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Mayor cancels 'VIP' fundraiser amid Freddie Gray protests

Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings Blake, flanked by Police Deputy Commissioner Jerry Rodriguez (left) and Commissioner Anthony Batts (right) addresses the death of Freddie Gray, who was injured while in police custody.
Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings Blake, flanked by Police Deputy Commissioner Jerry Rodriguez (left) and Commissioner Anthony Batts (right) addresses the death of Freddie Gray, who was injured while in police custody. (Natalie Sherman, Baltimore Sun)

With tensions running high in Baltimore about Freddie Gray's death, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake's re-election campaign sent out an email Thursday inviting donors to a high-priced fundraiser next week.

But hours later, the Rawlings-Blake campaign abruptly canceled the fundraiser, after The Sun asked about the timing of the email.

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Campaign treasurer Charles G. Tildon III said Thursday the event was being canceled.

"The email reminder that went out Thursday had been automatically programmed weeks ago, and we regret that no one remembered to cancel before it was sent," he said in a statement. "Next week's fundraiser has been canceled."

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At about 1:30 p.m. Thursday, Rawlings-Blake's campaign sent out an email reminding supporters about the high-priced fundraiser she is holding next week.

The email provided details about an April 29 event at the Hippodrome Theatre. The VIP portion of the event, which costs $6,000, runs from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. when the $1,000 "host" guests can gain entry. People with $500 "guest" tickets can attend from 7:30-8:30 p.m.

The email was sent just hours before protesters descended on City Hall to speak out against police brutality after the treatment of Gray, who died from injuries suffered while in police custody.

Rawlings-Blake isn't the only city elected official raising campaign money. City Councilman Eric Costello held a fundraiser Wednesday at Ryleigh's Oyster in Mount Vernon that was attended by Rawlings-Blake, and Councilmen Nick Mosby and Brandon Scott, among others. City Councilman Carl Stokes has a fundraiser scheduled for next week.

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lbroadwater@baltsun.com

Twitter.com/lukebroadwater

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