In one night of mayhem Katrice Gardner lost her home, her job — and nearly her life.
And when dawn broke Tuesday, the 30-year-old Baltimore woman said she couldn’t understand why the mob that battled the police all night firebombed her house and reduced the CVS where she worked as a manager to ashes.
“I was yelling at them, pleading at them not to burn my house,” Gardner, 30, said outside her boarded-up rowhouse. “They had set the houses around me on fire. They were throwing stuff into the house. They were throwing Molotov’s and very flammable stuff. All I could do was beg them not to burn my house.”
Gardner said she — like most African-Americans in Baltimore — is deeply upset about the death of Freddie Gray, allegedly at the hands of police.
But Gardner said she didn’t recognize the people who starting lobbing bricks at cops and looting businesses after Gray’s funeral on Monday.
“These guys aren’t from here, they go from place to place causing trouble,” she said. “This doesn’t accomplish anything. This is our neighborhood.”
Gardner, who is married, said she now has no place to live and no place to work.
“I can’t live in my house while it gets renovated and the place where I work got burned down,” she said. “I don’t have a home and a place to work. This is a lot of calamity.”
Tony Banks, 48, said the destruction makes him sad, but he understands why the young men in the West Baltimore section lashed out violently against the police.
“This isn’t just about Freddie Gray,” he said. “There have been a lot of Freddie Grays in this neighborhood. It’s been going on for years. You have to look past Freddie Gray. Past last week. You need to look back 10 years.”
Banks said many residents fear the six officers suspended after Gray died under suspicious circumstances on April 19 will never be charged with a crime.
“People feel these officers never get indicted,” he said. “The police do a lot and get away with it.”
Bishop Douglas Miles, of Koinonia Baptist Church, said West Baltimore has always had a complicated relationship with the city’s leaders.
“This part of the city is neglected,” he said. “Forty years of neglect. There are few after school programs for kids. They don’t know where to go. It’s a community under siege by the ills of society. We have high incarceration rates. High crime. High rates of addiction.”
No wonder, said Miles, people are fed up.
“We tell the mayor, just come here,” he said. “Just come listen to the people.
Source: NY Daily News