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Protesters Plan To 'Shut Down' Baltimore Saturday

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

There are large protests planned in Baltimore today over the death of Freddie Gray. He was the young black man who died from a spinal cord injuries sustained after police arrested him on April 12. One group called for a shutdown of the city. Baltimore's Police Commissioner Anthony Batts has admitted that police officers made mistakes in how they handled the arrest of Freddie Gray. He said officers should've provided medical attention immediately to Mr. Gray, who had asthma, and whose legs were visibly limp as he was taken into a police van. The commissioner said that he was also not buckled in with a seatbelt and that's a violation of department policy. The commissioner said officials were still investigating whether Freddie Gray's spinal injury was caused either from the arrest itself or later from an intentionally rough ride in that police van. The six officers involved have been suspended with pay. Protestors say the city has been too slow to reveal details of the arrest and to charge the officers involved. Elsewhere in our program, we travel to Sandtown in West Baltimore and hear from people who live in Freddie Gray's neighborhood.

LAWRENCE ABRAMS: I knew him, and he wasn't a bad dude. He did his little thing, but he wasn't a bad dude...

SIMON: You knew Freddie?

ABRAMS: Yeah, and he didn't deserve to go out like that. Seriously, he didn't deserve to go out like that, man. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Scott Simon is one of America's most admired writers and broadcasters. He is the host of Weekend Edition Saturday and is one of the hosts of NPR's morning news podcast Up First. He has reported from all fifty states, five continents, and ten wars, from El Salvador to Sarajevo to Afghanistan and Iraq. His books have chronicled character and characters, in war and peace, sports and art, tragedy and comedy.