Businesses Sue Baltimore For Leaving Them To Their Own Defenses During Riots

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Amber Randall Civil Rights Reporter
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Baltimore, Md. businesses filed a lawsuit against the city for failing to protect their property during the 2015 Freddie Gray riots.

Sixty plaintiffs joined the lawsuit alleging that the city and police department were inadequately prepared for the riots, leading to almost $13 million in damages to over 380 businesses, CBS Local Baltimore reported Thursday.

“The City and other Defendants failed them when they adopted a policy of restraint and issued stand-down orders, caring more about the public perception that they feared would result with increased police presence than preventing what were clearly preventable riots,” Peter K. Hwang, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said in a statement.

The Freddie Gray riots happened in 2015 after Gray died while in police custody. Protesters took to the streets, looting businesses and setting them on fire.

The plaintiffs argued that former Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake didn’t start the city’s emergency plan soon enough and that a city wide curfew was started too late to actually do any good. The lawsuit alleged that Baltimore police officers didn’t step in to stop the rioters.

“Even in locations where BCPD officers were present, business owners helplessly watched their stores being looted and destroyed as BCPD officers also simply watched and/or turned away, and let the destruction of property continue,” the lawsuit claimed.

The lawsuit names former Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, current Mayor Catherine Pugh, the Baltimore police department and other city officials. The Baltimore police department said it does not comment on pending litigation. Pugh did not return The Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment in time for publication.

The lawsuit seeks an undefined amount of money.

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