Baltimore police had riot equipment on order as unrest spread

Police ordered 200 shields during rioting.

Even as unrest and looting were breaking out across the city on the day of Freddie Gray's funeral, Baltimore police were waiting for riot equipment that was on order, emails obtained by The Baltimore Sun show.

In an email update sent at 7:21 p.m. April 27, Thomas Moore, who was then chief financial officer for the police department, detailed a list of gear that was being deployed, including 259 masks sent to the Western district. Another 474 mask packs were ready to be distributed, and another 1,000 had been ordered, Moore wrote.

He said 17 riot bags were assembled and pepper spray canisters were ordered.

"Working on having 200 shields delivered from manufacturer for tomorrow delivery, Wednesday latest," Moore wrote. Officials had sought an additional "20 riot shields" on April 26.

In the hours after the rioting. Henry Raymond, the city's finance director, approved the purchase of thousands of pieces of equipment.

"Approved," Raymond wrote in an email with a 4:01 a.m. April 28 timestamp. His email was in response to a request for 1,000 pairs of "protective riot gloves," 1,000 pieces of chest, leg and arm protection items, 1,000 riot shields and 1,000 baton rings, among other items.

Gray's death from injuries obtained while in police custody sparked days of mass demonstrations in Baltimore.

Before the protests turned violent, one member of the police department emailed fellow officers as he looked for his riot helmet.

"Missing riot helmet," Phillip Tabron wrote in the subject line of an email sent at 11:19 a.m. April 24.

"Did anyone in the Northern District remove my riot helmet from my locker if so please return. Thanks," Tabron wrote.

Sun reporters Kevin Rector and Ian Duncan contributed to this article.

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