Baltimore, Md. – In a telling indictment of the lack of justice in the U.S. justice system, 18-year-old Allen Bullock, who has no adult criminal record, faces the potential of life in prison. Under Maryland State Law, rioting carries a maximum penalty of life in prison. Meanwhile, the six officers charged in the death of Freddie face maximum sentences ranging from 20 to 60 years.
Bullock faces charges stemming from a single incident, as seen in an almost iconic photo smashing in a police car with a traffic cone. He turned himself in after being encouraged by his parents, according to The Guardian.
In addition to facing shorter sentences for far more serious crimes, the officers were also given bonds ranging from $250,000-$350,000 while Bullock’s bond was set at $500,000.
All six of the officers have posted bond and been released, while Bullock remains locked up; unable to afford the half a million dollar bond.
It seems patently absurd that a teenager is facing the potential of far more prison time for eight misdemeanor charges than any of the police officers, charged with assault, manslaughter, and second-degree murder.
What message does this send our children?
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The state, as evidenced by the respective potential penalties, is telling us that Freddie Gray’s life is worth less than that of some windows on a cop car.
Does smashing a police cruiser’s windows with a traffic cone truly deserve a greater penalty than taking a young man’s life?
This is why you see people taking to the streets across the U.S. and standing in solidarity with the Baltimore protesters, as Americans are tired of being abused and having their rights violated by law enforcement.
Americans are fed up with being victimized by those who have been given great power by the state. All too often, those same individuals then use that power to cover for one another, refusing to cross the thin blue line, denying accountability, while systematically laying blame on those they victimize.
While it is heartening to see the indictments of these six Baltimore cops, the double standard is extremely apparent, as highlighted by the disparity in bond and penalty in the cases mentioned above.
Conversely to our current paradigm, those that wield great power and have been granted the use of force by the state, should be held to a much higher standard. And face far greater penalties when violating the law than that of your average citizen.
These officers face less time for murdering a man, than what a teen faces for eight misdemeanors; something is seriously wrong with our system of justice if you can even call it that anymore.
Please share this story if you think Freddie Gray’s life was most certainly worth more than some windows on a police cruiser!!
Jay Syrmopoulos is an investigative journalist, freethinker, researcher, and ardent opponent of authoritarianism. He is currently a graduate student at University of Denver pursuing a masters in Global Affairs. Jay's work has previously been published on BenSwann.com and WeAreChange.org. You can follow him on Twitter @sirmetropolis, on Facebook at Sir Metropolis and now on tsu.