State Of Emergency Declared In Baltimore & Mayor Imposes Curfew As Riots In The City Worsen
Protests in Baltimore on Monday soon became reminiscent of the riots in Ferguson last year as some demonstrators turned violent, looting stores, setting fires, and clashing with police. The Baltimore Police Department said it received a "credible threat" that gangs normally fighting against each other have joined together to "take out" police officers; so far, at least 15 officers have been injured, The Baltimore Sun reports, but it's not clear how or by whom. The situation is getting so bad in the city that Larry Hogan, the Maryland governor, declared a state of emergency and deployed the National Guard. Soon after, a city-wide curfew was announced that will require people to stay off the streets during the hours of 10 p.m. to 5 a.m., starting Tuesday and lasting for one week.
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake reportedly asked Hogan to declare a state of emergency after riots over the death of Freddie Gray, who died of a spinal injury a week after being arrested. The declaration activates the National Guard, and according to The Baltimore Sun, Linda Singh of the Maryland National Guard said soldiers will be out in force, but in a "supporting" role, not martial law. Hogan is sending 500 state troopers to the city and has requested 5,000 officers from nearby states.
During a press conference in which she announced the curfew, Mayor Rawlings-Blake said, "Too many people have spent a generation 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."
The protests turned violent around Monday afternoon, after Gray's funeral. Police have been using tear gas and pepper spray to hold back violent crowds, and there had been about 27 arrests made as night arrived, according to The New York Times. The governor said in a statement:
Today’s acts of looting and violence in Baltimore will not be tolerated. ... There is a significant difference between protesting and violence.
Meanwhile, Gray's family are not participating in the demonstrations, according to their attorney. Billy Murphy, an attorney for the family, said in a statement:
I am sure that the family is concerned, and I am positive that they are against what is beginning to develop here in town. [The injured officers] don’t deserve this any more than Freddie Gray deserved it.
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