Baltimore has always felt heavy in a way, but lately dealing with this pandemic of Covid-19 and this Civil Rights Movement since the Murder of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor happened we’ve been back in a Uproar. It’s not until you get older that you truly begin to understand the saying of “History Always Repeats Itself”.
On April 12, 2015, Freddie Carlos Gray Jr., a 25-year-old black man, received catastrophic neck injuries during his arrest prompting 6 officers of the Baltimore Police Department to be initially charged and indicted on murder and manslaughter. The six Baltimore police officers charged with murder and manslaughter were suspended, but continued to receive pay. Gray’s hospitalization and subsequent death resulted in an ongoing series of protests. Those “peaceful” protests that occurred in Downtown Baltimore, turned violent, resulting in 34 arrests and injuries to 15 police officers. After Gray’s funeral on April 27, civil disorder intensified with looting and burning of local businesses and a CVS drug store, culminating with a state of emergency declaration by Governor Larry Hogan, Maryland National Guard deployment to Baltimore, and the establishment of a curfew.
The world witnessed on all media platforms an uproar from a burning city, OUR CITY Baltimore, that was hurting and angered. Baltimore’s own, Devin Allen was on the frontline capturing this history that was happening right here in our city. In 2015, Freddie Gray gave Devin Allen or as we call him around the way “Moodie”, his voice! He became the 3rd amateur photographer ever to be blessed with the cover of Time!
Gray suffered from a severe and critical neck injury; after asking multiple times for medical assistance, and stating ‘I can’t breathe’, he was ignored by the officers and died. Five years later, in 2020, a 46-year-old black man, was killed in Minneapolis, Minnesota, during an arrest for allegedly using a counterfeit bill. Derek Chauvin, a white police officer, knelt on Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes while Floyd was handcuffed and lying face down in the street, begging for his life and repeatedly saying “I can’t breathe” while 2 other officers restrained Floyd and the fourth prevented bystanders from intervening = HISTORY REPEATED ITSELF!
The unrest began as local protests in the Minneapolis–Saint Paul metropolitan area of Minnesota before quickly spreading across the entire nation and internationally in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. While the majority of protests have been peaceful, demonstrations in some cities descended into riots and widespread looting. At least 200 cities imposed curfews by June 3, while approximately 30 out of the 50 states including Washington, D.C, activated over 24,000 National Guard personnel due to the mass unrest. From the beginning of the protests to June 3, at least 11,000 people had been arrested, including all four police officers involved in the arrest which led to Floyd’s death.
5 years ago, the media only captured Baltimore in an uproar. 5 years later, now the entire country (ALL 50 STATES) are in an uproar! Many civilians, news reporters, and photographers, such as Devin Allen are out on the frontlines capturing History! Today on June 11th, Time Magazine released their new cover featuring my friend Devin Allen, for the 2nd time which brought a bit of sunshine back to our hometown, Baltimore. The image on the cover captured demonstrators at a Black Trans Lives Matter protest in Baltimore, June 5th.
Who would’ve thought I would be alive to witness a pandemic, a civil rights movement, and my friend make the Times Cover Magazine for the 2nd time all at the same time… WHAT A TIME TO BE ALIVE! – Raven Paris