Allen Bullock, a Baltimore teen arrested for smashing a police car window with a traffic cone amid the Freddie Gray protests last week, is reportedly being held on a higher bail than the officers charged on Friday in Gray’s death.
Bullock, 18, who voluntarily surrendered to authorities at the urging of his parents, is being held on $500,000 bail, while the six officers accused in the Gray case were held on a range of $250,000 to $350,000, according to the Associated Press. NBC News has confirmed that all six officers arrested for Gray’s death have since been bailed out. Bail hearings are not open to the public in the state of Maryland.
“It is just so much money,” Bullock’s mom, Bobbi Smallwood, told the British newspaper The Guardian. “Who could afford to pay that?”
After Bullock’s illegal act was captured on camera and broadcast nationwide, he was shamed by relatives, including his stepfather Maurice Hawkins. “By turning himself in, he also let me know he was growing as a man and he recognized what he did was wrong,” Hawkins told The Guardian in the same interview.
Still, Smallwood believes that the fee for Bullock’s release is “ridiculous.”
“I think that that goes to continuing strained police-community relations,” F. Michael Higginbotham, a law professor at the University of Baltimore, told NBC station WBAL of Baltimore. “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.”
A campaign to help raise funds for Bullock’s family to make bail has begun on Indiegogo. “Although we can agree that destroying the police cruiser was unnecessary, this bail price is ridiculously high for anyone to pay on their own. The purpose of this fundraiser is to get as close to $500,000 as possible to help this young man,” reads the effort’s page. It has raised just over $2,600 since its launch on Friday.
Earlier on Friday, six Baltimore police officers were charged with a host a crimes in connection with the death of Gray, including second-degree murder, manslaughter and false imprisonment. Gray, a 25-year-old black man, died April 19 following a severe spinal cord injury suffered while in police custody. He was arrested on April 12, apparently for possession of a switchblade.
However, in her statement Friday revealing the charges against the officers, Baltimore State Attorney Marilyn Mosby revealed that the knife would not be classified as a switchblade and was legal under Maryland law, making Gray’s arrest illegal.
The officers’ preliminary hearing is scheduled for May 27.
Additional reporting by David Taintor and M. Alex Johnson.