Freddie Gray’s Broken Neighborhood

As the aftershocks of Freddie Gray’s death at the hands of police officers continue to reverberate in Baltimore, the key questions that remain unanswered have to do with why Gray was pursued by police in the first place, and what caused the spinal…


Economically, Gray’s neighborhood and the adjacent Harlem Park were found to be a disaster zone, with an unemployment rate of one in five (nearly double that of Baltimore as a whole), almost a third of families living in poverty, and more than half of all households earning less than $25,000 a year. Abandoned lots and unsound housing conditions were exceedingly common, with almost a quarter of all the neighborhood’s buildings standing vacant (compared with 5 percent of buildings across all of Baltimore) and the rate of lead paint violations almost four times as high as it was citywide. (According to a lawsuit filed by the Gray family against their landlord, Gray and his two sisters were all found to have “damaging lead levels in their blood.”)…

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