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Justine Barron and Friends

August 22, 2023 @ 9:00 pm

Investigative journalist Justine Barron is joined by Rabia Chaudry, Alex Vitale, and Sierria Warren (Moderated by  Kim Brown) discussing the newly published book

They Killed Freddie Gray: The Anatomy of a Police Brutality Cover-Up Hardcover
by Justine Barron, forward by Rabia Chaudry
published by Arcade Books

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.

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, Real News, 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. In 2021, she was honored with a Best of Baltimore Award for her work by Baltimore Magazine. 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.

Kim Brown has been covering national and international politics for over 10 years and has been a sought-after voice on issues on race and culture. She is the host of the Real News show Stir Crazy.

Rabia Chaudry is an attorney, advocate, and author of the New York Times bestselling Adnan’s Story and the critically acclaimed Fatty Fatty Boom Boom: A Memoir of Food, Fat, and Family. Rabia is the executive producer of the HBO documentary series The Case Against AdnanSyed and also coproducer and host of the podcasts Undisclosed, Rabia and Ellyn Solve the Case, Nighty Night,The Hidden Djinn, and The 45th. Rabia is a 2021 Aspen Institute/ADL Civil Society Fellow and was previously a 2016 Aspen Ideas Scholar and on the Vanguard Board at the Aspen Institute. She is the recipient of the Truman National Security Project’s 2015 Harry S. Truman Award for Communications & Media Influence, is a 2015 Carnegie Corporation Great Immigrant, and is the recipient of the 2015 Healing & Hope award by the Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth. Rabia received her Juris Doctorate from the George Mason School of Law.

Alex S. Vitale is a professor of sociology at Brooklyn College. He is also the coordinator of the Policing and Social Justice Project at Brooklyn College. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, The Nation, The Appeal, USA Today, Vice News, and other media outlets.

Sierria Warren is a mother, activist, podcaster, and comedian. She witnessed the police van’s stop at Mount and Baker streets during Freddie Gray’s fatal encounter with Baltimore City police.

Critical Praise for They Killed Freddie Gray

“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

Made possible by support from the City Lights Foundation. To learn more visit: https://citylights.com/foundation/



August 22, 2023
9:00 pm


City Lights Bookstore
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