Johns Hopkins to study Baltimore's response to April unrest

Baltimore's Board of Estimates authorized $50,000 Wednesday for researchers from the Johns Hopkins University to conduct an "after-action review" of the city's response to the civil unrest in April.

Through a sole-source contract, the city is hiring the school's Critical Event Preparedness and Response Office to conduct an analysis of how city agencies responded to the looting and arson that occurred after the funeral for Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man who suffered a severe spinal cord injury in police custody.


The Hopkins review will be in addition to an after-action report being conducted by the Police Executive Research Forum.

The Hopkins review will not focus on police actions but on how other emergency operations were run, said Howard Libit, a spokesman for Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.

"It's looking at everything outside of immediate law enforcement: fire, Health Department, transportation, public works, mutual assistance agreements, etc." Libit said. "We're not waiting for the final report to start making improvements."

Libit said the review should be completed by October.

Rawlings-Blake has said that she and other city leaders are still not sure who ordered state-run buses and subway stations to be shut down the day rioting broke out near Mondawmin Mall.

Some, including local teachers, have suggested that the decision to shut down public transportation near the mall April 27, the day of Gray's funeral, escalated tensions because students were stranded with no ride home from school. Rioting later erupted across the city.

Baltimore's police union also has conducted an after-action review that blamed police leadership for not being aggressive enough during the unrest and failing to stop property damage.