When 25 year old Freddie Gray was arrested in Baltimore on April 22, 2015, no one expected that he would be dead a week later in prison from spinal injuries allegedly sustained during his arrest or while being transported to prison in a police van.
His death and subsequent burial led to an uproar of riots and looting in the Sandtown-Winchester neighbourhood he grew up in which spread through Baltimore.
Despite the severe anger of the people in what has become known as the Baltimore riots, a picture of a young boy sharing bottled water for riot police officers dressed in full riot riot gear during the post riot clean up has gone viral.
— Corey Brooks (@CoreyBBrooks) April 28, 2015
The picture, which was reportedly published on Facebook by a resident of Baltimore, Bishop A. Cromartie, senior pastor at Prophetic Deliverance Ministries with the caption, “One of the many pictures I captured today in the midst of clean up and it speaks volumes” has been termed a symbol of hope amid the anger and violence sparked by the death of another black man while he was being held in police custody. The Bishop told Bustle that the picture was “a way to show that Baltimore is not as bad and that the people who riot are just a handful, that clearly you have, statewide, people who actually care”.
He also said the boy had tried severally to get the attention of the police; “He actually was the only one handing out water. What was so intriguing was he was doing it on his own. It showed that he had a mind of his own that, despite everything that was going on, that he still wanted to make sure the police were okay and he may be realizing that someday he’s going to need the police” He went on to say that the police did not accept the water.
This photo stirs the same feelings and reactions with that of a tearful young demonstrator hugging a police officer last year during a demonstration to protest the Jury’s decision not to prosecute a white police officer Darren Wilson, for the killing of an unarmed black teenager, Micheal Brown.