A small group gathered outside Baltimore police headquarters downtown Friday morning to protest the spate of killings across the city, including the death of a mother of eight who called police about bullies who threatened her son.
The rally was organized by Christina Flowers, a homeless advocate, and attended by several local pastors. It was prompted by the killing of Charmaine Wilson. The 37-year-old mother called police Monday night after one of her sons had been bullied and his bike seat was stolen. She was shot to death later that night.
"We need city leadership," said Flowers. She said police and the mayor have not done enough to prevent violence, and that they failed to help Wilson.
After her death, Police Commissioner Kevin Davis and Mayor Catherine Pugh spoke at City Hall, asking for the community's support to speak up about the killing and other crimes.
"We want to protect anybody who wants to come forward," Pugh said on Wednesday.
But Flowers and the others who gathered Friday said the city's leaders have not expressed a focused plan to address the escalating violence across the city.
There have been 159 homicides in Baltimore this year.
"This is people's lives. People's lives are at stake," Flowers said. The group of about six people planned to march from police headquarters to City Hall to raise awareness to city leaders about the "frustration" and "fear" felt by many residents, she said.
They carried white poster board signs that read, "We Stand For Ending Homicides" and "No Justice No Peace."
The Rev. Andre Humphrey, who leads the Trauma Response Team, a group that offers grief counseling to Baltimore families, also joined the group Friday morning. He expressed concern about the "vicious cycle" of trauma that will overcome families in the aftermath of the recent violence.
"We need a change," he said.