Tensions have been running high in Baltimore following the death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man who was arrested on April 12 for possession of a “switchblade” knife. After his arrest, Gray was rushed to the hospital, reportedly for a spinal cord injury he sustained while in police custody. Gray slipped into a coma, and died a week later on April 19. The unclear circumstances surrounding Gray’s death have sparked outrage within the City of Baltimore: protests immediately following Gray’s death had been peaceful for the most part, then some turned violent following Gray’s funeral on Monday. This week, Maryland’s Governor Larry Hogan declared a state of emergency in Baltimore and placed the entire city on a curfew. The National Guard was also activated to try and control the riots, which have left many parts of Baltimore and its residents in turmoil.
Baltimore-based photographer Shawn Hubbard has been covering the events for the past week. Below, he shares some of his powerful images from the protests and gives some insight about living/working in Baltimore during a time of unrest.
Things have been tense at times covering the unfolding events in the city. There have been a lot of road closures due to protestors but that hasn’t really affected me too much because I’ve been on foot photographing the protestors … I went out for one of the earlier protests as a freelancer. I sent those images out to editors and after that got commissioned by the Wall Street Journal to cover part of the story.
The events have become Shawn’s work, and he’s had a few planned shoots get canceled. For him, it’s important to stay impartial, even when everything is hitting so close to home.
I stay unbiased because I don’t have an agenda. I am covering the events as a photojournalist to document history. I try my best to show the whole story.
These were shot over the course of about a week. When I started shooting the protests were mostly peaceful. Day by day things became more violent, but now since they’ve declared a state of emergency and brought in the National Guard things have calmed down again … at least for now.