Bioethics Blogs

A Case for Viewing The Baltimore Protests as a Bioethics Issue

by Keisha Ray, Ph.D.

Freddie Gray’s Death
On April 12, 2015, Freddie Gray, a twenty-five year old black man was arrested and placed in a police van in Baltimore, Maryland for carrying a switchblade (Baltimore State Attorney, Marilyn Mosby later announced that Gray was legally carrying a knife). Perhaps one of the more troubling aspects of Gray’s fateful police van ride was that officers reportedly observed Gray’s unresponsive body on the floor of the police van but still did not take him to see a medic.

By the time Gray reached the Western District Police Station, according to District Attorney Mosby, he was no longer breathing and a medic was called. The medic determined that Gray was in cardiac arrest and severely injured. Gray was then taken to a University of Maryland medical facility. A week later, on April 19, 2015, Gray died, the result of a spinal injury he sustained while in police custody.

The Protests
Gray’s death spurred protests in Baltimore and in other major cities such as Philadelphia, Cincinnati, New York, Boston, Minneapolis, and Washington D.C. The protests spanned several days and still ongoing. When six cops associated with Gray’s death were charged with various crimes, more protests occurred across major cities. However, the events that spurred people across America to take to the streets with bullhorns, signs, tears in their eyes, and frustration in their hearts was not just the death of Freddie Gray.

The protests in Baltimore, and in other major U.S. cities are a response to individuals, particularly black individuals being fed up; Freddie Gray was just the heat that forced frustrations to boil over.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.