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Baltimore mayor concerned over 'misinformation' about Friday

Baltimore mayor discusses peace efforts with Gray family lawyer, faith leaders.

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said Wednesday she's working with Freddie Gray's family and faith leaders to clear up "misinformation" that could lead to further unrest.

Outside a church in West Baltimore, the mayor stood with Hassan Murphy, a lawyer for the Gray family, and the Rev. Jamal H. Bryant to discuss efforts to push for peace this week.

The group addressed reporters after meeting in a confidential session to discuss plans to prepare for Friday, a date when some in the city may believe information will be released about Gray's death.

The police department is expected on that day to complete its investigation into fatal injuries Gray suffered while in police custody. The 25-year-old died earlier this month, but little has been said about the circumstances that led to his arrest and subsequent death.

Murphy said Gray's family called on the mayor Wednesday to convene a meeting of the leadership of the city. The group was also joined by Police Commissioner Anthony W. Batts, Public Works director Rudy Chow and others.

"We are grateful to her for being here and sharing with us what the plans are for the next several days to assure us all that this city is in great hands," Murphy said. "We stand by our mayor. The family stands by our mayor."

Murphy said Gray's family, which has been calling for peace, wants the investigation "to be carried out in a way that gets us to the right result, and not necessarily one that is rushed."

"This family wants justice and they want justice that comes at the right time, not too soon," Murphy said.

Rawlings-Blake said she's concerned about misinformation that's been spreading about what information may be available Friday. Batts stated early on that the Police Department would conclude its report then, and hand the findings over to prosecutors for potential charges. It's been unclear what, if anything, will be made public then.

"I had a chance to really lay some things on the line with them, answer questions," the mayor said of the meeting. "I thought it was very important for us to have a conversation about how we just don't seek justice but we make a pathway forward to have justice and peace."

She said she was grateful for the meeting and "the honesty" that was shared during it.

Bryant, a leading voice in the community working toward peace, said the meeting "under the cloak" of confidentiality helped ease fears.

The information shared also will allow those in attendance to be the mayor's "ambassadors going forward."

Bryant said he spent most of the morning going to high schools to address rumors that a verdict is due out Friday.

"It is our responsibility to make sure that misinformation is corrected," Bryant said. "The community is going to stand in lock step on Friday so that we do not have a repeat of what it is we saw on Monday."

Bryant said everyone in the city should work together for peace.

"It is our allegiance to the community that the world is going to see a better Baltimore than what we saw on Monday night," he said.

Earlier, Kevin Harris, a spokesman for Rawlings-Blake, said he is not expecting any charges to be announced Friday.

"What [the mayor is] hoping for Friday is to be able to turn over a solid and thorough investigation to the state's attorney's office, but also to be able to share any additional facts and details to the public that could shine some light on this.

"We don't know yet how far we'll be able to go or how much we'll be able to do, but that is our hope."

Harris said the state's attorney's investigation isn't starting Friday when they get the documents. It's been ongoing, he said.

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