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Based on new evidence and deep reporting, the riveting truth about a case that has become a touchstone in the struggle for racial justice and Black lives.
They Killed Freddie Gray exposes a conspiracy among Baltimore leaders to cover up what actually happened to Freddie Gray, who was fatally injured in police custody in April 2015. After Gray’s death, Baltimore became ground zero for Black Lives Matter and racial justice protests that exploded across the country. State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby became a hero when she charged six officers in Gray’s death, and the trials of the officers generated national headlines for two years.
Yet the cause of Gray’s death has remained a mystery. A viral video showed an officer leaning on Gray’s back while he cried out in pain. But the autopsy concluded he was fatally injured later that morning while the van was in motion—during a multi-stop “rough ride”—from sudden impact to his head. None of the officers were convicted of any crimes based on this theory.
They Killed Freddie Gray solves the mystery of Gray’s death by uncovering new evidence of how he was killed by police and how his cause of death was covered up. In coordination with a documentary film now being produced, this book revisits a pivotal moment in US criminal justice history, providing new insight into what happened, the historical structures of power that allowed it to happen, and the personalities and dynamics involved—a story never told by the mainstream media. It includes a detailed map with annotations by the author, photographs, and a foreword by Rabia Chaudry.
About the Author
Justine Barron is an investigative journalist whose work focuses on crime, corruption, and media criticism, with a special emphasis on Baltimore. She is also an acclaimed storyteller and four-time winner of the Moth storytelling competition. Her work has appeared in the Appeal, Rolling Stone, Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, the Real News, Rolling Stone, Jewish Journal, NPR-WLRN, Miami Herald, and numerous local independent outlets in Baltimore. In 2017, she co-investigated and co-hosted Undisclosed: The Killing of Freddie Gray. Justine grew up in Maryland and attended Baltimore’s Johns Hopkins University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in English. She holds a master’s degree in English Literature from Duke University. She now lives in Miami, Florida.
“An impassioned account of the circumstances behind 25-year-old Freddie Gray’s death while in the custody of Baltimore police in 2015. . . . Barron uncovers suppressed evidence, such as video recordings and witness testimony, that she asserts would have made convictions more likely if it had been shown to the public or at the trials. Barron’s writing is powered by outrage over Gray’s death and the failure to hold anyone accountable. Readers will be troubled.”—Publishers Weekly
"Required reading for anyone who thinks policing will be fixed or justice achieved by civilian review boards, progressive prosecutors, blue-ribbon panels, or high-paid 'police reformers.' Barron makes clear that abusive policing is business as usual for Baltimore's political class."—Alex Vitale, author of The End of Policing
"They Killed Freddie Gray is a meticulous and engrossing account of Freddie Gray's arrest and death in custody of the Baltimore Police Department. Barron provides a multifaceted analysis of the investigative, prosecutorial, and journalistic shortcomings that characterized the aftermath of Gray's arrest. Unearthing new details, Barron reveals the cover-up that has kept the full story from us until now. 'No Justice, No Peace' was the rallying cry on Baltimore's streets soon after Gray's death. This book explains why and how justice was not done, and why the city, and the country, should still feel no peace."—Stuart Schrader, author of Badges Without Borders: How Global Counterinsurgency Transformed American Policing
"If there is to be a seminal text investigating the truth about the killing of Gray and the ensuing cover-up, this book will be it."—Rabia Chaudry, author of Adnan's Story and Fatty Fatty, Boom Boom