BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Protests against police brutality have been occurring around the country for weeks, but five years ago, it was the unrest in Baltimore after Freddie Gray’s death that was making headlines.
The days after Gray’s death are the focus of a new book by author and CEO of the poverty-fighting Robin Hood Foundation Wes Moore and journalist and co-author Erica Green. “Five Days” explores the difficult chapter in the city’s history through the eyes of eight different Baltimoreans.
Each one, Moore said, tells an important story, not just about that moment but what the city can learn from it.
“I know the heartache of Baltimore,” Moore said. “This is my hometown.”
Moore was at Freddie Gray’s funeral when outrage over his death exploded onto the streets. In his new book, readers re-live the five fateful days after the funeral through the firsthand accounts of those who lived through them.
“If there’s one thing we know about Baltimore, is it’s a city full of opinions and characters,” he said. “I started hearing that from all different sides and then we really wanted to dissect it and eventually broke it down into these eight voices, these eight disparate characters from around the city.”
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Last weekend, the Enoch Pratt Library brought most of those voices together — attorney Billy Murphy, a former police major, a public defender, the sister of a victim and Greg Butler, who infamously cut a fire hose aimed at a burning CVS — to talk about the book.
Butler later apologized in court, served supervised release, is paying restitution and is now a dean and a basketball coach at a Baltimore charter school.
“What Greg wanted more than not just in that moment but in his life was simply to be seen, to be heard,” Moore said.
When asked why Baltimoreans should read his book, Moore said it’s a larger story than just Baltimore.
“It’s our story,” he said. “It’s our story and it tells a bigger story. It tells a story of hope and disillusionment. It tells the story of a beautiful future and also a frustrating reality.”
It also includes a wide range of voices, he said.
“I can guarantee you there is someone, no matter who you are in Baltimore, there is someone in that book that will deeply resonate with you and there is also someone in that book who you will deeply disagree with,” he said. “But that’s us.