On Freddie Gray and the Baltimore Uprising

We still don’t know the names of the racist police officers that brutally murdered Freddie Gray. All we know is that they have been suspended with pay. We are told that we cannot rush to judgment, for what would otherwise become of ‘due process’? However, we now know that there is another person to blame, another subject involved in and responsible for, the tragic, torturous and horrific death – the lynching of Freddie Gray, and that is Freddie Gray himself.

From the Washington Post to Fox News and other media outlets, we learn that, according to a prisoner who was in the police van with Freddie Gray during that terrible and murderous ride, Freddie Gray was “banging against the walls” of the vehicle. This other prisoner now says that he believed Freddie Gray was “intentionally trying to injure himself.” Articles reporting on this don’t say that the second prisoner had no idea of what had happened during Gray’s arrest, that his spine had been injured, and his legs were rendered useless. So they don’t say that the banging against the walls of the police van was simply a way to somehow deal with the excruciating and unsustainable pain caused by his spine injury. During the ‘rough ride’ in the van, Freddie Gray was trying to exit his body, bring it back to a healthy state, or perhaps break it even more, in an attempt to stop that impossible condition of pain, impossible to sustain, stop the nightmare which these six racist and murderous police officers had brought upon him. No – rather, in the lying fashion typical of mainstream media, in the deliberate thoughtlessness typical of the law and the police, they go from one absurdity to the other trying to convince an audience whose stupidity and gullibility they offensively assume. So they say that the document, the second prisoner’s statement, was “written by a Baltimore police investigator.”

The prisoner is not named “because the person who provided [the document to the Post] feared for the inmate’s safety.” We can here commend the correctness of the police. Indeed, isn’t that what they are about? Their main concern: the safety of everyone, including inmates. But of course we are not told what kind of deal they offered this ‘other prisoner’ – “a 38-year-old man accused of violating a protective order .” A deal, or perhaps something more compelling than that, such as a threat and terrible implications for not complying with their sick scheme. All we know is that “[t]he prisoner, who is in jail, could not be reached for comment.” There is obviously no attempt at being sarcastic in the Post: only very serious and conscientious reporting with a bit of analysis, too. Yet, most important in the article is not the sudden and shadowy appearance of the ‘other prisoner,’ but the cynical description of Freddie Gray’s final hour. We are told one more time that “Gray was found unconscious in the wagon when it arrived at a police station on April 12.” This, we had known before. What’s new is the end put to the unsettling mystery as to what happened during that gruesome ride. They have the nerve to unreasonably repeat that “[p]olice have said they do not know whether Gray was injured during the arrest or during his 30-minute ride in the van.” But we have all watched the video and have no doubts about the fact that Freddie Gray was not able to move his legs as he was being dragged to the police van, and was crying in excruciating pain. The police, the law and mainstream media now go out of their way to uncover and really fabricate new evidence, while ignoring what is most evident and under everybody’s eyes and faculty of judgment.

True, the article does say that a video “shows two officers on top of Gray, putting their knees in his back, then dragging his seemingly limp body to the van as he cries out.” Yet, it challenges the veracity of that, and the word “seemingly” is here a slap in everybody’s face, as well as being an insult to the memory of Freddie Gray, to his inability to stand out and exist any longer. According to the article, Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony W. Batts, who “admitted flaws in the way officers handled Gray,” has said that “Gray stood on one leg and climbed into the van on his own,” implying that he had not really – not seriously – been injured yet, thus obscuring and muddling the issue. This is almost like the claim we heard about Eric Garner, that if he really couldn’t breathe, he would not have been able to say, “I can’t breathe!” This is not even sophistry, but something far worse than that. Then they speak about due process, truth, and justice. But what we have here is a subhuman approach to life, the erasure of dignity and intelligence, the triumph of social idiocy exemplified – once again- by the police, the state, the law and mainstream media, and the death of all ethics.

The article continues with an unconscionable description of Freddie Gray’s via crucis, which brings to mind the opening pages of Michel Foucault’s _Discipline and Punish_: “The van driver stopped three times while transporting Gray to a booking center, the first to put him in leg irons. ” [“Then the ropes that were to be harnessed to the horses were attached with cords to the patient’s body; the horses were then harnessed and placed alongside the arms and legs, one at each limb.”] The article continues saying that “the officer driving the van described Gray as ‘irate.'” [“It is said that, though he was always a great swearer, no blasphemy escaped his lips; but the excessive pain made him utter horrible cries, and he often repeated: ‘My God, have pity on me! Jesus, help me!'”] “The search warrant application says Gray ‘continued to be combative in the police wagon.’ [“instead of four {horses}, six were needed.”] Freddie’s via crucis continues: “The driver made a second stop, five minutes later, and asked an officer to help check on Gray.” [“Monsieur Le Breton, the clerk of the court, went up to the patient several times and asked him if he had anything to say.”] “At that stop, police have said the van driver found Grayon the floor of the van and put him back on the seat, still without restraints.” [“Monsieur Le Breton … ordered that renewed efforts be made, and this was done.”] “Police said Grayasked for medical help at that point.” [“He raised his head and looked at himself.”] “The third stop was to put the other prisoner — a 38-year-old man accused of violating a protective order — into the van. The van was then driven six blocks to the Western District station. Gray was taken from there to a hospital, where he died April 19.” [“When the four limbs had been pulled away, the confessors came to speak to him; but his executioner told them that he was dead …. In accordance with the decree, the whole was reduced to ashes.”] Our uncivilization has not progressed much since 1757, the year of the public execution of Damien, the regicide (who had however not succeeded in killing the king), described at the outset of _Discipline and Punish_.

The Post article ends in a very bizarre way with two unconnected paragraphs. The first simply reports the wisdom of Gene Ryan, Baltimore police union president, who “urged everyone not to rush to judgment. The facts as presented will speak for themselves. I just wish everyone would take a step back and a deep breath, and let the investigation unfold.” He is the same guy that from the start showed his obsession with due process. The second, and final paragraph, seasons the whole thing with some legal (bureaucratic) and scientific flavor, which was needed to give the Post article the respectable dimension of objectivity typical of all mainstream press. The paragraph in question, which I had to read a few times (what the hell are they talking about?), says: “The search warrant application says that detectives at the time did not know where the officer’s uniform was located and that they wanted his department-issued long-sleeve shirts, pants and black boots or shoes. The document says investigators think that Gray’s DNA might be found on the officer’s clothes.”

My congratulations to the author of the Post article. To the police and the system of laws, good luck with the gathering of evidence and the measure [metron] of things that are (that they are) and of those that aren’t (that they aren’t) [Protagoras]. With Freddie Gray, we cry out against a racist, brutal, unconscionable system of violence, injustice, and police brutality – destructive of the human spirit and all existence. The uprising in Baltimore will be the uprising everywhere.