As Baltimore continued to burn Monday night, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan declared a state of emergency and called in the National Guard. Video of the rioting showed police in full riot gear taking cover behind an armored vehicle as protesters continued to attack the police, resulting in seven officers receiving serious injuries, including broken bones. The Baltimore Police Department said it had heard reports of protesters setting small items on fire, and footage showed a cruiser in flames.
Protests erupted hours after the funeral of Freddie Gray, the African American who died in police custody, leading to Governor Hogan to declare a state of emergency. The protests began heating up as the afternoon wore on resulting in a police car and van being torched and several store windows broken. A local CVS pharmacy was looted after its windows were smashed and later set ablaze. Baltimore police reported that demonstrators cut a fire hose to prevent local firefighters from putting out a fire.
Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake called the rioters thugs and imposed a 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew beginning Tuesday. Maryland State Police ordered additional troopers to Baltimore to link up with the 42 troopers presently stationed there to assist local police. “I’m a life-long resident of Baltimore… Too many people have spent generations building up this city for it to be destroyed by thugs, who in a very senseless way are trying to tear down what so many have fought for,” Rawlings-Blake said. ” Tearing down business, tearing down or destroying property. Things that we know will impact our community for years.”
The initial violent protests stemmed from a flier distributed on social media calling for a “purge” to start at 3 p.m., starting at the Mondawmin Mall and ending downtown. The “meme” is based on the film “The Purge,” which portrays what would happen if there were no laws. The flier featured an image of protesters breaking the window of a local police cruiser in a protest on Saturday. Governor Hogan put the National Guard on alert if needed to respond.
I strongly condemn the actions of the offenders who are engaged in direct attacks against innocent civilians, businesses and law enforcement officers,” Hogan said in a statement. “There is a significant difference between protesting and violence and those committing these acts will be prosecuted under the fullest extent of the law.
Newly confirmed Attorney General Loretta Lynch briefed President Barack Obama on the events unraveling in Baltimore. Baltimore Police took to Twitter to attempt damage control. “Several juveniles are part of these aggressive groups. WE ARE ASKING ALL PARENTS TO LOCATE THEIR CHILDREN AND BRING THEM HOME.” As a result of the ongoing protests, the Baltimore Orioles postponed their game against the Chicago White Sox, announced via Twitter. The Orioles previously planned to go ahead with the game, but postponed the game after talks with the Police Department.
The University of Maryland shut down its campus, after Baltimore police announced a threat that local gangs were targeting police officers. Baltimore Police Department officials on Monday, say they received a credible threat that rival gangs have joined forces in attempts to take out law enforcement officers. Department spokesman announced that the Criminal Intelligence Unit obtained intelligence indicating members of various gangs including the Bloods, Crips and the Black Guerilla Family have entered into a mutual partnership aimed at taking out law enforcement officials. The university shut down at 2 p.m. at the suggestion of the Baltimore Police Department. Police Commissioner Anthony Batts said some Baltimore residents urged protesters not to damage the city. “I am proud of our residents and our police officers,” Batts said. “The vast majority of residents out here did a good job. … A small number of people felt like they had to turn this into an ugly day.”