Protests valid response to brutality: Destruction, riots in Baltimore necessary expression of pain

Freddie Gray was arrested on April 12, 2015 in Baltimore, Md. after he and another man were pursued after making “eye contact” with police and then fleeing, according to The Baltimore Sun. There were no warrants for his arrest and no crime was committed.
Gray was taken into police custody without resisting arrest. He requested his inhaler and was denied it, and also displayed pain in his leg that was ignored by responding officers, all caught on bystander camera before Gray was put into the back of a police van, according to CNN.
The van stopped twice while Gray was inside it. The officers involved made no reports of incidents of physical violence with Gray.
While in the police van, the police called paramedics to take Gray to a hospital, where he entered a coma and displayed a crushed larynx and a spine broken in at least three places, according to CNN.
Gray underwent surgery, but passed away from his injuries a week after his arrest and hospitalization on April 19. The officers involved refute claims that they brutalized Gray while he was in police custody, but witness accounts and the medical report tell a different story.
The injuries sustained by Gray are on par with what is typically sustained in a serious car accident, yet the van was not involved in a crash and none of the officers were injured – only Freddie Gray.
This is yet another tragedy in an unacceptably long string of incidents of police violence in the United States. There have been more than 300 civilians killed by police in 2015 alone across the country, and the overwhelming majority of them are black people.
When will the violence stop? Most of the media and many celebrities have chosen to place the blame on the very people who are suffering from the violence the most, claiming that black people bring it upon themselves by being thugs or rioting instead of peacefully protesting.
The riots in Baltimore following Freddie Gray’s funeral have continued the national conversation that began in August 2014 when Michael Brown was killed in Ferguson. The riots are not the cause of the violence, they are a response to it, as stated by activists and writers such as  Mia McKenzie, Deray McKesson and Shaun King,  and countless others, both on the ground in Baltimore and weighing in online through platforms like Twitter.
White people have no place to police or judge the actions of the people of color who are protesting the violence they suffer from and live in fear of every day. All Freddie Gray did was look at a police officer, and a week later he was dead. That is not how things should be. The destruction of property by the rioters and protesters is nothing in comparison to the theft and destruction of life perpetuated by the police daily.
Being white, I statistically have nothing to fear from the police. I can rest assured that the police represent the fist of an institution designed to protect me and people who look like me.
This is not a comforting thought. I am not comfortable with the high cost of my privilege on the lives and well-being of my black peers and fellow citizens. No one should be.