http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/04/28/freddie-gray-baltimore-history_n_7161962.html

What’s Happening In Baltimore Didn’t Just Start With Freddie Gray

The gradual attrition of jobs that paid a decent wage rendered Baltimore particularly vulnerable to the drug trade, which has become almost synonymous with the city thanks to media depictions like HBO’s “The Wire.” Starting in the late 1970s, drug kingpins began recruiting children and teenagers — who, if caught, could usually escape the criminal justice system more easily and more cheaply than adults — to aid with the day-to-day business of selling illicit substances. For many young people, the drug trade offered much more lucrative possibilities than the weak local economy.

Compounding all these issues has been the subprime crisis of the past several years. Predatory lenders allegedly targeted black communities in Baltimore, steering people into untenable, high-interest mortgages that would eventually wipe out their wealth and leave the city riddled with foreclosed and vacant homes…

The neighborhood is also plagued by a “rate of lead paint violations almost four times as high as it was citywide,” according to Slate. Lead paint is linked to a host of health problems and is highly correlated with increased levels of violent crime…

Between 2011 and September 2014, the city of Baltimore shelled out $5.7 million to cover police brutality lawsuits, according to a Baltimore Sun investigation…

“Where was the peace when we were getting shot? Where’s the peace when we were getting laid out? Where is the peace when we are in the back of ambulances? Where is the peace then?” Thomas said. “They don’t want to call for peace then. But you know when people really want peace? When the white people have to get out of bed, when cops have to wear riot gear, when the cops start talking about, oh we got broken arms. Then they want peace.”

“Peace?” Thomas went on. “It’s too late for peace.”

(Photo taken today.)

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