Rioting In Baltimore While ‘Nerd Prom’ Rages 40 Miles Away In DC

Chuck Ross Investigative Reporter
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As hundreds of journalists, politicians and celebrities hobnobbed Saturday at the annual White House Correspondents Dinner — which has been dubbed “Nerd Prom” — looting and rioting broke out just 40 miles down the road in Baltimore.

Demonstrators gathered near Baltimore’s city hall early Saturday to protest the death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man who died a week after being arrested by police on April 12.

Gray suffered a severe spinal injury after being arrested following a foot pursuit. Gray’s family, Baltimore citizens and civil rights activists have cited the case as yet another unjustified police-involved death. Baltimore’s police commissioner admitted on Friday that Gray did not receive proper medical care following his arrest. (RELATED: The 8 Most Astonishing Details Behind Freddie Gray’s Inexplicable Death)

By afternoon, protesters issuing chants of “No Justice, No Peace” made their way from city hall to Baltimore’s baseball stadium, Camden Yards. There, violence and riot-like conditions broke out. Both police and non-police vehicles had their windows smashed by agitators and the windows of businesses were shattered.

Protesters were also filmed attacking innocent bystanders near Camden Yards.

Meanwhile, approximately an hour’s drive to the south, the media elite rubbed shoulders with celebrities and politicians gathered together for “Nerd Prom” — the obnoxious moniker for the black-tie event hosted each year by the White House Correspondents’ Association.

While the event has always been a big draw for journalists and their guests, the frenzy surrounding it has reached new heights during President Obama’s presidency, largely because of the rise of social media and because of pro-Obama Hollywood celebrities’ eagerness to appear at the event.

Roland Martin, a former CNN contributor and host at News One commented on what he called a “juxtaposition” between the Beltway event and the agitation unfolding simultaneously in Baltimore.

The presence of Washington Post’s law enforcement, justice, and race reporter Wesley Lowery highlighted that juxtaposition. Lowery, who often openly criticizes law enforcement on Twitter, made a name for himself by reporting from Ferguson, Mo. during the protests over the police-involved shooting death of Michael Brown. But he too graced Nerd Prom’s red carpet even as Baltimore erupted.

Numerous Twitter users reminded Lowery of the disparity, which he did acknowledge.

Amid the violence unfolding on Baltimore’s streets, White House Correspondents’ Dinner attendees will begin with a first course consisting of a terrine of jumbo lump crabmeat, a jicama, mango, pepitas and baby oak salad served with house-made buttermilk green goddess dressing.

Entrée selections include smoked paprika rubbed filet, foraged wild mushroom ragout, pancetta and gala apple demi complimented with seared Alaskan halibut, mascarpone cheese stone grits, along with jumbo peeled asparagus and roasted baby bell peppers.

And of course, guests will have the choice of red or white. A 2011 Simi Valley Cabernet Sauvignon will be served as will a 2013 Chateau Ste. Michelle Chardonnay.

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