Baltimore Riots: City Well on Its Way to Restoring Calm, Governor Says – ABC News
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said at a news conference today the immediate need is to restore calm in Baltimore and that the city is well on its way.
“We’re not going to have a repeat of last night,” Hogan said. “It’s not going to happen tonight.”
President Obama today called the riots in Baltimore “senseless violence and destruction.”
“They’re not protesting, they’re not making a statement. They’re stealing,” Obama said at an afternoon news conference in Washington. “They’re destroying and undermining businesses and opportunities in their own communities.
“They need to be treated as criminals,” he added.
Meanwhile, national guard troops were deployed in front of Baltimore City Hall this morning and a state of emergency was issued after violence erupted in the city Monday afternoon.
About 500 guardsmen are supporting law enforcement in Baltimore, according to Maryland National Guard spokesman Lt. Col. Charles Kohler, with plans to increase their presence to 2,000.
Numerous fires were reported overnight and Baltimore police reported people throwing cinder blocks at fire engines as firefighters worked to extinguish the flames.
Baltimore City Public Schools are closed today and tonight’s baseball game at Oriole Park between the Orioles and the White Sox has been postponed.
A citywide curfew will be in effect from 10 p.m. today until 5 a.m. Wednesday. The 10 p.m. curfews will last for one week, mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said, and could be extended as necessary. A 9 p.m. curfew is already in effect for children 14 and younger.
“This is not a lawless city,” Rawlings-Blake said. “I’m at a loss for words.”
Fifteen officers were injured, six seriously during Monday’s violence, Police Commissioner Anthony Batts said in a news conference. Those injuries are not expected to be life-threatening.
“This is not protesting, this is not your First Amendment rights,” he said. “This is criminal acts.”
Monday’s standoff began near the Mondawmin Mall in the northwest part of the city, the Baltimore Police Department said, as the group threw bricks, rocks and other objects at officers. Protesters were seen climbing on a police cruiser and damaging several others, and fires broke out, including flames that engulfed a community center project.
The unrest was sparked by the death of Freddie Gray, who died after being in police custody. Gray’s mother, speaking the night of the 25-year-old’s funeral, made a plea for peace.
“I want you all to get justice for my son, but don’t do it like this here. Don’t tear up the whole city just for him,” Gloria Darden said. “It’s wrong.”
Rawlings-Blake, speaking to reporters late Monday, decried the violence and property damage.
“People say they care about their community and want to be heard, but you can’t care about your community and do what they did,” Rawlings-Blake said.
“I understand anger, but what we’re seeing isn’t anger, it’s destruction of a community.”
Newly minted Attorney General Loretta Lynch also weighed in on the situation in Baltimore, condemning the “senseless acts of violence by some individuals in Baltimore.”
“The Department of Justice stands ready to provide any assistance that might be helpful,” Lynch added. “The Civil Rights Division and the FBI have an ongoing, independent criminal civil rights investigation into the tragic death of Mr. Gray.”
Monday’s clash at the mall follows a volatile weekend in Baltimore. Protests that started off peacefully Saturday turned violent by afternoon in downtown Baltimore. Protests were also held during Gray’s wake Sunday.