Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan activated the National Guard late Monday in an effort to quell surging violence that erupted earlier in the day and rippled across the city after the funeral of Freddie Gray, the latest national symbol of police violence in Black communities.
The New York Times reports that violence broke out in the late afternoon in the Mondawmin neighborhood of northwest Baltimore, where Gray’s funeral had taken place earlier in the day. At least 15 Baltimore police were injured when rioters threw bottles, rocks, and chunks of concrete at officers who lined up in riot gear with shields deployed. Cars were overturned and set on fire, store windows shattered, a CVS drugstore looted, and the cafe inside a century-old Italian deli was destroyed, the newspaper writes.
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said schools would be closed today and announced that a 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew would be imposed for a week beginning Tuesday. The city already has a curfew for juveniles under age 17, the news outlet notes.
From The New York Times:
By nighttime, the chaos seemed to be competing with a push for calm. Looters pulled junk food from convenience stores within a few blocks of police in riot gear and cars that had been set ablaze. At the same time, young men in black T-shirts from a local antiviolence group urged their neighbors to go back inside. A large fire burned in east Baltimore, consuming a partly built development project of the Southern Baptist Church that was to include housing for the elderly.
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake arrived at the scene of the blaze and said it was under investigation. “We don’t know if it is related to the riots,” she said.
Gov. Larry Hogan declared a state of emergency, and the Maryland State Police, who took command of the response, said they would ask for 5,000 law enforcement officials from the mid-Atlantic region to help quell the violence. Some National Guard units were to arrive on Monday night, with others deploying on Tuesday in armored Humvees.
On her first day as U.S. attorney general, Loretta Lynch sent a justice department official to the city to assist with the violence, which seemingly appeared to progress without a response from police in the city’s West Baltimore community.
But Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony Batts said it’s because rioters outnumbered the force, according to the Washington Post. Rioters may have been able to make end runs around police using social media.
The Washington Post reports:
The possibility of Monday’s violence began to emerge about 10 a.m., when social-media users warned of large crowds, looting and rioting at Mondawmin Mall sometime after 2:30 p.m. or after school. Several people tweeted warnings and urged their Twitter followers to avoid the mall and to stay safe. Some businesses and universities said they were warned by police that the day could turn violent. Many businesses near the mall and others downtown closed early in anticipation of trouble.
Police commissioner Anthony Batts said between 250 and 300 officers mobilized at the mall, across from Frederick Douglass High School, around the time the students were dismissed. But there were too many students in the area and throwing cinder blocks, bricks and other debris, he said…
“They just outnumbered us and outflanked us,” Batts said. “We needed to have more resources there.”