Six hours into a remarkably peaceful protest of the death of a man in police custody, a confrontation outside Camden Yards baseball park suddenly turned violent Saturday night as demonstrators clashed with fans who had turned out for a ballgame. Before the melee was over, six unoccupied police cars had been damaged by protesters and police in riot gear and on horseback moved methodically to push the demonstrators from a key downtown intersection.
For hours, the police had kept their distance as nearly 1,000 people angered by the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody marched from the downtrodden neighborhood where he lived and died to the more upscale Inner Harbor area and City Hall.After passing by the ballpark once, they returned to it a second time as fans began to make their way from parking lots and nearby bars toward the stadium for an Orioles-Red Sox game.
A confrontation occurred at three bars with sidewalk cafes, where words were exchanged, items were tossed, and tables and trash cans were toppled. A bottle shattered a restaurant window. A protester grabbed a woman’s purse, and a man chased him.After the crowd dispersed, a phalanx of police then swept down Howard Street to protect several police cars that were being pummeled. The demonstrators, now reduced in number to about 200, used a metal barrier to smash the window of one police cruiser, kicked in the windshield of another and plucked a police officer’s cap from through another shattered window, waving it as if in triumph.
The officers, in riot gear for the first time since the day’s protest began, shouted, “Move back! Move back!” as they inched forward to clear the intersection of Camden and Pratt streets. A few of the protesters spat at them.At 8 p.m., a police helicopter flying overhead broadcast that those in the remaining crowd would be arrested if they did not disperse. Twelve people who appeared to be causing the most trouble were arrested, Police Commissioner Anthony W. Batts said at a news conference. The others dispersed.
Most of the crowd began to leave, many heading toward their West Baltimore neighborhood. Several teenagers whom Batts identified as protesters ran into a 7-Eleven store at Howard and Fayette streets, snatching items.Maryland’s governor called up the National Guard late Monday hours after rioting gangs attacked police, injuring 15, torched cars and went on widespread looting sprees in a downtown section of Baltimore.
Gov. Larry Hogan issued a statement late Monday saying he was declaring a state of emergency and calling up the National Guard. “These acts of violence and destruction of property cannot and will not be tolerated,” he said at a late-night press conference.In addition, he said he was deploying 500 state troopers and had asked for 5,000 officers from neighboring states to deal with the violence.
But little seemed able to quell the violence. A massive fire has broke out Monday night in a building that was under construction and the Baltimore mayor’s spokesman said it was related to the riots, according to the Associated Press.Nearly 200 arrests, more than 150 fires in Baltimore during Monday night’s unrest, city official says.Baltimore’s mayor, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, announced a 10pm-5am curfew would be imposed beginning Tuesday.
A state of emergency has been declared in Baltimore. Race riots broke out in the city overnight, with looters setting fires. The riots broke out after the funeral of a 25-year-old black man, who died after being injured in police custody