Donta Allen, the man who was in custody with Freddie Gray in the back of the police van, spoke with WBAL TV yesterday to clarify his side of the story. His account of what happened in the van definitely doesn’t support the BPD officers’. At the station, he says he overheard a conversation the officers were having in which one of them said, “We gave him [Gray] a run for his money.” He goes on to note that all he heard in the van was “a little banging” for approximately four seconds, which he later on took to mean that Gray’s body was “wobbling” in the back “because he was dying.” Other than that, he says it was a “smooth ride to the police station.” He insisted that there is no way he could have hurt himself in the back of the paddy wagon, so whatever injuries he had sustained happened to him before he was put in there.
Joseph Kent’s newly appointed attorney Steve Beatty spoke with CNN’s Don Lemon last night to set the record straight on what Kent’s motives were for breaking the citywide curfew. He also relays a message from Kent asking that people not commit any violence in his name. For now, Kent remains in jail on a curfew violation charge.
Twitter user @POPSspotsports has come forward with some interesting pictures and recollections from his encounter with Baltimore activist Joseph Kent last night. This young man was not only peaceful, he was assisting police and also acted as a mediator between them and the protesters. This is someone who was clearly not anti-police, not a ‘thug’, not provocative, not inciting riots, etc.
Many viewers looked on in disbelief last night as they saw a slow moving humvee pull up beside 21-year-old Baltimore activist and Morgan University student Joseph Kent while a group of National Guardsmen suddenly descend upon him, snatch him up, and put him in the vehicle before getting in themselves. The clip quickly went viral on social media with people demanding to know, “where is Joseph Kent?”
It’s being reported that he was arrested for violating the 10 PM curfew that went into effect yesterday. Baltimore attorney Steve Beatty says Kent is currently being held at the CBIF (Central Booking & Intake Facility) and is waiting to be let upstairs to see him.
Many are criticizing the way that Kent was detained, calling it a violation of rights and likening it to blackbag kidnapping. We can probably assume Kent was not read his Miranda rights, either. I have just one question for all the pacificists and peaceful protest advocates:
Do you approve of this? What Kent did was simply an act of civil disobedience, he was not harming anyone or destroying anything, and yet he was still snatched up just like anyone else would be.
UPDATE: Good news from Steve Beatty:
When the incident first aired, many speculated the mother was hitting him out of embarrassment or punishing him for being ‘stupid’. This is partially true. In an interview with CBS News, she says she was worried about his safety since he is her only son; she didn’t want him to a Freddie Gray. She goes on to say she does not support vandalization asserting that, “that’s not justice.” This is definitely a genuine concern for a mother, so her reaction is very understandable. However, I do commend the young man for having the heart to take a stand for what he felt was right, and hope he will continue to channel that energy into positive and productive outlets in his community as he grows.
Baltimore Bloods & Pirus spoke with WBAL TV last night and clarified that local gangs did not call a truce to cause any harm to police, contrary to what the BPD has allowed to be promoted by the media. They acknowledge that although some of them are taking a non-violent stance, others within their respective gangs may not, which is a choice they do not condone, but are understanding of. The BPD and the media’s vilification of this truce and the parties involved is reminiscent of what constantly went on during the Black Panther era, and pretty much any other time Black People came together for a cause that threatened the status quo.
If there was ever a time that the People in communities across the U.S. needed to come together, it’s now. While images and videos of the Baltimore protesters’ exemplary model of unity continue to pour in by the hour, it is unfortunate that that spirit of solidarity has not spread throughout the rest of the country and penetrated the hearts of others. I truly wonder what the motive could have possibly been to lead these men to opening fire on a group of 300 people that were just leaving a funeral service. Many of whom were with their loved ones and simply wanted to pay respects to someone who had passed. Little did some of them know, they would have to start making plans to attend two more. It’s even more saddening to hear that one of the men that died in this senseless act of violence was killed in front of his son. For what? When will this vicious cycle end? Let this be a reminder that although the solidarity shown in places like Ferguson and Baltimore is a step in the right direction, it is something that must not be fleeting. We have to be as unrelenting in our struggle for unity amongst the People as the opposing forces are in their efforts to keep us divided.
I offer my condolences to all those affected by this tragedy.
Six people were shot — two fatally — Monday night during a drive-by shooting outside a Brooklyn church where funeral services were being held, police sources and witnesses said.
More than 300 people were leaving the service at Emmanuel Church of God on Flatbush Ave. near Foster Ave. at about 8:30 p.m. when a gunman fired up to 15 shots into the crowd from a silver SUV.
“It sounded like a war … boom, boom, boom,” said witness Carlo Stamand, 60, who owns the nearby Cafe Creole restaurant. “I ran. I went inside my business. After that, the police came.
Witness Angela Diggs, 50, was worshiping at another church nearby when the congregants’ prayers were drowned out by gunfire.
“We didn’t come out,” she said. “We just continued praying for whatever was happening out there. Praying that nobody died.”
Diggs’ prayers weren’t answered.
Word is starting to spread like wildfire across social media that the Nation of Islam has had a hand in forging a truce between long-time rival gangs the Bloods and the Crips in Baltimore. According to a recent report by CounterCurrentNews:
Reports among members indicate that members of the Nation of Islam organization brokered the truce, much the same as happened in Los Angeles two decades ago.
“I can say with honesty those brothers demonstrated they can be united for a common good,” Carlos Muhammad, a minister at Nation of Islam’s Mosque No. 6 said.
“At the rally, they made the call that they must be united on that day. It should be commended,” he continued.
“We can unite and stop killing one another, and the Bloods and the Crips can help rebuild their community,” Muhammad said in an interview with theThe Daily Beast.
A community organizer, DeRay McKesson, confirmed the ceasefire between the groups.
“The fight against police brutality has united people in many ways that we have not seen regularly, and that’s really powerful,” McKesson said.
“The reality is, police have been terrorizing black people as far back as we can remember. It will take all of us coming together to change a corrupt system,” he added.
Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake acknowledged the peace-brokering efforts of the Nation of Islam, singling them out specifically for helping to stop the violence in the community.
This is not the only information that has surfaced, however. An e-mail from the Baltimore Police Department that seems to be a response to this truce states that the alliance is a ‘credible threat’ to law enforcement agencies and they are told to take necessary precautions. The e-mail also states that the Black Guerilla Family has joined up with the Bloods & Crips, and various posts on social media claim GD’s are standing in solidarity as well. It appears these groups are not a threat when they are a divided and warring against each other, just when they unite and decide to take a stand against police brutality.