The Slatest

Cops Charged in Freddie Gray’s Death Receive Lower Bails Than Teen Rioter

Protesters break the window of a police car during a demonstration in Baltimore, Maryland, on April 25, 2015, against the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody.  

Photo by Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images

When Baltimore’s chief prosecutor charged one police officer with murder and five others with separate crimes related to the death of Freddie Gray, many cheered the decision. But the injustice of the justice system quickly became evident after they were arrested and received lower bails than a Baltimore teenager who turned himself in after he was photographed smashing a police car window with a traffic cone. Allen Bullock, 18, voluntarily turned himself into authorities at the urging of his parents and was held on $500,000 bail, according to the Guardian. The accused officers, meanwhile, all received bails of between $250,000 and $350,000, according to the Baltimore Sun.

All six police officers charged in the death were quickly released Friday night after posting bail. Bullock, meanwhile, remains in jail, and his parents told the Guardian the amount was completely out of reach for them. “It is just so much money,” Bullock’s mother, Bobbi Smallwood, said. “Who could afford to pay that?” His stepfather, Maurice Hawkins, who was allegedly the one who pushed Bullock to turn himself in said the police “are making an example of him and it is not right.”

The high bail amounts for those arrested while protesting is just one of the reasons why tensions between the community and police officers are likely to continue. “I think that that goes to continuing strained police-community relations,” F. Michael Higginbotham, a law professor at the University of Baltimore, told local NBC affiliate WBAL. “We need to take a step back and say, OK, how do we go forward from here? What is the way to improve police-community relations, not exacerbate it?” he said. “I think these high bail amounts will exacerbate it.”

Read more of Slate’s coverage of Freddie Gray’s death.