Images of Baltimore burning Monday night were plastered across TV screens nationwide as riots broke out following the funeral of 25-year-old Freddie Gray, but what wasn't shown were photos of Baltimore's peaceful protests that had citizens helping officers and cleaning the city's streets. As protesters were quick to point out, those that chose to loot and set fires largely weren't part of the civil demonstrations against police violence that had begun after Gray died from a fatal spinal injury that was sustained while he was in police custody earlier this month. While it's easy to generalize, it's important to know that not all protesters are rioters and not all rioters are protesters.
Monday night saw more than 250 arrests after rioters set cars on fire and looted buildings. The following day, however, the city came together to clean up the mess left behind. Photos showed protesters extending hands of gratitude to police on duty while others lined up in front of officers to defend them. In one particularly touching image, a young boy shares bottles of waters with authorities. This is what the country, and frankly, the world should be remembering: Most people do not want nor condone violence.
The tense events in Baltimore entered its second night Tuesday, during which a mandatory curfew limited clashes between demonstrators and police. Police Commissioner Anthony Batts said in a press conference he was "pleased" with the curfew's effectiveness, saying, "The curfew is in fact working. Citizens are safe. The city is stable." As thousands of National Guard troops and city officials continue to monitor street activity throughout the night, hopefully Wednesday will continue the message of peaceful protest that truly honors Gray's memory and will help bring about justice.