The city of Baltimore is reeling after a night of looting, fires and arrests following the funeral of 25-year-old Freddie Gray, who died last week after sustaining a broken back while in police custody.
Large crowds mostly comprised of youth marched through the city, throwing rocks at businesses and police officers, setting fire to police cars and smashing windows. Approximately 200 demonstrators were arrested, 144 vehicles were set on fire and 15 buildings were torched, according to CNN. Six police officers were seriously injured. There are no reported injuries among the demonstrators.
As the riots began yesterday, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan declared a state of emergency. Yesterday afternoon, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake enacted a 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew, which goes into effect tonight through May 4 and applies to anyone who is not en route to or from work or who is seeking medical attention. All Baltimore public schools are closed today.
Gray’s family has condemned the violence sweeping through the city. “Don’t tear up the whole city just for him,” Gray’s mother, Gloria Darden, said at a press conference. “That’s just wrong.”
But Baltimore Councilman Nick Mosby said that the riots and looting are not just for Freddie Gray. He told Fox News that this is a result of an economic system that has failed “urban America” as a whole. Mosby said that the young people who have taken to the streets have been oppressed for years and are victims of limited opportunities, such as lack of education and lack of community development. “This is bigger than Freddie Gray,” he said. “This is about the social economics of poor urban America. And these young guys are frustrated. They’re upset.”
Rawlings-Blake said that the city would conduct a thorough investigation of Gray’s death, and last week, the Department of Justice announced that it would be launching a criminal probe into the case to see whether any civil rights violations were committed. The police department has yet to issue an official statement.