Baltimore riots spark conversation in Colorado, on campus

May 4. 2015

Alexander Nedd
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A city and social media were set ablaze last Monday after the peaceful protest of the death of an individual turned violent within a couple of hours.

Baltimore was the site of a massive riot, where protesters clashed with police for hours after the funeral of Freddie Gray, a black man who was fatally injured while in police custody.

The riots sparked conversation across the nation as actions led by violent protesters led to multiple structure fires and over 200 cars set ablaze.

The National Guard was activated by Maryland’s Gov. Larry Hogan who declared a state of emergency and imposed a 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew. Public schools were closed last Tuesday and early estimates of damage across the city reached into the thousands of dollars.

The riots led to discussion with UCCS students sharing their opinions on the matter.

“I get the need to protest but think that there are ways that are right and ways that are wrong,” Jessica Gomez, junior political science major, said.

“There were over 10,000 people that were able to protest peacefully, there was no need to burn down buildings and throw rocks at police, it blocks your message from being heard.”

Ethan Wade, sophomore women’s and ethnic studies major, took on a different perspective.

“These demonstrations were started because Baltimore’s black voices aren’t being heard, and demonstrations like this are going to continue until we take the time to listen,” Wade said.

“Everybody seems to have an opinion on the Baltimore demonstrations, but unless you’re a person of color in Baltimore or anywhere else, it’s your turn to listen.”

According to the Associated Press, over 20 officers were injured during the riots. There were over 200 arrests reported, but half of them were dismissed. The dismissals were due to the fact that the arrests were made outside of an allotted timeframe, as well as the officers being unable to keep accurate records.

On May 1, Baltimore’s top prosecutor formally announced charges against six officers who were involved with Freddie Gray when he received a spinal cord injury, leaving him dead a week later.

Many have turned to social media to voice their opinion on the subject with debates circulating around the need todocument the actions of police to the labeling of protesters as thugs and criminals within the media.

During the early stages of the Baltimore protests, a mother was caught on camera disciplining her child when she found him throwing rocks at police. The actions quickly went viral and earned her the #MotherOfTheYear.

The effects of the riots have even reached Colorado.

On April 29, Denver police arrested 11 protesters with citations ranging from misdemeanors such as blocking traffic or resisting arrest, to general assault on a police officer.

In Colorado Springs, the Colorado Springs Protest-Police Brutality Facebook page was created to begin a peaceful protest on May 1. Over 1,000 people were invited to the event which was originally to take place in Acacia Park in downtown Colorado Springs. The event was cancelled due to weather.