Demonstrators lit a police car on fire at Penn and North Avenue. Another cut the fire hose as firefighters battled the blaze.
Watching his city in flames during the riots of April 27, 2015, was "heartbreaking," for community organizer Ray Kelly, who says he tried to calm folks down as he stood between demonstrators and police, cobblestones flying overhead. The chaos, violence and looting broke out on the day of the funeral for Freddie Gray, who died a week earlier from injuries sustained in police custody.
A group of students just out of school clashed with police officers in riot gear at Mondawmin Mall. As night fell, looters took stores and pharmacies, including a Save-A-Lot and Rite Aid in Bolton Hill, loading up cars with stolen goods. Several officers were injured in clashes.
Smoke rose from the CVS that had been looted and set on fire. Federal authorities later said that a third of the cities pharmacies were looted that night. Nearly 315,000 doses of drugs were stolen, including powerful opioids. Police said in the aftermath that the looted drugs contributed to a continued spike in violence in the city.
U.S. District Judge George L. Russell III is presiding over a suit merchants filed against Baltimore for damages to their businesses in the 2015 Freddie Gray riot. In a historical twist — or perhaps conflict of interest? — his father was city solicitor who in 1968 argued the city wasn't liable.
The night of the riots, bail bondsman Donald C. Stepp said, the police officer showed up at his house with bags full of looted drugs. That officer, Sgt. Wayne Jenkins, has pleaded guilty to federal racketeering charges.
Kelly serves on the community oversight task force for the consent decree, and said the progress is slow — but encouraging. "We're finally at a point of seeing the possibility of change," he said.
But, he adds, "Three years later — we're not there yet."
On the third anniversary of the riots, take a look at some Baltimore Sun coverage of the day and its aftermath: