Five facts behind Baltimore's protests

Protests have rocked the streets of Baltimore, Maryland, after African-American man Freddie Gray died in police custody.

Gray was stopped by police while chatting with a friend in broad daylight. After being arrested Gray's spinal cord was broken, and after being in a coma he later died. Baltimore City's Police Department admitted responsibility, saying they mishandled Gray's injury and should have called paramedics earlier.

On May 1, authorities announced that six police officers would face a range of charges, including manslaughter and homicide, over Gray's death. But the anger Gray's death has sparked is related to the wider police brutality in Maryland where Black people have been especially targeted by police.

Below are five key facts from the American Council of Civil Liberties that give insight into the anger of Baltimore's citizens.

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1: In Baltimore City alone, 31 people died in police encounters between 2010 and last year. In the whole state of Maryland, 109 people were killed by the police in that period.

2: In Maryland, 75 people who died were Black, accounting for 69% of the total, despite only a third of Maryland's citizens being Black.

3: Police officers were criminally charged in only two cases out of the 109 incidents.

4: There are more than 140 state and local law enforcement agencies in Maryland, but no official tracking of how frequently or under what circumstances they are involved in the loss of civilian lives.

5: Out of the total, 41 of the people who died showed signs of a medical or mental health issue, disability, substance use or similar issue.

[Reprinted from TeleSUR English.]

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