Riots broke out in Baltimore Saturday. The violence erupted during a protest over the death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man who was arrested by local authorities almost two weeks ago and died of a spinal cord injury while in the custody of police.
According to reports, authorities did not engage protesters, who were numbered around a thousand, for several hours. However, as the march continued, tempers flared outside three bars when a dispute happened at an outdoor café, The Washington Post reports. The outside dining area was trashed as bottles and other objects were thrown. Soon, demonstrators began smashing police cruisers’ windows.
“We have isolated pockets of people from out of town causing disturbances downtown,” a tweet from the Baltimore Police Department stated.
One witnesses told the Post that law enforcement, who were not in riot gear, barely became involved and “just stood there” as the violence escalated at the intersection of Camden and Pratt streets in Camden Yards. Baltimore City Police say 34 protesters were arrested and six officers suffered minor injuries.
Gray was arrested on April 12 after police chased him on foot through Baltimore housing complexes. Five days after Gray’s death, police confirmed that errors were made and Gray should have received medical attention. One week after the arrest, Gray passed away and days of protests ensued.
Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake tweeted a brief statement. “Thx 2 those who have worked to press for peace during these protests. Concerned about the violence and those who want to destroy our city,” she said. The mayor expected to hold a press conference Thursday night. Governor Larry Hogan is skipping the the White House Correspondence Dinner, The Sun reports, to monitor the situation.