A Baltimore man who set fire to a CVS store has been sentenced to four years in jail, according to NBC News. Raymon Carter was also ordered to pay $500,000 in restitution. Carter pled guilty to a federal charge of rioting, according to the U.S. Attorney for the District of Baltimore.
“Ordinary citizens concerned about their neighborhood helped to catch Raymon Carter after he participated in the riot,” said U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein in a statement.
Carter set fire to the store on April 27 as part of protests surrounding the death of Freddie Gray, a Baltimore man who died from spinal injuries after a “rough ride” in the back of a police van. Six local police officers are facing charges in connection with Gray’s death. The first officer goes on trial on Nov. 30.
While it might seem the law has punished a criminal act, things need to be put in perspective. Carter received more time in jail than BART police officer Johannes Mehserle, who killed Oscar Grant in 2009. Mehserle received a two-year sentence, and did less than a year in jail. Jason Kenny, a Georgia deputy, involved in the jailhouse death of Nigerian student Michael Ajibade, was recently sentenced to only one month in jail.
It’s no secret that media treats Black and white people differently when they riot. When Black people riot they are usually protesting police violence and other systematic racism, however when whites riot they are usually involved in celebrating sporting events. In 2011, students at Penn State University rioted to protest the firing of football coach Joe Paterno, who was accused of covering up a sex abuse scandal. The riots caused $190,000 in damage.
Even the language used to describe both events is different. White rioters are called “revellers,” “celebrants” and “fans,” while Black protesters are labelled “criminals” and “thugs.”
According to ABC News, CVS is also facing another racial controversy. Four former workers have accused managers at New York City stores of racially profiling Black and Latino customers and using racial slurs. David Gottlieb, an attorney representing the workers in a class action lawsuit against CVS, said the discrimination was widespread, involving several stores.
“This was not a situation where it was not one or two stores or one or two managers,” Gottlieb told ABC News. “This scheme was perpetrated by multiple managers and directors in the loss prevention department of CVS and many store managers. I don’t have an exact number. This is not an isolated situation but an institutional problem at CVS.”