New York City Protests in Solidarity with the Citizens of Baltimore After Maryland Police Murder Freddie Gray
This entry organizes a visual guide and overview for protests that occurred in New York City on April 29, 2015. Most images and text are drawn from various eyewitness accounts and cellphone photographs posted to Twitter in real-time. The information is chronologically ordered, with inclusion of explanatory text and links for further context.
The “dystopian dreams” mentioned in the title are coming true before our eyes. In terms of science fiction, this is a moment from which you may wish to begin your extrapolations. The images provide plenty of fodder for imagining a possible/probable future that begins now.
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8:44 PM – 29 Apr 2015
Police line up on the West Side Highway #NYC2Baltimore #shutitdownNYC
8:46 PM – 29 Apr 2015
NYPD attacked a PEACEFUL protestor. This whole thing was peaceful until they started barricading us. #nyc2baltimore
9:16 PM – 29 Apr 2015
2000 having standoff with police on Spring and West Side Hwy. Arrests happening. #NYC2BALTIMORE
9:30 PM – 29 Apr 2015
#NYPD has undercovers in the protests. be careful #NYC2Baltimore
9:39 PM – 29 Apr 2015
Cops are out for blood, pushing people in the street and then arresting them for being in the street? #NYCStandsWithBaltimore #NYC2Baltimore
9:39 PM – 29 Apr 2015
citizens are not terrorists (so difficult to get these abstractions across to the NYPD) #nyc2baltimore #FreddieGray
Two marches found each other in Times Square #NYC2Baltimore #NYCRiseUp #Baltimore
Groups of protestors converge on Times Square.
Real-time Disinformation Campaign
At around 9:50pm, a strange counter-narrative sprung up among some Twitter users. Police murder victim Freddie Gray was “suicidal” and was “trying to hurt himself” in the back of the police van, where he sustained injuries including a crushed trachea and nearly transected spinal cord.
This was apparently corroborated by a “fellow prisoner” in the back of the van. This “prisoner” could not see Freddie Gray, and could not be reached by journalists to confirm the comments — comments reported by police to the press on his behalf.
The counter-narrative also claimed that Freddie Gray’s nearly-severed spinal cord was the result of a previous injury, exacerbated as part of a “freak accident” while being arrested by police. This is also completely false according to all known evidence.
9:53 PM – 29 Apr 2015
New story now is that #FreddieGray broke his own back. Yep, just like the men who shot themselves in the head while cuffed. #NYC2Baltimore
10:46 PM – 29 Apr 2015
Amazing, @jemillerwbal blew the WaPo rumor up—wait for it—six days ago, w/BPD confirmation. #BaltimoreUprising
In reference to:
8:41 PM – 23 Apr 2015
BPD Comm Anthony Batts says 2nd prisoner in van with Freddie Gray reports no erratic driving by van driver and Gray mostly quiet
Note the similarity in police and media disinformation tactics as you’ll see regarding the “credible gang threat against police” further down in this entry. The problem isn’t “the media”; the problem is a sensationalistic mass media (for example, CNN) that distorts facts and panders to hysteria in order to amass more eyeballs for their advertising demographics.
10:23 PM – 29 Apr 2015
Another showdown at 42nd and 8th #nyc2baltimore #BaltimoreUprising
10:52 PM – 29 Apr 2015
TONS of NYPD inexplicably a block away from largest group, guarding a Chase bank. #BaltimoreUprising NYC.
Meanwhile, Back in Baltimore…
10:11 PM – 29 Apr 2015
This is a failed justice system in action. #BaltimoreUprising
11:16 PM – 29 Apr 2015
Then VS Now.
Despite the hype about this as a “racial” issue, the Freddie Gray murder is also a question of police tactics against citizens generally. Many of those who protested in New York were not black, and they were treated with excessive force according to firsthand accounts. Likewise, the repeated police attempts at media disinformation speak volumes about the nature of a dystopian society. If you can convince the people to turn against each other, they will be too distracted to focus on a corrupt, manipulative, coercive system.
Where will society go from here? Maybe our best science fiction can give us a few clues, and perhaps, inspire us toward better alternatives.