's revenge. Now there are 2 cases that are completely legitimate - the one where the LEO shot the suspect 8 times and the 73 year old reserve deputy who killed a man because he fired his gun instead of his taser. Those were legitimately wrong and they both deserve to do time.

Same with this racial profiling BS. If one ethnic group is committing crimes why do you have to go after another ethnic group to make the percentages look right? it's time people woke up to a strong dose of reality.
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SPC Small Arms/Artillery Repairer
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It want just one or two insignificant events. It’s a combination of things.
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CPT Zachary Brooks
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From what I can tell of this incidence, this was a terrible thing. Problem is the reaction to the police shootings that are seen as bad (not all are) generally brings out more police force of action. What happened to the days of MLK and what happened to teaching your families and children to respect authority (even if the officer is in the wrong at the time)?
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SGT Infantryman (Airborne)
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I think in general the black people don't want to have any problems like this as well as the whites and other nationalities living in the U.S. That being said, there are a lot of blacks and whites who want to see rioting and killings. From my experience in riot control, in
Detroit, Mich. in 1967, the cops will not quit and will kill anyone who they think is in their way or they are in fear for their life. I saw three black young men murdered by the police after they were arrested for shooting at us. They were shot in the back with shotguns.
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SFC Observer   Controller/Trainer (Oc/T)
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Our lives are just the end result of all the decisions we've made to this point... We all make our choices, and no one else is responsible for them...
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