Thousands of protesters took to the streets today to demand answers in the case of Freddie Gray, the largest rally since the 25-year-old black man died April 19 after suffering a spinal injury while in police custody. Signs in hand, with slogans such as "Jail Killer Police!" and "Unite Here!," demonstrators filled two city blocks and marched 2 miles to City Hall, where the crowd overtook the grassy plaza adjacent from the building. Residents young and old, from Baltimore and beyond, voiced their anger at how the department and the city's officials are handling the investigation into Gray's death. At one point, the crowd paused for a moment of silence in front of Shock Trauma, the hospital where Gray died.
The marchers then migrated to Camden Yards, where the Baltimore Orioles are scheduled to play the Boston Red Sox tonight. At a downtown intersection, a dozen marchers laid down in the street during an impromptu "die-in." Leonard Patterson, 56, said he drove from Manassas, Virginia, to be a part of the protest. Patterson said he decided to come after thinking about his college-aged daughter. "I'm trying to do everything in my limbs, everything in my power, to make this a better world for her," said Patterson, holding up his black and white drawing of Freddie Gray. The drawing shows Gray being hoisted from a police van to heaven by two angels. On Friday, news emerged that Gray was not wearing a seat belt while in the police van, in violation of policy.