Po­lice in spot­light as Bal­ti­more burns


Na­tional Guard troops fanned out through the city, shield­bear­ing po­lice of­fi­cers blocked the streets and fire­fight­ers doused still­sim­mer­ing blazes early Tues­day as a grow­ing area of Bal­ti­more shud­dered from ri­ots fol­low­ing the fu­neral of a black man who died in po­lice cus­tody.

The vi­o­lence that started in West Bal­ti­more on Mon­day af­ter­noon — within a mile of where Fred­die Gray was ar­rested and placed into a po­lice van this month — had by mid­night spread to East Bal­ti­more and neigh­bor­hoods close to down­town and near the base­ball sta­dium.

It was one of the most volatile out­breaks of vi­o­lence prompted by a po­lice-in­volved death since the days of protests af­ter Michael Brown, an un­armed black man, was shot and killed dur­ing a con­fronta­tion with a white po­lice of­fi­cer in Fer­gu­son, Mis­souri, last sum­mer.

At least 15 of­fi­cers were hurt, in­clud­ing six who were hos­pi­tal­ized, po­lice said. There were 144 ve­hi­cle fires, 15 struc­ture fires and nearly 200 ar­rests, ac­cord­ing to the mayor’s of­fice.

Aerial footage Tues­day from Bal­ti­more sta­tion WJZ-TV showed a fire­fighter spray­ing the burntout shell of a large build­ing as an Amer­i­can flag flut­tered nearby on an un­touched build­ing.

Au­thor­i­ties pledged to re­store or­der and calm to Bal­ti­more, but quickly found them­selves re­spond­ing to ques­tions about whether their ini­tial re­sponses had been ad­e­quate.

Bal­ti­more Mayor Stephanie Rawl­ings-Blake was asked why she waited hours to ask the gover­nor to de­clare a state of emer­gency, while the gover­nor him­self hinted she should have come to him ear­lier.

Rawl­ings-Blake said of­fi­cials be­lieved they had got­ten the un­rest that had erupted over the week­end un­der con­trol “and I think it would have been in­ap­pro­pri­ate to bring in the Na­tional Guard when we had it un­der con­trol.”

But later on, Bal­ti­more Po­lice Com­mis­sioner An­thony Batts made it clear events had be­come un­man­age­able. “They just out­num­bered us and out­flanked us,” Batts said. “We needed to have more re­sources out there.”

5,000 Troops Avail­able

U.S. At­tor­ney Gen­eral Loretta Lynch, in her first day on the job, said she would send Jus­tice Depart­ment of­fi­cials to the city in com­ing days. A week­long, daily cur­few was im­posed from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m., the mayor said, and Bal­ti­more public schools an­nounced they would be closed Tues­day.

Maj. Gen. Linda Singh, ad­ju­tant gen­eral of the Mary­land Na­tional Guard, said up to 5,000 troops would be avail­able for Bal­ti­more’s streets.

Story con­tin­ues on page 2


In this frame from video pro­vided by WJLA, smoke rises from a store on Mon­day, April 27 dur­ing un­rest fol­low­ing the fu­neral of Fred­die Gray in Bal­ti­more, Mary­land.

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