When Freddie Gray was arrested for possessing an “illegal knife” in April 2015, he was treated roughly as police loaded him into a vehicle. By the end of his trip in the police van, Gray was in a coma he would never recover from. In the wake of a long history of police abuse in Baltimore, this killing led to a week of protests and then five days—described alternately as a riot or an uprising—that set the entire city on edge, and caught the nation’s attention.
Now, Wes Moore—along with journalist Erica Green—tells the story of the Baltimore uprising. Through both his own observations, and through the eyes of other Baltimoreans: Partee, a conflicted black captain of the Baltimore Police Department; Jenny, a young white public defender who’s drawn into the violent center of the uprising herself; Tawanda, a young black woman who’d spent a lonely year protesting the killing of her own brother by police; and John Angelos, scion of the city’s most powerful family and owner of the Baltimore Orioles, who has to make choices of conscience he’d never before confronted. Each shifting point of view contributes to an engrossing, cacophonous account of one of the most consequential moments in our recent history—but also an essential cri de coeur about the deeper causes of the violence and the small seeds of hope planted in its aftermath.