On April 12, 2015, Freddie Gray, a 25 year-old African American resident of Baltimore, MD, was arrested and injured while in police custody; he died a week later due to a severed spine. The city of Baltimore engaged in protests almost immediately and on the day of Freddie Gray’s funeral, a part of the protest erupted into some violent incidents, including fires, looting and police officers being injured. Gray’s death was ruled a homicide and on May 1, Baltimore State Attorney Marilyn Mosby announced that all six Baltimore police officers involved in the arrest of Freddie Gray were arrested and charged. Many attribute the speed with which the charges were filed to the high profile and media attention of the protests and the fact that Marilyn Mosby has articulated her commitment to accountability in cases such as these.
This lesson provides an opportunity for high school students to discuss the case of Freddie Gray’s death and the protests that took place in Baltimore and elsewhere. In the lesson, students will learn more about the case, read and analyze several op-eds about it and use what they learned to write their own argumentative essays with a specific point of view and evidence to support their positions.