BALTIMORE (WJZ ) — The death of Freddie Gray, the unrest and upcoming trials have impacted Baltimore like few other stories this year.
WJZ Investigator Mike Hellgren has a conversation with the reverend who worked to help Gray in his final months alive; his candid views on justice, and what’s ahead.
Reverend Keith Bailey considered himself a father figure to Freddie Gray, and he reflected on the tumultuous eight months since Gray’s death.
Pastor Bailey says every day he thinks about Freddie Gray, what happened inside the police van and why the case sparked such outrage in Baltimore and across the country.
“The people are fed up on the system and how it’s run,” Bailey said. “And I’m praying that the truth will come out. And somewhere down the line, someone has to come up to the plate.”
Gray built a relationship with the reverend — showing up at his church on Fulton Avenue for court-ordered community service at the food pantry, just four blocks from where he was arrested on April 12 and placed in that police wagon.
“Working with him for two years, he wasn’t a fighter, and it upset me with the rioting because Freddie wasn’t a person who’d fight and go around and do destruction,” he said.
Rev. Bailey said he also thinks about how this has impacted the officers’ lives.
He heads the community association — a neighborhood where many wonder what’s next.
“The questions they come and ask me every day are ‘Reverend Bailey, are we going to make it through this?,'” he said. “It’s just like he was a child to me — of my own– and that affects me. Justice has to be won some kind of way.”
The next trial for van driver Officer Caesar Goodson, Jr. is set to begin in less than two weeks.
Bailey says Gray wanted a job, but, like a number of the young men the pastor mentors, he faced an uphill battle because of his criminal record.