Freddie Gray Haunts Baltimore Police As Violence Escalates

Freddie Gray’s death after Baltimore police arrest leads to summer murder spree and soaring crime rates in a city out of control under Mayor Rawlings-Blake. July recorded a record number of 45 murders in Baltimore city, 192 murders for the year and 378 victims of gunshot wounds. The native city of Freddie Gray is fast becoming the deadliest city in America.

Freddie Gray, 25, was well-known to police and had an arrest record filled with drug busts and selling narcotics. Some believe he initially ran from police to ditch drugs in his possession before he could be searched. Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby blames the current crime wave not on the death of Gray, but on drugs – on addicts and on their drug dealers.

“We know it has to do with drugs,” Mosby said in a WBAL radio interview. “We know it has to do with gangs. We know it has to do with turf wars.”

Mosby’s comments came with a scathing critique of Baltimore City Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and her leadership during the crime crisis since the death of Freddie Gray.

When the mayor was questioned about the 50 percent decrease in arrest rates in the city and the increase in crime, she had little to say about her performance in office. The mayor actually refused to be questioned about the rising crime rate by a Fox News reporter as she fumbled through a press conference when the murder numbers for May were released.

It is true that Baltimore is a city hard to manage. It has the dubious distinction of housing the highest number of heroin addicts in America. Cocaine is even a greater problem in the escalation of violent crimes in Baltimore.

Citing Baltimore police records, Freddie Gray’s last arrest before his death on April 19 was on March 20 for dealing cocaine. He was scheduled for trial on those charges in May, just a few weeks before his death. Another prior arrest was for manufacturing narcotics, including crack cocaine. Unlike heroin which produces a zombie effect, cocaine induces anger, violence, and murder, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health.

“Cocaine is an addictive drug that produces numerous psychiatric symptoms, syndromes, and disorders. The symptoms include agitation, paranoia, hallucinations, delusions, violence, as well as suicidal and homicidal thinking. Paranoia occurs in 68% to 84% of patients using cocaine. Cocaine-related violent behaviors occur in as many as 55% of patients with cocaine-induced psychiatric symptoms. Homicide has also been associated with cocaine use in as many as 31% of homicide victims.”

During the April riots following the Freddie Gray funeral, the local CVS pharmacy was robbed of all prescription drugs before it was set on fire. Shawn Elerman, a special agent at the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), told reporters, “With more than 30 pharmacies broken into by looters, roughly 300,000 doses of prescription drugs and opiates were stolen.” This was clear indication of the most significant problem in the troubled neighborhood of the riots; the rioting was not about poverty, unemployment, or finding out how Freddie Gray died.

The police department has spent almost $2 million dollars on riot gear and other equipment since mid-April. On July 8, Mayor Rawlings-Blake fired the Baltimore police chief and replaced him with an interim commissioner until a new chief is hired. Patrol cars are now manned by two officers, which actually decreases the number of patrols at the very time when crime is increasing.

Baltimore Police Face Off Against Street Videographers
Baltimore Police Face Off Against Street Videographers [Photo by Allison Shelley/Getty Images]
The situation on the streets of Baltimore today is a standoff between Baltimore police and thug videographers who swarm police like paparazzi, film their every move, and taunt their every action. And statements from police indicate that they are overly cautious in performing their duty since the death of Freddie Gray was ruled a homicide and eight officers were indicted. The number of arrests for criminal offenses is down by 50 percent since April. Thirty federal agents were positioned in Baltimore last week to help police with unsolved homicide files and drug law enforcement.

The crime wave continues and may well increase in the lead up to the hearings on September 2, prior to the trial date of October 13 for the officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray.

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