On Wednesday, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake met with Freddie Gray’s lawyers, family members and with local religious leaders in an effort to tackle “misinformation” that may further fuel the protests caused by Gray’s forceful arrest and subsequent death.
The mayor, a Gray family’s lawyer and Rev. Jamal H. Bryant stood Wednesday outside a West Baltimore church to answer journalists’ questions over their confidential meeting held that day.
According to Ms. Rawlings-Blake, the group discussed plans to prevent further street unrest on Friday, when the police announced that it would finally release some details on Gray’s death and the results of its investigation.
The three announced that they would continue to push for peace this weekend.
Freddie Gray, 25, died earlier this month after a 7-day coma linked to a severed spine and a broken neck he got after he was arrested by Baltimore police officers. His death sparked public outrage amid a series of several other police abuses involving minority members across the country.
On Monday, people went on streets to make sure that the police would disclose what really happened with Gray on the day of his arrest and that justice would be served. But the peaceful protests soon morphed into riots and several arrests which caused nationwide unrest.
Hassan Murphy, one of Gray family’s attorneys, said that his clients contacted Baltimore mayor to arrange a meeting with the leaders of the city. Among others, Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony W. Batts and the Baltimore Public Works director also attended the meeting.
Mr. Murphy expressed his gratitude that the mayor chose to share the municipality’s short-term plans to assure that the city was “in great hands” with Gray’s family and other attendees.
“We stand by our mayor. The family stands by our mayor,”
the lawyer added.
He also disclosed that Gray’s family called for peace and wanted a throughout investigation that would lead to “the right result” without an unnecessary rush or hassle. The attorney also said that his clients wanted justice to be served but “at the right time,” rather than prematurely.
Baltimore Mayor expressed her concern about hate mongering “misinformation” about what the police might reveal on Friday. In a previous statement, Commissioner Batts said that his department would finish the investigation by Friday and would address prosecutors over potential charges. Protesters, however, are concerned that no or too little details would be released to the public on that day.
The mayor noted that at this Wednesday’s meeting she had the chance to answer some questions and make clear that authorities sought a “pathway toward justice and peace” rather than just seeking justice.
Ms. Rawlings-Blake expressed her gratitude for the meeting and the honesty of its participants. Rev. Bryant, who was a vocal advocate for peace these last few days, told reporters that the meeting helped “ease some fears” although it was hidden “under the cloak of confidentiality.” He also said that attendees will use the facts they learned about in their efforts to promote peace as Baltimore mayor’s ambassadors.
Rev. Bryant also mentioned his efforts to contact high school leaders, teachers and students to tell them that a verdict wasn’t due out this weekend, as rumored. He also said that it was the responsibility of the leaders of the community to correct “misinformation” in due time and make sure that what happened on Monday won’t repeat this weekend.
The reverend also urged just about everyone in the city to work for peace.
Image Source: NY Times