The National Guard and riot-gear-clad Maryland State Police flooded the streets of Baltimore on Tuesday morning in a massive show of force after a shocking night of violence, arson and looting tied to the death of a black man in police custody erupted.
A tsunami of chaos and calamity washed over city streets after the funeral for 25-year-old Freddie Gray, who suffered a massive spinal cord injury as cops arrested him earlier this month.
Fifteen Baltimore city cops needed medical treatment and at least one reporter was knocked out cold by a protestor – an unprovoked attack caught on camera.
The city is now under a tight 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew, schools are closed and 27 people are under arrest.
No one seemed more shell shocked by events then Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, an African-American who lashed out at the violence.
“Too many people have spent generations building up this city for it to be destroyed by thugs,” she said at a news conference announcing her decision to turn to the governor for help.
“I’m at a loss for words. It is idiotic to think that by destroying your city that you’re going to make life better for anybody.”
Here is a snapshot of the latest developments:
- As many as 5,000 law enforcement officials from jurisdictions in and outside of Maryland were being tapped to restore order.
- Gov. Larry Hogan declared a state of emergency after the mayor made the required formal request for help.
- Among the most devastating fires set by the spasm of lawlessness was the torching of a $16 million black church senior center being built in East Baltimore, reports Business Insider.
- Looters sacked liquor stores, pharmacies, a shopping mall and a check-cashing store, reports Reuters .
- Rioters smashed car windows outside a major hotel.
- They even twice slashed a fire hose while firefighters fought a blaze at a CVS pharmacy that had been looted before it was set on fire.
“All this had to happen, people getting tired of the police killing the young black guys for no reason. … It is a sad day but it had to happen,” said Tony Luster, 40, who was out on the street watching the police line.
Gray was arrested on April 12 when running from officers. He was transported to the police station in a van, with no seat restraint, and suffered the spinal injury that led to his death a week later.
A lawyer for Gray’s family says his spine was 80 percent severed at the neck while in custody.
Six officers have been suspended, and the U.S. Justice Department is investigating the incident for possible civil rights violations.
Gray’s death reignited a public outcry over police treatment of African-Americans that flared last year after police killings of unarmed black men in Ferguson, New York City and elsewhere.