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December 16, 2017
Monday, April 27, 2015

Violence erupts after funeral of Baltimore man who died in custody

Rioters hurled bricks, looted businesses and set fires in Baltimore in violence that injured at least seven police officers following the funeral of a 25-year-old black man who died after he was injured in police custody.

The disturbances broke out just a few blocks from the funeral of Freddie Gray and then spread through parts of Baltimore in the most violent US demonstrations since looting in Ferguson, Missouri, last year.

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan declared a state of emergency and activated the National Guard as firefighters tried to extinguish fires set by looters and rioters with baseball bats.

Gray's death on April 19 reignited a public outcry over police treatment of African Americans that flared last year after the killings of unarmed black men in Ferguson, New York City and elsewhere.

After more than an hour of mayhem, hundreds of police moved into glass-strewn streets where the worst of the violence had taken place and used pepper spray on rioters who had sacked check-cashing and liquor stores.

Police and news helicopters buzzed overhead and older community leaders tried to calm down mostly young rioters and prevent clashes with the police. Rioters cut a fire department hose while firefighters fought a fire at a CVS pharmacy looted earlier, the Baltimore Police said.

An Orioles baseball game was canceled and schools, businesses and train stations shut down in the city of 662,000 people 64 km from the nation's capital.

"All this had to happen, people getting tired of the police killing the young black guys for no reason. ... It is a sad day but it had to happen," said Tony Luster, 40, who is on disability and was out on the street watching the police line.

A string of deadly confrontations between mostly white police and black men, and the violence it has prompted, will be among the challenges facing US Attorney General Loretta Lynch, who was sworn in today.

Following her swearing in, Lynch signaled that improving relations between police and the communities they protect will be high on her agenda.

"We can restore trust and faith both in our laws and in those of us who enforce them," she said.

At the White House, while scenes of the riots were broadcast at 5:00 p.m., Lynch briefed Obama. Print and broadcast reporters, kept out of the White House meeting, protested their exclusion.

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Tags:  US  Baltimore  Gray  protests  





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