Cassius Life Featured Video

On November 7, 2017, Baltimore police officer Caesar Goodson Jr. was cleared of all 21 administrative charges leveled against him for his role in the 2015 death of Freddie Gray. Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby, who pursued criminal charges against the six officers involved in Gray’s death, called the outcome “disappointing,” but reminded the public to keep in mind the “significant progress” Baltimore has made in the areas of criminal justice reform and police accountability.

In HBO’s Baltimore Rising, director Sonja Sohn (star of HBO series The Wire) takes viewers into the lives of the city’s activists, officers, and community members as they work to spark change.

“When the uprising occurred [in 2015, following the death of Freddie Gray in police custody], I saw an opportunity to tell the city’s story from a different vantage point,” Sohn said during a panel discussion at the film’s 2017 Urbanworld premiere. “I kept hearing from everybody that we need to reframe our narrative. It just seemed that I was in the right place at the right time.”

Throughout the film, viewers meet key figures in the Baltimore community, including Genard “Shadow” Barr, a former gang member who works with job reentry programs, and Makayla Gilliam-Price, activist and founder of her high school’s justice organization.

“My largest hope is that resources are flooded to Baltimore,” Gilliam-Price said during the panel. “If we’re fighting against the institution of racism, we need a Black institution to counter that. We don’t need to settle for reforming the status quo, but create new institutions to counter the old.”

Alongside Sohn, Baltimore Rising was executive produced by Mark Levin, Anthony Hemingway, George Pelecanos, and Mark Taylor.

You can catch the feature-length documentary when it debuts November 20 on HBO. If you’re not a subscriber, you can watch it for free on November 21 via or YouTube. Check out the official trailer above.