UMD Carey School of Law Introduces Freddie Gray Course
The death of Freddie Gray at the hands of Baltimore police earlier this year sparked protests throughout the state of Maryland and nationwide. In light of Gray’s death, as well as the larger national conversation about the treatment of black citizens at the hands of police officers, the University of Maryland Carey School of Law, which is located in Baltimore, designed a class to address some of the legal questions that are crucial to that conversation.
The course is entitled “Freddie Gray’s Baltimore: Past, Present, and Moving Forward” and will be open to both students at the law school as well as students in the University of Maryland School of Social Work. The law school described the inspiration for the class, stating:
The idea for this course emanates from the recent disturbances in Baltimore arising from Freddie Gray’s arrest and his resulting death. These events have highlighted and/or uncovered serious on-going social and financial dislocations within the City. The course will examine the recent unrest itself and then examine the causes of, and possible solutions to, those dislocations, including an examination of problems in policing; criminal justice; housing; health care; education; poverty; and community development and joblessness.
As Professor Michael Greenberger explained to the class on its first day: “This was a problem that predated Freddie Gray. Freddie Gray is the most solid evidence.”
According to Greenberger, the class has 90 students, and will rely in part on the current cases against the police officers that were charged in relation to Gray’s death. Given the fact that the cases are ongoing, the students will be able to watch them as they develop, and learn from different visiting lecturers who will be able to share their takes. Additionally, each week will address another topic related to the social justice aspects of the Freddie Gray case.
Yvette Pappoe, one of the students in the class, explained her motivation for taking the class to a local news station, saying:
We’ll be able to talk about it in a legal perspective and also from a human perspective. We have a way to loosen up and talk about the real issues because it’s a really sensitive time and sensitive topic
Pappoe is right–many of the aspects of Freddie Gray’s death, and the other crucial topics that the class will examine are real issues that will require smart legal minds to be solved. By delving into these topics, UMD Law is doing its students, and hopefully its community, a service.