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State of emergency declared after riots break out in Baltimore


Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) declared a state of emergency and activated the state’s National Guard in response to the violent unrest and rioting that is gripping the streets of Baltimore.

“People have the right to protest and express their frustration,” Hogan said at a press conference Monday evening. “But Baltimore City families deserve peace and safety in their communities.”

Protests turned violent on Monday after the funeral for Freddie Gray, a black man who died after suffering an injury in West Baltimore police custody. By midnight, authorities said that they believed the situation in the city was de-escalating.

{mosads}“I think for the vast majority the city is calming itself down slowly but surely,” said Police Commissioner Anthony Batts.

He acknowledged that at times, police were “outnumbered” on Monday.

“What you saw tonight is that we were pulled so thin,” he said.

Officers were reportedly hit with bottles and rocks on Monday, and responded with tear gas as the violence escalated. Police officials said 15 officers have been hospitalized, most with minor injuries, and 27 people have been arrested.

The violence took place in West Baltimore and the city’s downtown, according to The Baltimore Sun.

Television footage of Baltimore caught images of multiple police vehicles on fire, and there were reports of looting. The violence prompted the Baltimore Orioles to call off an evening game against the Chicago White Sox, and Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake (D) imposed a curfew that will begin Tuesday night.

Baltimore City Public Schools also announced that they would be closed on Tuesday.

Robberies of businesses continued into the night, the Sun reported, and police said that shots had been fired at an officer in the northwest section of the city but that no one had been hurt.

“There is a significant difference between protesting and violence and those committing these acts will be prosecuted under the fullest extent of the law,” Hogan said in a statement earlier Monday.

“My thoughts and prayers go out to the men and women in uniform who are actively working to stem this violence and several who’ve been injured in the line of duty,” the governor said.

Earlier Monday, Attorney General Loretta Lynch briefed President Obama on the situation in Baltimore and said she “stands ready to provide any assistance that might be helpful there,” the White House said in a statement.

Lynch said Monday night that the Department of Justice will send two officials to Baltimore.

Vanita Gupta, who heads the Civil Rights Division, and Director of Community Oriented Policing Services Ronald Davis “will be traveling to Baltimore to meet with faith and community leaders, as well as city officials,” Lynch said in a statement.

Obama also spoke with Rawlings-Blake and told her the federal government is ready to provide “assistance as needed.”

Rawlings-Blake on Monday evening declared  a citywide curfew in Baltimore that will go into effect starting Tuesday at 10 p.m. The curfew will remain in place for a week and be extended as necessary, she said.

Between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m., citizens will be ordered to remain off the street unless it’s a “medical emergency or you are going to work,” the mayor said.

Rawlings-Blake, who referred to the rioters as “thugs,” said the city was “deploying every resource possible to gain control of this situation and to ensure peace moving forward.”

Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) issued a statement condemning the attacks.

“I am fully committed to seeking justice for the death of Freddie Gray and support the efforts of thousands of Baltimoreans who have participated in non-violent protests and raised their voices in his memory,” Cardin said.

“We need to know the full circumstances of his death and hold accountable those culpable. But the looting, vandalism and violence we are seeing across our city — exploiting the memory of Freddie Gray — need to stop.”

Former Gov. Martin O’Malley (D), who is considering running for president, said he would return from a trip to Europe in light of the events in Baltimore, where he was once the mayor.

“I’m saddened that the city I love is in such pain this night. All of us share a profound feeling of grief for Freddie Gray and his family,” O’Malley said in a statement to the Sun. “We must come together as one city to transform this moment of loss and pain into a safer and more just future for all of Baltimore’s people.”

Democratic candidate for president Hillary Clinton tweeted that Gray’s “death is a tragedy that demands answers” and said that she was hoping for “peace [and] safety” in the city.

The protests and clashes with police have heightened tensions in Baltimore surrounding the death of Gray, who was arrested and sustained a severe spinal injury on April 12.

Police said in a report of the arrest that Gray was taken into custody “without force or incident.” Six officers have been suspended in connection to the case.

Baltimore police have warned of a “credible threat” to law enforcement over the Gray case and said three gangs had “entered into a partnership to ‘take-out’ law enforcement officers.”

Residents have also expressed anger over the way that police officers in the city treat minority communities more broadly.

— Last updated at 12:10 a.m. on Tuesday, April 28.

Tags Baltimore Freddie Gray Larry Hogan

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