Gov. Larry Hogan promises more than 1,000 additional troops, vows to prevent rioting

and Contact ReporterThe Baltimore Sun
Gov. Larry Hogan vows to bring peace to streets of riot-torn Baltimore.

Gov. Larry Hogan vowed Tuesday to bring peace to the streets of Baltimore, announcing more than 1,000 additional National Guard troops would arrive in the city to quell potential unrest.

"We're going to bring whatever resources are necessary, whatever assets are necessary, whatever manpower is necessary to let the citizens of Baltimore know that their neighborhoods are going to be safe," Hogan told reporters at a noon press conference. 

"We're not going to have another repeat of what happened last night," he said. "It's not going to happen tonight."

Hogan said New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a political ally of the new Republican governor, would sent 150 troopers plus additional resources to Baltimore.

The governor planned to tour the destruction from Monday's riots by helicopter Tuesday afternoon and survey the forces already on the ground in the city. 

The announcement comes amid questions about whether the state should have acted sooner to curb violence,  Monday afternoon, which began with a confrontation between high school students and police in riot gear near Mondawmin mall around 3 p.m.  The rioting quickly turned to looting and spread, with more than 144 cars set ablaze and 15 building fires before the evening ended.

It took more than three hours before Hogan declared a state of emergency and activated the National Guard, but Hogan said Tuesday he was ready to do that days earlier.  He said he waited for word from Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.

Hogan told reporters he called the mayor "multiple times" after violence broke out Monday and marshaled resources to be ready as soon as she asked for an executive order.  A Hogan spokesman said the executive order declaring a state of emergency was written and awaiting Hogan's signature since Saturday morning. 

"We didn't think it was appropriate to come in and take over the city without the request of the mayor," Hogan said.

The governor met with leaders of the faith community and the NAACP Tuesday afternoon and promised to help the city rebuild.

"Whatever resources are necessary from a federal, state and local level, we will provide," Hogan said, although he would not commit to seeking federal disaster aid.

Earlier in the day, Hogan visited with National Guard troops and police and held a 7:45 a.m. news conference outside the Western District police station in which he promised assistance to city officials.

“This violence will not be tolerated,” Hogan said. “We are going to bring in all the assets and all the support we need to make sure the citizens of Baltimore are safe and we bring peace to the city.”

Hogan said the outbreak of rioting Monday after the funeral of Freddie Gray – the 25-year-old man whose death of injuries received in police custody sparked the unrest – “shocked a lot of people.”

The governor said 95 percent of the people who protested Gray’s treatment were peacefully “expressing their frustrations.”

Hogan blamed the looting, burning and rock-throwing that erupted Monday on “gangs of thugs whose only intent was to bring violence and destruction to the city.”

However, the governor also continued to question the city administration's response time in asking the state for assistance Monday.

"A lot of this stuff took place before we were called in," he said. "Things are going to be different today."

Hogan demurred when asked whether the police treatment of Gray, who died of spinal injuries a week after his April 12 arrest, deserved equal condemnation.

The governor said he still wants answers about Gray’s death. He said he has met with religious leaders, the NAACP and the American Civil Liberties Union to discuss issues in Baltimore but stressed that the immediate need was to bring violence under control.

"Today we're dealing with stopping the violence and protecting the people of the city," he said.

State Police Superintendent William M. Pallozzi said state and county law enforcement officers were in Baltimore to help the city police. He declined to give an estimate of their numbers, though Hogan put the figure in the "thousands."

Pallozzi said Maryland National Guard troops will be used in a support role.

"It has to be done strategically," he said.

Hogan said he is running the state government out of Baltimore until further notice. 

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