Barbers tell why Baltimore riots are drawing attention to a more - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Barbers tell why Baltimore riots are drawing attention to a more serious issue

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - There is a high level of concern as the country watches the city of Baltimore, Maryland including here on the Grand Strand. 

WMBF News spoke to a group of men who say they understand the level of frustration people in the city are experiencing right now, but they say it takes a different approach. 

Customers and barbers alike were engaging in a serious conversation at Sam's Uni-Sex Barbershop on Tuesday. Many of them were narrowed in on the television in the business as it was on the news following the latest happening in Baltimore. 

Patrick Richardson, a barber and father as well, said, "A lot of people are agitated, aggravated, and people will lash out when they have no other means, they don't know what else to do, you know, they are watching people die at an alarming rate and they unarmed I don't care how you look at that, that's what's happening."

Those on the streets on the city are protesting over the death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man that died from spinal injuries sustained while in police custody. 

The anger is boiling over because the community is not getting answers fast enough when it comes to the details of Gray's death. 

Several men in the barbershop said they can relate to their frustration; they do believe black men are a target, whether they are doing something to be a target or not. 

However, they expressed violence for justice is not the answer. 

"I just feel like there's going to be a lot more Freddie Gray's hurt if you continue at that rate," Richardson explained as he referred to the riots. 

The barbers said watching the images and reports of the chaos has sparked a dialogue in the barbershop about race, law enforcement, and justice in America.

Ernie Rivera, also a barber, said he often times finds himself in the middle of a debate about the same issues. He shared that he has one brother that is involved in gangs,  and another brother that is an officer, but he feels no matter what, everyone should be treated as a human being. 

"It's not fair, and see how people get emotional about it because who wants to be judged just because of the way you look?" Rivera said.

"It's a lot of unarmed black men dying; it's clear what's going on, but it's behind a shield. There's good cops out there, I have law enforcement in my family and it's rogue cops as well, you don't need a degree to know these things," explained Richardson.

Rivera said it is all a matter of life and death, and feels no one deserves to die.

"I feel really bad, I don't think anyone deserves what happened to him, there's no reason why the cops should have been on him like that," said Rivera, talking about Gray. 

While the peaceful protests are in full force in the city, there is now effort to move forward in a positive way, but  Richardson said the community and city leaders must understand there is still an open wound on the city, one a quick-fix bandage can't heal over night. 

"You've got to place faith in the process, the investigations, sometimes when you're running out of patience you got to dig a little deeper, find a little bit more patience. There were many before us that had way more patience than that, and we got to have patience right now," Richardson said.

Copyright 2015 WMBF News. All rights reserved.

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