Maryland Governor Larry Hogan declared a state of emergency on Monday, April 27, 2015 after riots in Baltimore became extremely dangerous.
The police began gearing up for violence on Monday afternoon after a rumor was spread across social media about a call for high school students to “purge”. This refers to the 2013 action horror movie, “The Purge”, during which all crimes are legal for 12 hours, and police, fire, and medical emergency services are unavailable.
Peaceful protesting turned into full out riots on the streets of Baltimore after local 25-year-old black male Freddie Gray was killed by police on Sunday, April 19, 2015. He died of a severe spinal cord injury. Police said Gray was trying to run away from the officers who were trying to arrest him.
Freshman Austen Weitman said, “These police situations are getting way out of hand. Too many defenseless criminals are getting killed when they are entitled to a fair trial.”
The officers then held Gray down and handcuffed him. Gray asked for medical help several times before being placed in the police van. He was also reportedly not buckled into a seat.
Gray was arrested for reasons that police have not yet disclosed. Authorities have not yet explained how or when Gray’s spine was injured.
The protests started out peaceful at first with about 1,000 people rallying at City Hall. The protests began a day after police said that Gray did not receive medical attention early enough after he was being taken into custody. Protesters vowed to “shut down” the city and chanted “no justice, no peace.”
The protests quickly turned into riots. People threw rocks at police, destroyed patrol cars and looted stores. Just hours after Gray’s funeral service, more people were seen throwing bricks, rocks and other objects at officers and patrol cars.
Demonstrators attacked a police car, leaping on the roof and hood, smashing windows. Another police car was later set on fire. Officers arrested several people as rioters looted stores such as a CVS, a check cashing store, a liquor store, and a cell phone store.
Freshman Eric Johnson said, “These riots have gotten way out of hand. This is not the right way to respectively protest. Protests shouldn’t turn into violent protests where local businesses get burned down and looted.”
One Baltimore mother was caught on video dragging out her son and beating him because he was taking part in the Baltimore riots.
“That mother knew what was best for her child. It was better for him to get smacked by his mom than get shot by the police or killed by others that were rioting,” said freshman Cherlean Darko.
Toya Grahm smacked her 16-year old son for being involved in the riots against police and businesses Monday afternoon.
“At that point I just lost it,” says Grahm. “I was shocked, I was angry, because you never want to see your child out there doing that.”
One-third of the neighborhoods that have been burned and looted live in poverty.
Thirty-four people were arrested that day and seven cops were injured. The mayor issued a city-wide curfew for a week from 10 P.M to 5 A.M. In total, there were nearly 200 arrests, 144 vehicles on fire, and 15 structures on fire.
The University of Maryland Baltimore shut down its campus, and the local school district closed down due to safety concerns.
The Baltimore Orioles scheduled Monday and Tuesday night games against the Chicago White Sox were both canceled due to riots about two miles away from the stadium. Wednesday’s game was moved to two o’clock and closed to the public. The weekend series against the Tampa Bay Rays was moved from Baltimore to St. Petersburg.
National Guard soldiers were set to be deployed in a two or three block radius of the neighborhood to stabilize it and make sure everything is okay.
Many are comparing these recent riots to the ones that happened in 1968.
The 1968 riots lasted eight days and, just like now, crowds filled the streets, burning and raiding local businesses. Eventually, the National Guard was sent to calm the situation.
The uprising in 1968 was caused because of Dr. Martin Luther King’s death on April 4. His death not only caused riots in Baltimore, but also 124 more cities in the United States. The riots in 1968, however, were much more violent. Six people lost their lives, 700 were injured, and more than 1,000 small businesses were destroyed.
Since April 23, police made 486 arrests related to Gray’s death. Since last Saturday, 113 police officers have been injured. Two hundred Baltimore businesses were lost in the April 27 protest alone, the worst night of the protests
President Barack Obama said, “There’s no excuse for the kind violence that we saw yesterday. It is counterproductive. When individuals get crowbars and start prying open doors to loot, they’re not protesting. They’re not making a statement. They’re stealing. When they burn down a building, they’re committing arson. And they’re destroying and undermining businesses and opportunities in their own communities. That robs jobs and opportunity from people in that area.”
Do you think the riots were necessary?
Yes, I think the riots were necessary.
No, I do not think the riots were necessary.
No, I think the people should have been more peaceful.