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After the protests, calm sought for Freddie Gray's burial

After the protests, calm ought for #FreddieGray burial Monday

As Freddie Gray's family prepared to bury him on Monday, officials reiterated their calls for calm after a massive demonstration on Saturday left some businesses and cars vandalized, 35 people arrested and a city on edge over the 25-year-old's death from injuries sustained in police custody.

"I got so many calls and messages last night and this morning from people who certainly expressed frustration and grief about the tragic death of Freddie Gray but wanted to also explain how heartbroken they were that our city was vandalized by a small group of individuals," Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said Sunday.

Rawlings-Blake was joined at an evening press conference at Bethel AME Church by community and religious leaders and Rep. Elijah Cummings, who reminded the public that Gray's family had pleaded for peace.

"I haven't come here to ask you to respect wishes of the family," Cummings said Sunday. "I've come here to beg you."

Cummings said the violence "becomes a distraction," drawing attention from Gray's family and those fighting to make reforms.

Gray was arrested April 12 after making eye contact with officers and fleeing from them. While in custody, he suffered a severed spine and crushed voicebox, and died a week later. Daily protests culminated Saturday with a large and mostly peaceful gathering that turned destructive on the west side and outside Camden Yards, where fans attending a game against the Boston Red Sox were temporarily not allowed to leave for safety fears.

Rawlings-Blake reminded residents that they were in the national spotlight.

"But we define ourselves by how we respond, and I hope that as the eyes of the country are on Baltimore, that we see very clearly that this is a community that's willing to confront tough issues, that's willing to demand accountability, but also demands peace and progress at the same time," she said.

On Sunday, Gray's family held a viewing at the Vaughn Greene funeral home in Govans that drew both those who knew him and those who simply have been moved by what happened to him.

On Monday, after a one-hour public visitation, Gray's services are scheduled for 11 a.m. at New Shiloh Baptist Church, 2100 N. Monroe St. Burial will follow at Woodlawn Cemetery, 2130 Woodlawn Drive.

The family is accepting donations at gofundme.com/thefreddiegrayfund or The Harbor Bank of Maryland, 25 W. Fayette St., Baltimore 21201.

President Barack Obama will send three aides to represent his administration at the funeral services, the White House said Sunday.

Broderick Johnson, assistant to the president and Cabinet secretary, who also chairs the administration's My Brother's Keeper task force, will attend. Johnson, a Baltimore native, will be joined by Heather Foster, an adviser in the Office of Public Engagement, and Elias Alcantara, with the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs.

Police released the names of the 31 adults who, along with four juveniles, were arrested during Saturday's protests. Among the various charges were disorderly conduct, assaulting a police officer, malicious destruction of property, throwing rocks, rioting, theft and failure to obey an order.

Six officers suffered minor injuries during the protests, police said.

Despite police Commissioner Anthony W. Batts' insistence that a minority of out-of-town instigators caused the violence, online court records showed that only three of those arrested during Saturday's protests were from outside Maryland. Police said not every outbreak of criminal activity led to an arrest, and that they still believe there were "outside agitators" in the crowd.

In an internal email to officers, Batts called the department's response to the protests "scary good."

"In more than 30 years of law enforcement experience, I've been involved in many protests. Today, the restraint, professionalism, and attention to duty you demonstrated were nothing short of remarkable," Batts wrote in an email obtained by The Baltimore Sun. "I am proud and truly humbled to lead this organization. You stood tall in the face of challenge after challenge and you were a credit to the city and your families today."

Batts in his email said these "have been challenging days and there may be more ahead," but he encouraged his officers to keep doing what they have been doing.

"We will be tested, and as today showed, many will try to provoke you just to record a response. Don't give it to them," he wrote. "Once again today, we represented Baltimore on a world-wide stage, and you did so in a very impressive manner."

Batts said media "across the country commented on your calm and restraint in the face of extraordinary circumstances," and asked his team to remain calm and work together.

"I'm proud, your Command Staff is proud, you should be proud of the honor your actions brought to the badge today," Batts wrote. "You all were scary good."

Clergy embraced Gray's family on Sunday. Members of Empowerment Temple Church of Baltimore, responding to an emotional service in the morning, donated money toward Gray's funeral services.

With his family in the pews, more than half of the hundreds of congregants approached the altar and offered alms after their pastor, Rev. Jamal H. Bryant, delivered a sermon touching on their loss as well as issues of police misconduct and the demonstrations Saturday.

"I told the family that with everything they're dealing with, I do not want on their plate trying to figure out how to pay for the funeral," Bryant told the congregation. "I told them Empowerment Temple was going to step up to the plate."

Bryant has been at the forefront of efforts to call city officials to task for Gray's death, leading rallies and calling for the six officers involved in Gray's arrest to be criminally charged. But he was also among the religious leaders calling for peace.

Bryant asked his congregation to applaud efforts of "good police officers ... who put their lives on the line to help protect our community." The congregation responded with a standing ovation.

But he sharply criticized what he called "corrupt" police and city officials, saying Gray's death and the circumstances surrounding it have exposed city failings that must be fully investigated. He did not name any official specifically.

Other officials also decried how a mostly peaceful day was marred by vandalism, and shopkeepers began cleaning up the mess on Sunday.

"I was encouraged to see that the vast majority of the protesters and the protests themselves where peaceful and represented the strong character of Baltimore City," Gov. Larry Hogan said in a statement Sunday. "Unfortunately, those few who engaged in acts of violence only worked to betray the cause of the many law-abiding citizens who are simply seeking answers and justice in the death of Freddie Gray."

Aides said Hogan monitored Saturday's protests and was in contact with state police and Maryland Emergency Management. Hogan senior adviser Keiffer Mitchell, a former state delegate and city councilman and scion of a family of civil rights leaders, spoke to the mayor on Sunday and again offered the state's help in the coming days, aides said.

Similarly, City Council President Bernard C. "Jack" Young issued a statement decrying "pockets of ruffians" who marred an otherwise peaceful demonstration and asking "anyone not interested in peacefully seeking justice to please leave our city." He also thanked the protesters who tried to intervene when others started to break the law.

"We all have a constitutional right to peacefully assemble and protest," he said in a statement. "But we do not, however, have a right to visit destruction and harm upon the innocent," said Sunday in a statement.

U.S. Senator Barbara A. Mikulski, a Maryland Democrat, echoed the Gray family, clergy and other leaders in calling for no more violence.

"We need the facts to ensure justice for Freddie Gray and to restore faith in the practices and procedures of law enforcement in our community," she said in a statement. "We must not allow an already tragic situation to tear our community apart."

On Sunday, police apologized to two journalists, saying that in the confusion and chaos they were "inadvertently detained."

A photographer for the Baltimore City Paper was thrown to the ground by Baltimore police officers and released without any charges. A photographer for Reuters was detained and released with a criminal citation that has since been recalled.

The incidents occurred near the Western District police station, the journalists said, as they were covering a particularly tense standoff between protesters, who were throwing rocks, and helmeted police officers, who wielded shields and batons.

J.M. Giordano, the photo editor at City Paper, said he was hit in the head with multiple police shields, had his "face pretty much smushed down on the ground," and sustained multiple bruises after several officers rushed at him as he shot pictures.

"They just took me down," he said.

The City Paper is owned by the Baltimore Sun Media Group, whose spokeswoman, Renee Mutchnik, issued a statement saying: "We take seriously the right of the press to fairly and accurately cover events such as the protests that occurred yesterday in Baltimore. We are looking into the incident and are reaching out to the Baltimore Police Department to begin a constructive dialogue to express our concerns about what happened to our photographer."

The Reuters photographer, Sait Serkan Gurbuz, was in the same area and cited for failing to obey police orders. A spokeswoman for the wire service said Gurbuz was on a public sidewalk and should not have been cited.

Police said they will continue to make sure the media have access "whenever possible."

Sun reporters Kevin Rector, Yvonne Wenger, Luke Broadwater and John Fritze contributed to this article.

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