Former Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony W. Batts said Wednesday night that officers "took a knee" after the April riots following the death of Freddie Gray, allowing crime to spike because they felt a lack of support from commanders.
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said Wednesday that city officials are preparing for protests as court hearings ramp up in the Freddie Gray case by coordinating with law enforcement agencies around the state, upgrading riot gear and conducting crowd control training.
Baltimore's tourism industry took a significant hit after rioting and unrest in April, with hotel room bookings down nearly 9 percent between last July and the end of June this year despite the major economic boon of the Star Spangled Spectacular and a rise in the number of conventions.
In the nearly 16 weeks since the Baltimore riots, nonprofits have infused at least $7 million into struggling city communities to address systemic problems they believe caused the city to erupt after Freddie Gray's death.
The syllabus for a new course at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law titled "Freddie Gray's Baltimore: Past, Present, and Moving Forward" aims a wide lens at the 25-year-old man's death and the "serious recent disturbances" that followed — which it says are "almost certainly not over."
Emails and documents obtained by The Baltimore Sun through a public records request provide an insider's look at the tumult surrounding the historic school — and Spikes' feverish efforts to maintain order inside it.
A racially diverse crowd gathered on the corner of Pennsylvania and North avenues Saturday afternoon, taking turns giving speeches against police brutality with the still-boarded CVS that burned in the April Freddie Gray rioting as a backdrop.
There have been many accounts of the city's response to riots on April 27th and the days following. In this last of Dr. Leana Wen's six-column series, she shares the story of the Baltimore City Health Department's immediate response and ongoing recovery efforts.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency, after shooting down the state's request for disaster aid for the second time last week, said there are other avenues Maryland can pursue to cover costs associated with rioting that broke out after the death of Freddie Gray.
Even before the unrest in April — before people set fire to several city neighborhoods, before homicides reached highs not seen in decades, before local, state and federal law enforcement leaders set up a "war room" to target the most violent criminals — Baltimore was already a hotbed of activity for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
As Baltimore remained under curfew following riots over Freddie Grays' death, hackers who sympathized with protesters on the streets targeted city government and a cyber attack knocked out its website, according to newly released documents.
The federal government has denied an appeal from the state over disaster aid, leaving in place an earlier decision denying millions of dollars to help pay for costs associated with rioting that broke out after the death of Freddie Gray.
By the time the scene of a police shooting in the 200 block of S. Augusta Avenue in Irvington was cleared, four onlookers had been arrested — one after being Tased — in what Interim Police Commissioner Kevin Davis would later describe as an "emotionally charged moment."
As anger permeated Baltimore following Freddie Gray's death in police custody, then-Police Commissioner Anthony W. Batts told reporters that he met with the 25-year-old's family. But on April 24, William H. Murphy, Jr., the attorney hired by Gray's family, sent a terse letter to Batts. "It has come to our attention that you made statements claiming to have met with the family of Freddie Gray, Jr. about the investigation into his death," Murphy wrote.
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.
One week after rioting and looting ripped through Baltimore, Korean merchants whose businesses had been damaged organized a meeting at a church in Columbia. They wanted to hear directly from the Baltimore Police department about what was being done, and they got their wish — in part thanks to the interest of Maryland's First Lady Yumi Hogan.
The union representing state transit police in Baltimore says commanders and agency administrators made "detrimental and disturbing" decisions that endangered officers during April's riots — adding another layer of criticism about the response by law enforcement leaders.
Just hours after Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake chose Deputy Commissioner Kevin Davis to take over the city's troubled Police Department, the two were at the Western District station to address officers at the 10 p.m. roll call. The message was clear: Rawlings-Blake intends to work side-by-side with her hand-picked replacement for ousted Commissioner Anthony W. Batts to tackle Baltimore's surging violence.
The union representing police officers in Baltimore released findings from its independent "after action review" of the police response to rioting in the city following the death of Freddie Gray. The 32-page review stated that officers claimed "that they lacked basic riot equipment, training, and, as events unfolded, direction from leadership," and that "the passive response ... allowed the disorder to grow into full scale rioting."
Public interest in the prosecution of six Baltimore police officers charged in the arrest and death of Freddie Gray will make it impossible to seat an impartial jury in the city in time for their trials in October, their attorneys argued in a new court filing Monday.