Freddie Gray’s death did not pass unnoticed in Baltimore. Violent riots took place yesterday, as the city became packed with angry protesters who took their frustration to the next level. On Tuesday morning, as sunlight started to overwhelm the city, its scars invaded the retina of each wanderer who had the curiosity to see what this “war” left behind. Buildings and cars were burnt, windows were broken, stores were wrecked.
After Freddie Gray’s funeral yesterday afternoon, the streets were invaded with rioters who were prepared to show how furious they were at the way he died and how personal they could take matters. A state of emergency was declared in Baltimore by the governor on Monday, the 27th of April. Schools were shut down and the parents were advised to watch their children and prevent them from taking part in the riot. The National Guard was called to help the local and state police. Around 5,000 guard members and 5,000 officers from other police departments came to the city. Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said in a statement that “thugs” are destroying the city and imposed a 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew on Tuesday.
Some of the protesters were armed with crowbars that they did not hesitate to use against officers who were trying to reestablish order. Rocks were thrown at the police, patrol cars were devastated while others smashed the windows of the stores, stole items and set fire to some very important buildings. Police Commissioner Anthony Batts said that some of these buildings were constructed with great effort and that communities in need really depended on them. He was also worried that the city would not recover soon from such devastation. “I’ve seen cities that haven’t recovered 50 years later,” he stated in a conference on Monday. Social media was abundant with “#purge” messages which made allusion to the movie “The Purge”, that depicted a 12-hour period in which any crime was allowed.
According to Batts, more than 12 officers were badly hurt and a few suffered severe injuries. Even if their situation is stable now, the aggressiveness towards them might have serious consequences on their bodies.
Those responsible for starting up such a massive riot seem to be a few gangs that decided to take over parts of the city and attack police officers.
Officials of the Justice Department, along with the Mayor and the Governor all stated that they would do everything in their power to reestablish order and make sure the citizens feel safe in the city again, while putting all their efforts into ending all acts of violence.
Freddie Gray’s family talked to the press as well, saying that such violence is inadmissible and that Freddie wouldn’t have wanted this kind of revenge.
Freddie Gray died on April 19, 2015, while in police custody, five days after he was arrested, from severe spinal injuries. Allegations of having employed brutal force during the arrest were made to the police officers who arrested him. These allegations came after two bystanders filmed the arrest. The clip shows Freddie Gray in distress, being dragged to the police van. However, the police officers denied having used brutal force during the arrest. Protests following his death started on April 25 in the center of the city. Most marchers were non-aggressive then, with a few exceptions – who damaged some police cars and started throwing rocks at the officers. A photographer complained of having been beaten by two police officers during the protest.
The real riot began on the 27th of April, with protesters displaying unusual violence and desire to wreck and leave the city deeply scarred.
Image Source: cbc