Baltimore Riots: Thugs or Freedom Fighters?

On April 12, 2015, Freddie Gray, a 25 year old African American man was arrested by Baltimore police officers. Gray suffered injuries while in the protection of Baltimore police officers. On April 18, 2015, representatives announced that Freddie Gray was in a coma. Baltimore residents responded by invoking a nonviolent protest against police brutality.  A couple of days later, Gray came out of his     coma with good health, and was transported out of the hospital by Baltimore police officers. Freddie Gray later died from neck and spine injuries while being transported by those police officers. On April 27th, after Gray’s funeral, B-more natives took to the streets in an uproar. What once was a nonviolent protest, became a passionate riot through the city of Baltimore. News and media presenters reported in the city of Baltimore calling these young black protesters, “thugs” and violent vandals.

It’s crazy how those news’ broadcasters only reported on the looting and the debris throwing at police officers, and nothing else. Popular news shows like CNN and Fox News were famous for broadcasting the after effects of these black protester’s anguish, and not the antagonistic acts of their white counterparts. On social media sites such as Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr, people uploaded videos and pictures of white Baltimore bar attendees screaming out racial slurs, such as “niggers” and “black lives don’t matter” towards these young black protesters. Videos from these sites also show these protesters literally fighting back.


Are these young black victims of racial justice, thugs or are they freedom fighters? It is easy to turn on CNN and see young black people looting and throwing rocks, and assume they are thugs, but what is a thug? defines ‘Thug’ as “a cruel or vicious ruffian, robber, or murderer” (, 2015). By this definition, the police officers, who inflicted pain and suffering that eventually killed Freddie Gray, could also be considered a ‘thug’ as well.  As we see today, the word ‘thug’ is only used to describe loud, aggressive, black men and boys in the U.S. A white man could do the same crime, or act or do a worse act, and still wouldn’t be referred to as a ‘thug’. Stereotypical judgment has been disfiguring societal norms in this country for centuries. 

Racial injustice is alive and breathing heavily in the U.S. Something has to be done, because this is a human rights issue. Not only does #BlackLivesMatter, ALL LIVES MATTER! Today, the Freddie Gray, Mike Brown, Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, and many more police brutality cases are spreading awareness on racial injustice. There has been nonviolent protests in New York City, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., Atlanta, Boston, Oakland, and many more cities in the U.S. People are tired of the same old story of wrongful killings by law enforcement. It will always be a time for change in a nation that doesn’t hear cries from the weary. I stand with the Freedom fighters such as those young people in Baltimore that are against violence of all levels in America.


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