Baltimore riots: The story behind the picture of a young boy handing water to police officers

The image is being held as a symbol of hope in a crisis-hit community

Heather Saul
Wednesday 29 April 2015 08:21
Comments
A young boy hands out water to police in Baltimore (Facebook: Bishop M Cromartie)
A young boy hands out water to police in Baltimore (Facebook: Bishop M Cromartie)

A picture which emerged from the aftermath of the Baltimore riots is being heralded as a symbol of hope amid the anger and violence sparked by the death of another black man while he was being held in police custody.

Freddie Gray was arrested on 12 April and died a week later of a spinal injury he allegedly sustained either while being arrested or while being transported in the police van.

The 25-year-old’s funeral on Monday was followed by riots and looting in the Sandtown-Winchester neighbourhood he grew up in, which spread across the city.

A photograph published by a Baltimore resident during a post-riot clean-up operation shows a young child offering water to police officers dressed in full riot gear lining the streets.

One of many pictures that I captured today in the midst of helping clean up the city and it speaks VOLUMES #baltimore

Posted by Bishop M Cromartie on Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Bishop Cromartie, a senior pastor at Prophetic Deliverance Ministries who was also assisting in the clean-up, posted the image on Facebook, writing: “One of many pictures that I captured today in the midst of helping clean up the city and it speaks volumes.”

He told Bustle the picture was captured as “a way to show that Baltimore is not as bad and that the people who riot are just a handful, that clearly you have, statewide, people who actually care".

Mr Cromartie said the boy was with his family and had tried on numerous occasions to get the attention of police.

"He actually was the only one handing out water. What was so intriguing was he was doing it on his own. It showed that he had a mind of his own that, despite everything that was going on, that he still wanted to make sure the police were okay and he may be realizing that someday he’s going to need the police."

Mr Cromartie said the policeman did not accept the water.

The striking image echoes one of a tearful young demonstrator hugging a police officer during a protest against a grand jury’s decision not to charge white officer Darren Wilsonfor killing unarmed black teen Michael Brown last year.

Thousands of police officers and National Guardsmen were drafted in overnight to prevent a repeat of the violence that rocked the city on Monday evening.

It was the first time since the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968 that the National Guard was called out in Baltimore to dispel unrest, according to the Associated Press.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in