In cities across America, African American men are on the run. In April 2015, 25-year-old Freddie Gray made eye contact with a police officer on the streets of Baltimore. He turned and ran, but he was chased and arrested for carrying a knife. Gray was loaded into a police van, where he sustained injuries that later killed him.
On this episode of Reveal, we team up with WYPR to explore the consequences for black men who flee from the police through two stories, both set in Baltimore.
Reporter Mary Wiltenburg opens with the story of Greg Butler, a young man who took part in protests in Baltimore after Gray’s death. He ran from the cops after cutting a hole in a fire hose with a pocketknife – a symbolic act, he thought. But since that moment, he’s dealt with the consequences, including federal charges filed against him in which he faced up to 25 years in prison.
We also hear from WYPR reporter Mary Rose Madden, who unpacks the case of another man who was killed while running from Baltimore police seven years before Freddie Gray. It raises questions about how courts handle claims of civil rights violations. But unlike Gray’s death, this one got no attention and barely a mention in local media at the time.
- More: The man behind the gas mask: Greg Butler’s story
- Read: Does running from police warrant suspicion?
- Explore: WYPR’s “On The Watch,” a special series about Baltimore’s police and its communities
Support for Reveal is provided by The Reva and David Logan Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and Mary and Steven Swig.
- True Game (Reveal show theme), "Camerado-Lightning" from n/a (Cut-Off Man Records)
- Drag Your Feet, "Pale Sketcher" from Seventh Heaven EP (Ghostly International)