The infamous Baltimore city riots occurred after the mysterious death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year old African American from Baltimore who was arrested the morning of April 12, 2015. At approximately 8:40 AM, three city police officers spotted Gray while on bike patrol near the corner of North Avenue and Mount Street in West Baltimore. Gray supposedly ran away when he saw the police and in response, the officers chased and handcuffed Mr. Gray. The officers found a folding knife (allegedly legal under Maryland law) on Mr. Gray and charged him with illegal possession of a switchblade. While in police custody and in transit to Baltimore Central Booking and Intake Center, Mr. Gray suffered a spinal cord injury. Upon arrival to the police station nearly an hour after his arrest, Mr. Gray was found unresponsive and not breathing. Gray was rushed to the University of Maryland's Shock Trauma Center where he died a week later.1 (Link to New York Times timeline of arrest and death of Freddie Gray)

 Freddie Gray's death led to wide scale riots across the city of Baltimore with protests about social inequality and racism.2 Buildings and cars were set on fire, damaging nearly 400 businesses and injuring approximately 160 police officers.3 The incident of Freddie Gray and the aftermath of the riots went viral on social media and in the mainstream news. The Baltimore riots cost an estimated $9 million in damages.4 

Learning Objectives

After successfully completing this module, students will be able to:

  1. Discuss cross-sectoral leadership in the wake of a crisis
  2. Identify the public health needs that an unexpected crisis presents
  3. Identify the limits of formal planning and preparing in an emergent crisis