Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said Tuesday that more than 7,000 emails released by her office show Baltimore wasn't completely prepared for April's rioting. The mayor said city officials are learning from the chaos and working to improve.
In the early morning hours of April 28, as portions of the city still simmered after a night of rioting and looting, police commanders were sent an email outlining their assignments for the day — and the department's list of priorities.
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.
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."
The rioting that followed the death of Freddie Gray was "preventable," but the police response was hindered by a leadership that was concerned with image over safety, the city police union charged in a report released Wednesday.
Baltimore police commanders acknowledge that they ordered officers not to engage rioters multiple times on the day of Freddie Gray's funeral but said they did so to protect officers and citizens as they prioritized life over property.
We knew about the "purge" by first period. The students at my West Baltimore high school were being called to participate in the looting of Mondawmin Mall through social media. My 11th and 12th grade English lessons were already focused on the civil unrest, protests and the destruction of property that had taken place at Camden Yards two days prior. One student came late into class, "Oh it's on!" he said. "I'm gonna get me some new shoes."
A coalition of youth and juvenile justice advocates called on the school system Thursday to refrain from suspending or expelling teenagers who have been arrested for taking part in last week's rioting in Baltimore.
Baltimore began to move beyond unrest Sunday when Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake lifted a citywide curfew, the Maryland National Guard began withdrawing its forces and shoppers returned to Mondawmin Mall, which had been shuttered after looting.
Police officers were seriously injured in violent clashes on the streets, buildings were looted and destroyed and Gov. Larry Hogan declared a state of emergency, activating the National Guard as portions of Baltimore devolved into chaos and burned on Monday.