The Baltimore neighborhood of Sandtown is infamous for being the site of Freddie Gray’s 2015 death in police custody. Now, dozens of murals have popped up on building facades and in parks, depicting police violence, deaths in custody, activists, and heroes of the U.S. Civil Rights Movement.
His name was Matt and he was smaller than the men standing next to him. I approached him as he was tapping his empty Gatorade bottle against his shield. He was visibly nervous. I smiled and it took him a while to smile back. To his surprise I started up a conversation. He was very kind despite the circumstances. I kept walking up to him throughout the protest. Yes he was a good looking man but there was something about him that kept drawing me to him. I wanted to know his thoughts and what he enjoys doing when he’s not working. Dehumanizing them is giving them more power.