Emails and documents released Monday by Baltimore officials depict a chaotic situation within city government before, during and after rioting broke out on April 27, with rumors flying, communication breaking down and leadership being questioned.
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said Tuesday that more than 7,000 emails released by her office show Baltimore wasn't completely prepared for April's rioting. The mayor said city officials are learning from the chaos and working to improve.
The documents depict a chaotic situation within city government before, during and after rioting broke out April 27, with rumors flying, communication breaking down and leadership questioned. The emails were released in response to a public information request filed by The Baltimore Sun.
R&B megastar Rihanna wanted to come to Baltimore in the week after rioting broke out to walk with protesters and perform a free concert, emails released Monday show.
Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake wanted to lift the curfew put in place after rioting broke out in Baltimore, but faced opposition from Gov. Larry Hogan, according to an email released Monday.
Nearly a week after Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake instituted a curfew in Baltimore following rioting and looting — and just one day before she lifted it — top mayoral aides were concerned about her safety amid a growing community tension.
Officials in Maryland worried that out-of-town protest leader Malik Shabazz would incite violence at a protest planned the weekend after rioting wracked Baltimore, newly released documents show, and had been monitoring his activities in the city for a week.
The street, sidewalk, benches and steps were considered "home" to Baltimore's homeless population during the post-riot curfew, according to city officials.
In the early morning hours of April 28, as portions of the city still simmered after a night of rioting and looting, police commanders were sent an email outlining their assignments for the day — and the department's list of priorities.
Even as unrest and looting were breaking out across the city on the day of Freddie Gray's funeral, Baltimore police were waiting for riot equipment that was on order, emails obtained by The Baltimore Sun show.
These emails show the barrage of messages Anthony Batts was receiving as the spotlight on Baltimore grew. Batts didn't shield himself from such feedback — the emails show he had set up Google news alerts for his own name, the Baltimore Police Department, and City of Baltimore to receive notifications when news stories were posted.
Former Police Commissioner Anthony W. Batts commended the city's officers for their "restraint, professionalism, and attention to duty" in the handling of the protests before the rioting on April 27.
Baltimore officials compiled a spreadsheet listing suspicious Twitter and other social media postings from the day rioting broke out, newly released documents show.
As anger permeated Baltimore following Freddie Gray's death in police custody, then-Police Commissioner Anthony W. Batts told reporters that he met with the 25-year-old's family. But on April 24, William H. Murphy, Jr., the attorney hired by Gray's family, sent a terse letter to Batts. "It has come to our attention that you made statements claiming to have met with the family of Freddie Gray, Jr. about the investigation into his death," Murphy wrote.
One week after rioting and looting ripped through Baltimore, Korean merchants whose businesses had been damaged organized a meeting at a church in Columbia. They wanted to hear directly from the Baltimore Police department about what was being done, and they got their wish — in part thanks to the interest of Maryland's First Lady Yumi Hogan.
On April 28 — just hours before the first nightly curfew would go into effect in Baltimore — Nathan Willner wrote an email to a neighborhood liaison in the office of Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake thanking her for "verbally authorizing" volunteers with the Jewish safety patrol groups Shomrim and Chaverim to be out past 10 p.m.