by Elizabeth Martinez
Freddie Gray, who mysteriously died from a spinal injury in police custody on April 19, was laid to rest Monday morning. Immediately following the burial, violent riots broke out beginning in West Baltimore, and by midnight, reached East and Downtown Baltimore.
At least 20 officers were wounded in the unrest, with one person in critical condition. In total, 144 cars were burned, according to the Mayor’s office, a few being police cars. Stores were looted as well.
One CVS was lit on fire, as was an affordable housing center for senior citizens that was set to open in a couple of months, along with 13 other structures.
Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said late Monday that the day’s violence was the result of “thugs who always want to incite violence and destroy our city. It doesn’t appear that the violence stemmed from organized, peaceful protests over the death of Freddie Gray.
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan called the National Guard to help the police enforce peace, and enforce a curfew from 10 PM to 5 AM for the next week. All public schools in the area are closed, and the Baltimore Orioles canceled their game on Tuesday night.
Baltimore police called on other officers, and are expecting up to 5,000 officers from the Mid-Atlantic region. Maryland National Guard spokesman Lt. Charles Kohler said that about 2,000 members would be deployed through the day and that the force could build to 5,000.
Maryland National Guard spokesman Lt. Charles Kohler said that about 2,000 members would be deployed through the day and that the force could build to 5,000.
Attorney General Loretta Lynch, on her first day as attorney general, said she will send Justice Department officials to the city in the coming days.
Since the riots, three dozen juveniles have been arrested, and more than 200 adults were taken into custody. Early Tuesday morning, the streets of Baltimore were again filed with people, this time however, they were helping to clean up.
Local hardware stores donated gloves, tools, and garbage bags to volunteers willing to help clean up. Citizens went to the street with brooms to pick up broken glass and debris.
15-year-old Sulaiman Abdul-Aziz was one of the volunteers and saw some of the mayhem.
“I felt disappointed,” he said to CNN, “because a lot of that could have been avoided if people would have started thinking before they would have done all that stuff.”
After all the destruction of the night, the Mayor even tweeted “Seeing my city like this breaks my heart. But, like so many Baltimoreans, my resolve is strong. We will not let these deplorable and cowardly acts of violence ruin #OurCity.”
The sight was uplifting, much different from the night before which was referenced to as “the purge.”
Tuesday morning, The President also made remarks, calling the deaths of African Americans in the arms of Police men a “slow rolling crisis.” He added however, that there was “no excuse” for the violence in Baltimore, and said the riots should be treated as criminals.
Freddie Gray’s death is the latest flashpoint in a national debate regarding police brutality and mis-use of force against African American men. The last time the National Guard was called out to deal with unrest in Baltimore was in 1968, when some of the same neighborhoods burned for days after the assassination of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
The riots in Baltimore mirrored that which came after the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson Missouri last summer. The rally cry Black Lives Matter paralleled the chants of protesters in New York after the death of Eric Garner, and protests in South Caroline after the death of Walter Scott.
Baltimore will continue to be under a 10 PM curfew, and an investigation is underway in to the death of Freddie Gray; the officers who arrested him are on paid leave.