Crowds of protesters took to the streets of Baltimore Friday evening, chanting outside police headquarters, marching to Harbor East and showing their frustration over yet another police killing in America.
The crowd started shortly after 6 p.m., coming to stand before the barricades set around police headquarters. The people called out, “say no no to the po po” and “these pigs have got to go!”
The youth activist group Good Kids Mad City had circulated a flyer online calling for people to gather downtown at the headquarters to mourn Daunte Wright. The 20-year-old Wright, who is Black, was shot and killed by a white police officer during a traffic stop Sunday afternoon in a suburb of Minneapolis.
Saquan Maxwell, of West Baltimore, said he’s tried to go to every protest in the city since a Minneapolis police officer killed George Floyd last May. He said police violence has caused deep wounds in families across the country.
“My whole life is a protest,” said Maxwell, a lacrosse coach at James McHenry Elementary Middle School. ”It’s trauma, generation trauma, that we’re fighting.”
Maxwell jumped on a protester’s truck and told the crowd to put their fists up.
“We were just out here a year ago for the same [expletive],” he said, referring to protests last summer after Floyd’s death.
The crowd answered him, their fists raised: “These racist cops have got to go!” One sign demanded “Justice for Daunte.” Cars passed and honked in support.
Baltimore Police officers kept back as the crowd marched down North President Street. Some protesters told each other not to interact with news reporters or officers. Some wore gas masks and tactical vests. A woman marched with her little dog. Police dispatchers estimated the crowd at around 130 people. As of 8:30 p.m., the march had been peaceful.
More and more people arrived riding bicycles, leading the crowd through the streets and blocking off intersections to cars as the people passed by. They marched on to Harbor East and shouted “fire fire gentrifier ... Black people used to live here!”
The protests come as former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin stands trial for the death of Floyd. Closing arguments are set for Monday.
Police said they pulled over Wright for driving with expired tags and tried to arrest him after finding he had an outstanding warrant. The warrant was for his failure to appear in court on charges that he fled from officers and possessed a gun without a permit during an encounter with Minneapolis police last June.
Gannon, the former chief, said Potter mistakenly fired her handgun when she meant to shoot her Taser. That explanation rings hollow to Wright’s family and supporters who have questioned how an officer could make such a mistake.
“After 26 years as a police officer, you know your gun is on your dominant side and your taser is on your non-dominant side. You know the weight difference of the gun vs. the taser. You know the color of the gun vs. the taser,” Crump wrote. “This shooting CANNOT be justified!”