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Maryland to receive $1 million from DOJ for police overtime during Gray unrest

Maryland will receive more than $1 million in federal grant money to help pay for police overtime during the April unrest over the death of Freddie Gray.

U.S. Sens. Barbara A. Mikulski and Ben Cardin and Rep. Elijah E. Cummings on Thursday announced the grant funding, which will go to the Governor's Office of Crime Control and Prevention for distribution.

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The funding is small compared to the $19.4 million Gov. Larry Hogan requested in federal disaster aid. That request was twice rejected by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which deemed disaster funding "not appropriate for this event."

The $1 million announced Thursday comes from the Justice Department's Byrne Justice Assistance Grants program, the Maryland delegation said.

Mikulski, a Baltimore Democrat, is vice chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee and the Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Subcommittee, which fund the Department of Justice.

"While this funding is a fraction of the total cost incurred by the State of Maryland, I am pleased that the DOJ heeded our calls for assistance," Mikulski said in a statement. "I thank the men and women of Maryland's law enforcement community who worked tirelessly to protect our city."

The death of Gray, 25, from a spinal cord injury in police custody set off protests and later riots that prompted officials to declare a citywide curfew and call in the National Guard.

"These federal funds will help allow Baltimore area police departments, whose officers helped restore the peace, to continue to do their jobs helping our communities stay safe," Cardin said.

Cummings said the money "will help ensure that our law enforcement officers are appropriately compensated for their work" and called it "an important step toward helping the Baltimore Police Department become the elite of the elite in law enforcement."

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