Demonstrators vandalized the Fraternal Order of Police Baltimore City Lodge 3 building Saturday night in North Baltimore.
The group started the evening in Hampden for an event advertised on social media as a sit-in in solidarity with protesters in Portland, Oregon, where federal agents fired tear gas to break up recent protests.
Protesters marched through the streets chanting “Black Lives Matter” and shouted the names of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, two Black people who both were killed by police and their deaths later turned into an igniting flame for city and nationwide protests.
The crowd of nearly 100 demonstrators then made their way to the Baltimore Police FOP Lodge on Buena Vista Avenue.
The group spray-painted the building and sidewalks with “Defund BPD” and other anti-police messages. An American flag was burned at the scene.
Demonstrators sprayed “Am I Next” in the middle of the street, a slogan coined following protests in the Black Lives Matter movement.
In a response posted to Twitter Sunday morning, police union President Mike Mancuso described the people who tagged the headquarters as “anarchists” and “losers.”
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“This was an attack on not only our building but also on the men and women of the Baltimore Police Department, both active and retired,” Mancuso wrote.
Several police officers and vehicles arrived to the scene and a stand-off between demonstrators and police persisted. As officers blocked protesters’ access to the FOP building parking lot when they arrived, leftover burned pieces of an American flag was placed on top of graffiti reading “Defund BPD” at the feet of a Baltimore police officer.
A Baltimore police helicopter hovered above demonstrators for nearly 40 minutes. The crowd eventually dispersed before the Maryland State Police arrived to the scene.
“There is an active and ongoing investigation into this act of vandalism and destruction of property,” Police Commissioner Michael Harrison said in a statement. “While we will continue to engage with our communities to create and repair community-police relations and protect the First Amendment rights of our residents, we will absolutely not tolerate acts of vandalism and will hold these offenders accountable.”
This was one of several demonstrations held in the city. The demonstration contrasted a “Walk Away” protest organized by conservatives and supporters of President Donald Trump earlier Saturday afternoon. The demonstration, led by Brandon Straka, had criticized tactics of protesters and organizers throughout the country over recent months,
Some protests in Baltimore have amassed to thousands and many of the organizers have coordinated events during the day.
Baltimore activists have worked to be strategic in the city with keeping protests in the city peaceful but still getting their message across against police brutality.