WASHINGTON — Democratic Maryland senators Barbara Mikulski and Ben Cardin called upon the Justice Department for an independent investigation into the Baltimore City Police’s handling of Freddie Gray Monday.
“First of all, we’re very concerned, Senator Cardin and I, about the situation in Baltimore. We’re both concerned very much about Freddie Gray and making sure justice is done,” Mikulski told reporters.
“And in order for justice to be done we have asked for an independent investigation by the Justice Department to say what happened. And therefore once that is determined then whatever comes out of that investigation should go forward.”
Cardin confirmed that the DOJ is moving forward on their request.
“Then, there’s what happened Saturday night and what’s happening today. This is terrible. About 300 high school students, primarily from one high school, acted out after school. It’s a very regrettable,” Mikulski said, noting the “violence toward the police” and “toward private property,” as well as the “disrespect for Freddie Gray.”
Gray, a 25-year-old black man, died recently after suffering injuries he received during detainment by Baltimore police following an arrest. Anti-police protests followed his death and riots broke out on Saturday and continued again Monday following Gray’s funeral.
“He was laid to rest today in an enormously dignified way. But of the 300 kids that rioted, 85,000 children went home. So we think the mayor is working closely with the governor to do riot control and crowd control. In our conversation, we are waiting for the mayor to tell us what other help she might need from the federal government,” said Mikulski.
Cardin added, “We are extremely disappointed about the violence that has taken place in Baltimore by a few. It’s certainly a small number, considering the people who are out on the streets are expressing their concern about what happened and that justice is received.”
When asked by The Daily Caller about the seven police officers that were injured on Monday and how each senator could claim the protests were “peaceful,” Mikulski replied:
“The majority of the protests were peaceful. That was on Saturday. Today there was no protest. Freddie Gray was laid to rest at a funeral that had an enormous dignity to it. What has happened is after the protest on Saturday vandalism broke out.”
She explained, “Today after school, vandalism broke out for one high school, so we think there’s a great effort to bring the violence and vandalism under control. We need to get to the Justice Department investigation and longer-range solutions to some of the deeper issues related to property in our city.”
Mikulski says she is in touch with the mayor and school superintendent and that Governor Larry Hogan is “in touch with the mayor to determine appropriate strategy and tactics.”