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Statement from Baltimore United for Change

Baltimore United for Change, a broad coalition of community groups, has released the following statement in response to [the April 27] events:

"It has been 15 days since Freddie Gray was stuffed into a Baltimore Police Department van and no officer, elected official or agency has taken any responsibility for his subsequent death or the policies that allow it to stand.

Therefore, we continue to witness the further erosion of the already broken relationship between Black communities and law enforcement.

The truth is that our region's elected officials have not seen it as politically useful to act on the long-standing issues of police violence in Black communities. What we are witnessing today is the crossing of a tipping point by communities that have remained unheard for far too long.

The Baltimore Police Department is employing aggressive and heavy-handed tactics on Black youth who have not accepted the platitudes or spin being offered from our region's leaders.

The same Baltimore Police Department skirting responsibility for the death of Freddie Gray is now trying to sell our city a narrative where gangs have issued a "unified threat" against police officers. The NYPD tried that tactic in December and it remains unproven. What we have seen is an unprecedented truce between rival gangs which is in the best interest of our communities. For us, the greatest threat is from law enforcement.

Stoking the flames of fear won't get our city out of this. More explanations about what isn't possible will not get our city out of this. Increasing militarized crackdowns will only serve to further diminish Baltimore's hope of meeting the challenge of eradicating police violence.

Our region's leaders must take decisive action to end Baltimore's dangerous addiction to broken law enforcement policies that ruin communities, tear apart families and cost lives."

Baltimore United for Change is a broad coalition of groups seeking justice for Freddie Gray and an end to police violence.

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