President Obama: Freddie Gray Style Situations ‘Aren’t New’

President Obama recently commented on the unfolding situation in Baltimore that is surrounding the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray. In response to Gray’s arrest and death while in police custody, citizens of Baltimore have been looting, rioting, and burning the city whilst assaulting cops with rocks and bottles. The White House’s official website noted that the Department of Justice is now investigating the situation surrounding Freddie Gray’s death, and that President Obama made a speech offering his thoughts on the occurrence.

Obama’s speech was balanced, telling protesters that his thoughts were with Gray’s family, but that there was no excuse for the types of violence Baltimore has been seeing the past few days, according to the White House website. On the other hand, the President’s speech made it clear that America needs to establish better relationships between police and citizens, saying the country has some “soul-searching” to do, the site noted. The White House also tweeted a quote from Obama’s speech that summarized the President’s position on the situation.

The White House went on to report on Obama’s feelings that there are problems with the American justice system with regards to how the law is applied to “certain communities.” Whether this means African-American communities or just communities in general is unclear, but the article discussed Obama’s opinion that the problem could be fixed if it were seen as more significant by the majority of people.

Maryland’s governor, Larry Hogan, has called a state of emergency in Maryland due to the Freddie Gray riots, and the National Guard has been called into to assist local and state police in dealing with the rioting. Social media is, of course, teeming with people demanding freedom for a protest organizer by the name of Joseph Kent (whom the National Guard is said to have kidnapped).

Whether you agree with the protestors or the police, we can all agree on one thing: that moment Toya Graham slapped and yelled at her son for participating in the protest was downright hilarious. In a TV interview, Graham cited her fears that her son would become “another Freddie Gray” as the motivation behind her actions.

While that one event may be entertaining, we must not forget the more serious issues underlying its cause. Race relations are quite possibly the worst they’ve been in this country since the civil rights movement, and the relationships between police and citizens are not much better in many communities. Healing the wounds of both police and citizens will take more than just speeches from our politicians — it will take reforms and action from both sides of the aisle.

[Image Credit: Time]