Over the past few days, there have been many people who were quick to jump on any story that came out that looked like it would prove that Baltimore police officers had nothing to do with the death of Freddie Gray. It wasn’t really until after peaceful protests were overshadowed by violence and incidents involving looting that the media finally began to pay attention to the story.
Along with the problem of the media having a field day with ratings covering every rock thrown or every CVS that got trashed, there were also the folks who were unwavering in their support for the police officers who have now been charged with Freddie Gray’s murder.
Then there were the racist trolls, slithering out from under their rocks over at 8chan to use the hashtag #BaltimoreLootCrew on social media to make it look as if black residents of Baltimore were having a field day looting, as Gawker reports.
Internet racists have long enjoyed using out-of-context and wholly unrelated photos to demonize black people during emergency conditions—the pastime dates back to at least to Hurricane Katrina. But as Motherboard points out, Twitter has made it easier than ever to quickly and efficiently spread toxic bigotry to the credulous and uninformed.
If you look at the #BaltimoreLootCrew hashtag, you’ll see what looks like Baltimore residents—all black—bragging about things they’ve stolen during this week’s civil unrest. But none of these photos are real. Instead, it’s the work of 8chan-affiliated white supremacists, bubbling over the sort of message board fecal matter that would’ve been confined to /b/ in the era before social media. Those were the days! Now, malicious falsehoods have been democratized. (Source)
The slightly lesser forms of filth also known as the ignorant and hateful people who leave comments on my local news station’s Facebook page were quick to write off the peaceful protests because of these fake photos and the asinine actions of people who did things like burn buildings or police cars. They were also happy to say things like Freddie Gray deserved to die, simply for running from the police or that we shouldn’t care about his death, because all of those “thugs” up in Baltimore obviously didn’t care about him either – or somehow that the fact he had a criminal record made his death justifiable. The fact that Baltimore has a serious problem with drugs and poverty? Oh well, the residents must deserve it because the only reason they aren’t able to live in the suburbs and make a lot of money is because they’re obviously lazy. Sadly, that’s how the logic of a lot of keyboard warriors work, even though many of them here in Louisiana live in similar desperate poverty.
Here’s a few of the printable comments I lifted from the comments section at KATC after it was announced that the officers who arrested Freddie Gray would be charged. I’ve left them intact, including the horrible grammar and unabashed racism.
If the rest of people would rise up off their pussy little high horses, and declare civil war, we’d win!
Thats total bull. I hope a jury can see how bogus these charges are. Monkey got what monkey deserved.
No its the fact that THOSE ppl kill each other everyday and no one bats an eye. But let a white person kill one of them and all hell breaks loss. Last time i checked destroying private property is a crime, looting is a crime, but its ok because they are “protesting”. They want change yet ever city this happens in is run by demorats or is mostly black poor areas. If they want change so bad maybe they shouldnt destroy property and loot. MLK never insisted on violence.
So now we’ve taught them that looting & rioting works. Great…
Sure, there were people who saw the charged atmosphere as a chance to cause some mayhem and steal some booze or cigars. However, the difference between the death of Freddie Gray in Baltimore and the death of Walter Scott in Charleston, SC is that in Charleston, the city was proactive and got out in front of the story before it could devolve into civil unrest. Charleston showed that they cared and didn’t act as if the police were above the law, something Baltimore failed to do.
If Baltimore or Ferguson had handled their cases like Charleston had, would there have been the unrest that we saw this past week? It’s impossible to know for sure, but it isn’t an unreasonable request to ask for law enforcement to give answers as soon as possible instead of appearing to hide the evidence. The people who dismiss the anger of the residents of Baltimore and blindly rush to judgement only make things worse, not better. They predicted that when the facts came out, the officers would be cleared but now that they’ll be charged, they still want to excuse this horrific police misconduct because Freddie Gray was “just another criminal thug”? It’s one thing to support law enforcement but it’s an entirely different thing to defend them when wrongdoing occurs, and then back it up with racism and blaming a person who is now dead. No wonder the people of Baltimore don’t trust the police, or the media.
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