A 44-year-old mother might seem an unusual visitor on the drug corners of Baltimore, but Erricka Bridgeford has shown up for weeks to make her pitch for peace.
Forget your grudges for one weekend, she urges the young men she finds. Help bring a 72-hour truce to a city besieged by gun violence.
“It’s a citywide call,” she tells them, “but I’m talking to you.”
Bridgeford and other neighborhood leaders are drumming up support for a three-day ceasefire the first weekend of August to quell Baltimore’s violence. She admits that such peace is a tall order for a city that’s seen 188 killings this year.
Organizers aim to stop the shooting from Friday, Aug. 4, through Sunday, Aug. 6, with a unified and blunt message: “Nobody kill anybody.”
2015 BALTIMORE PROTEST | BALTIMORE, MD
On April 12, 2015, Baltimore Police Department officers arrested Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old African American resident of Baltimore, Maryland. Gray sustained injuries to his neck and spine while in transport in a police vehicle. On April 18, 2015, after Gray’s subsequent coma, the residents of Baltimore rioted in front of the Western district police station. Gray died the following day, April 19, 2015, a week after the arrest.
Further riots were organized after Gray’s death became public knowledge, amid the police department’s continuing inability to adequately or consistently explain the events following the arrest and the injuries. Spontaneous riots started after the funeral service, although several included violent elements. Civil unrest continued with at least twenty police officers injured, at least 250 people arrested, 285 to 350 businesses damaged, 150 vehicle fires, 60 structure fires, 27 drugstores looted, thousands of police and Maryland National Guard troops deployed, and with a state of emergency declared in the city limits of Baltimore. The state of emergency was lifted on May 6.
On May 1, 2015, Gray’s death was ruled by the medical examiner to be a homicide. Six officers were charged with various offenses, including second-degree murder, in connection with Gray’s death. Three officers were subsequently acquitted; in July 2016, following the acquittals, Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby dropped charges against the remaining three officers. (Wikipedia).