Amid Riots, Maryland Governor Will Deploy National Guard To Baltimore
(This post was last updated at 11:40 p.m. ET.)
A day of mourning gave way to an evening of riots and looting in Baltimore on Monday, where Gov. Larry Hogan declared a state of emergency and deployed the National Guard.
Just hours after Freddie Gray's funeral, hundreds of demonstrators took to the streets, burning police cars, looting stores and facing off with police. Television images showed those demonstrators throwing rocks, bricks and bottles at a line of police officers in riot gear.
In a press conference, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said there was a big difference between what is happening today and the peaceful protests that have taken place over the past week.
"Too many people have spent generations building up this city for it to be destroyed by thugs, who in a very senseless way are trying to tear down what so many have fought for," Rawlings-Blake said.
The mayor has instituted a curfew that begins at 10 p.m. ET. tomorrow and goes until 5 a.m. ET. That curfew will be in place for one week. The National Guard is on the ground in Baltimore, Police Commissioner Anthony Batts said at a late night press conference.
Images from a television helicopter showed some demonstrators destroying a police vehicle. They showed others looting a CVS pharmacy, a Rite-Aid and small shops. What started as a confrontation between perhaps a hundred protesters and riot police quickly turned into a melee covering multiple neighborhoods in the city.
Baltimore police said that 15 officers had been hurt in the clashes. Some suffered broken bones and two of them are still hospitalized.
"This is not OK," said Eric Kowalczyk, the agency's chief spokesman. "We will find these people who are responsible and we will put them in jail."
A police spokesman added that about two dozen people have been arrested.
Batts told reporters that the department had a plan in place in case protests turned violent, but that the sheer number of protesters overwhelmed the forces they had available.
As we reported, protesters have taken to Baltimore streets to demand justice for Gray, who suffered a fatal spine injury while he was in police custody. An investigation is still ongoing.
Gray's funeral was held less than a mile from one of the protest sites.
Update at 10:15 p.m. ET Massive Fire:
A huge fire has consumed a senior citizen center that was under construction in East Baltimore, but police have been unable to connect it to the riots thus far, the Baltimore Sun reports.
"At least 10 firefighting companies were attempting to control the blaze, at the corner of North Chester and East Lanvale streets, and keep it from spreading to nearby houses, firefighters said....
"The senior housing project, planned as roughly 60 apartments and a community center, has been in the works since at least 2006."
Update at 9:15 p.m. ET. 'Last Resort':
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said that he did not take the decision to deploy the National Guard into Baltimore.
"The national guard represents a last resort in order to restore order," Hogan said.
Officials said National Guard will move into the city overnight. State Police said that that they will likely need about 1,500 guards to restore order. The National Guard is making about 5,000 guards available.
Update at 9:11 p.m. ET. 'A Disservice' To Gray's Family:
"Those who commit violent actions, ostensibly in protest of the death of Freddie Gray, do a disservice to his family, to his loved ones, and to legitimate peaceful protestors who are working to improve their community for all its residents."
That's a statement from the country's new Attorney General Loretta Lynch.
She added that the department stands ready to provide any help necessary, including completing an investigation into the Freddie Gray case.
"In the days ahead, I intend to work with leaders throughout Baltimore to ensure that we can protect the security and civil rights of all residents," she said. "And I will bring the full resources of the Department of Justice to bear in protecting those under threat, investigating wrongdoing, and securing an end to violence."
Update at 8:25 p.m. ET. 'Not Going To Solve The Problems':
Robyn Barnes, a Baltimore, resident tells NPR's Jennifer Ludden that he's a "wreck."
"My nerves is on edge because of all this foolishness," he said. "This is not going to solve the problems that we have with law enforcement."
Update at 7:51 p.m. ET. Looters At Mondawmin Mall:
Police say that they have received reports that "several people are inside Mondawmin Mall looting and destroying property."
Television images showed a group of people streaming into the mall
Update at 7:06 p.m. ET. A State Of Emergency:
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan has declared a state of emergency. and has activated the National Guard to "address the growing violence and unrest in Baltimore City."
Hogan will hold a press conference at 8:30 p.m. ET.
Update at 6:45 'Just A Struggle':
Mo Jackson, a 22-year-old protester, tells NPR that the protest he joined was peaceful.
But police officers, he said, shot paint balls at them and in retaliation they threw rocks.
He said this anger has been building for decades.
"This has just been a struggle," Jackson said. "Every year, cops kill innocent people. Cops lock you up. It's oppression.
He said he came out to protest because this is the first time that the national spotlight has been on Baltimore.
"This is not the place you want to raise your kid at this moment in time," he said. "Because you feel like when you grow up they are going through the same thing you go through.... we don't have nothing out here."
Update at 6:26 p.m. ET. Orioles Game Postponed:
A major league baseball game between the Baltimore Orioles and the Chicago White Sox has been postponed because of the violence.
Update at 6:22 p.m. ET. National Guard On Alert:
In a statement, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said the violence seen today "will not be tolerated," so he has put the state's National Guard on alert.
"I strongly condemn the actions of the offenders who are engaged in direct attacks against innocent civilians, businesses and law enforcement officers," Hogan said. "There is a significant difference between protesting and violence and those committing these acts will be prosecuted under the fullest extent of the law."
Update at 5:44 p.m. ET. Threat From Gangs:
Earlier today, Baltimore police issued press release saying they had received a "credible threat" against their officers.
According to the release, "various gangs including the Black Guerilla Family, Bloods, and Crips have entered into a partnership to 'take out' law enforcement officers."
Update at 5:36 p.m. ET. 'Bring Your Children Home':
The Baltimore Sun reports that violent protests today began near Mondawmin Mall in Baltimore. According to the paper, a widely circulated flier previewed a demonstration modeled after "The Purge," a film about "what would happen if all laws were suspended."
On Twitter, police said that a large number of "juveniles" were involved in the melee, so they were asking parents to "bring your children home."
Update at 5:22 p.m. ET. 'Not What Baltimore Stands For':
Rev. Jamal Bryant, a religious leader in Baltimore, said the violent protests are "not what Baltimore stands for."
"It's disappointing," he said. And it's "not what the family asked for" at Gray's funeral.
They wanted today to be about "sacred closure," he added, and it has instead turned into a day of violence.
"Violence is never the answer for justice," Bryant said.
Update at 4:58 p.m. ET. Cars On Fire:
Helicopter images from WBAL-TV showed one police car on fire.
Baltimore Police said they were "deploying resources to ensure everyone remains safe."
Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.