Freddie Gray, the 25-year-old black man who died in police custody, was born into Sandtown’s literally toxic ghetto, according to a lawsuit he and his two sisters filed in 2008. The Sun’s Jean Marbella writes that the family claimed damaging lead levels in their blood as children led to “multiple educational, behavioral and medical problems.” They settled in 2010 for an undisclosed sum.
Whether because of lead or even more intractable structural problems, Sandtown has been unable to shake the kinds of economic woes prevalent in other predominantly African-American inner city neighborhoods.
Here are the terrifying facts about Sandtown, according to U.S. Census tract data.
— Just 42 percent of residents are employed, compared to the national average of 59 percent.
— Thirty-three percent of residential properties are vacant or abandoned.
— Just 54 percent of its residents are even in the labor force, even though 77 percent of residents are between 20 and 64 years old.