Soldiers descend on Baltimore after riots and fires paralyze city
Maryland congressman Elijah Cummings and about 200 others, including ministers, tried unsuccessfully to quell the violence at one point Monday night, marching arm-inarm through a neighborhood littered with broken glass, flattened aluminum cans and other debris. As they got close to a line of police officers, the marchers went down on their knees. They then rose to their feet and walked until they were face-to- face with the police officers in a tight formation and wearing riot gear.
But the violence continued, with looters later setting a liquor store on fire and throwing cinder blocks at fire trucks as firefighters labored to put out the blazes.
Monday’s riot was the latest flareup over the death of Gray and came amid a national debate over police use of force following the highprofile deaths of several black men in encounters with police — from the Brown death in Ferguson to the deaths of Eric Garner in New York and Walter Scott in North Charles- ton, South Carolina.
Gray was black. Police have declined to specify the races of the six officers involved in his arrest, all of whom have been suspended with pay while they are under investigation.
While they are angry about what happened to Gray, his family said riots are not the answer.
“I think the violence is wrong,” Gray’s twin sister, Fredericka Gray, said late Monday. “I don’t like it at all.”
The attorney for Gray’s family, Billy Murphy, said the family had hoped to organize a peace march later in the week.
Hours before the riots began Monday, mourners filled the 2,500-capacity New Shiloh Baptist church to attend Freddie Gray’s funeral.
Gray was arrested on April 12 after making eye contact with officers and then running away, police said. He was held down, handcuffed and loaded into a van without a seat belt. Leg cuffs were put on him when he became irate inside.
He asked for medical help several times even before being put in the van, but paramedics were not called until after a 30-minute ride. Police have acknowledged he should have received medical attention on the spot where he was arrested, but they have not said how he suffered a serious spine injury. He died April 19.
A man throws a brick at police Monday following the funeral of Freddie Gray in Baltimore.