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Live updates: Protests in Baltimore

April 29, 2015
People walk by the Maryland National Guard along Pennsylvania Avenue, two days after it was looted and set ablaze in protest for the death of 25-year-old black man Freddie Gray who died in police custody in Baltimore, Maryland

People walk past the Maryland National Guard in Baltimore on Monday night. (Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)


There has been no repeat of Monday’s violence, in which dozens of people pelted police with rocks and bottles, looted several stores and set things ablaze. Tuesday’s protests were mostly peaceful ahead of a 10 p.m. curfew, then calm returned the streets on Wednesday.

Photos of protests | Video of Baltimore riots | Video: Curfew descends

  • Matthew Zapotosky
  • ·

Just before 10:30 p.m., with almost no one but reporters remaining, U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings declared the night a successful one for Baltimore.

“We are very proud of what happened tonight,” he said. “We are very, very proud of our folks.”

Appearing with state senator Catherine Pugh and Baltimore councilman Nick Mosby, Cummings sought to assure residents that leaders were focused on the Freddie Gray case and the broader issues that it has brought to light. Of Gray, he said that there are two federal investigations, and he is confident in how the attorney general is handling the matter.

“We will never let that issue die until it’s fully resolved,” he said.  Later, he said it was “questionable as to whether” Gray should have been stopped by police, and he alleged that Gray asked for medical attention that he did not get.

Cummings said that the relationship between the African-American community and the police was “the civil rights issue, along with voting rights” of this generation.

Pugh said of the night: “We showed the nation that Baltimore can protect in peace.” She noted that a fist fight that broke out was between two brothers, one who wanted to go home and one who wanted to go elsewhere.

Pugh, too, promised she would “not rest” until a full investigation into Gray’s death was completed, and she promised to put money into west Baltimore to improve life for residents there.

Mosby said the issues facing Baltimore were not unique, but promised of his city: “We’ll get back to normalcy.”

  • Mark Berman
  • ·

Protests cropped up in other cities across the country Wednesday as a show of support for the demonstrations in Baltimore over the death of Freddie Gray.

Read about the demonstrations nationwide on Post Nation.

  • Matthew Zapotosky
  • ·

The crowd, except for members of the media, has almost completely dissipated, though dozens of reporters are still milling about the intersection.

After a few moments of drama — a fist fight, a march that ran into a police line, a mysterious pop and some smoke near the library — U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings grabbed a bullhorn and marched around the intersection, saying repeatedly, “Let’s go home.”

The scene then was almost comical. Cummings, who had earlier stood in a crowd of dozens of people to talk about the impending curfew, was now being chased by almost exclusively reporters and cameramen.

Lines of riot police formed on North Avenue on both sides of Pennsylvania, but they never moved. Even when there was a pop and smoke, a single uniformed officer moved to inspect.

  • Matthew Zapotosky
  • ·

Minutes before the beginning of curfew, there was growing unease at Pennsylvania and North avenues.

Just before 9:40 p.m., U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings grabbed a megaphone and addressed the several dozen demonstrators who were lingering on the sidewalk.

“It’s about 9:38,” he said. “I don’t want anybody to be arrested. Nobody. Thank you. Let’s move on.”

Some in the crowd guffawed, and soon after, a fight broke out that spilled into the roadway. The fight quickly dissipated, and a group of men locked arms and marched down North Avenue, moving from the check-cashing business that burned toward the CVS. “Go home,” they chanted.

After only about 100 feet, they were met by a wall of armored police with riot shields. Behind them sat armored vehicles. Reporters stopped to take some photos, and the line of people moved back.

At about 9:50 p.m., they milled about in the roadway.

  • Julie Zauzmer
  • ·
  • Perry Stein
  • ·

D.C. protesters arrived at the White House from Chinatown at around 9 p.m.

During their march, protesters talked about the living wage movement in D.C., greedy politicians, gentrification, reparations and police brutality.

“Reparations now,” they chanted right before they arrived at the White House.

“All these issues are connected,” protester Gaurav Madan, 29, said. “We are trying to fix a system that prioritizes property and profits over human life.”

Organizers delivered short speeches and led more chants in front of the White House.

“Whose house? Our house,” they chanted.

  • Lynh Bui
  • ·

Saucha Robinson, a Coppin State University student, stood outside the Baltimore Central Booking and Intake Center waiting for her boyfriend. She was released from the facility at about 7 p.m. Wednesday after being detained for two days without receiving formal charges.

Robinson, 18, was one of about 100 people detained during Monday’s unrest and eventually released because police were not able to charge her within a 48-hour window.

She said she was one of the many “innocents” arrested.

“I understand what was going on out here,” Robinson said about the riots and violence.

“But it doesn’t mean that the process and paperwork should stop in [the booking center],” said another woman who was also recently released for the same reason.

Robinson said she was arrested Monday around 9 p.m. as she was on her way to school. The education student said she was near Mondawmin Mall when she saw the police making arrests and she ran from them, she said.

“My initial instinct is to run from whatever is going on,” Robinson said.

  • Clarence Williams
  • ·

The 34 D.C. police officers who were deployed in Baltimore earlier this week, including this morning, will not be patrolling in Baltimore tonight, D.C. police spokeswoman Gwendolyn Crump said.

A group of black young people asked D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser to take the city’s officers out of Baltimore earlier today. It was also one of the most frequently echoed demands during the march tonight in D.C. from Chinatown to the White House.

  • Joe Heim
  • ·

Eric Ellerbee held a megaphone and implored the protesters who gathered outside of Baltimore City Hall to continue their demonstrations after the media have moved on to the next story. “They think we’re going to go away, but we’re going to keep on going until we’re finished,” he said.

The 30-year-old lifelong Baltimore resident works as a forklift operator, and in an interview, he said, “The people of Baltimore won’t give up until there is justice.”

“Whether you wear a badge or not, if you commit a crime, you need to go to jail,” he said. “What I want for my community is respect.”

  • Perry Stein
  • ·

Hundreds of people, with assistance from D.C. Police, shut down the busy Chinatown intersection of 7th and H streets NW on Wednesday evening, protesting in solidarity with Freddie Gray and those marching in Baltimore.

“All night, all day, we’re going to fight for Freddie Gray,” they chanted.

Protesters in Chinatown (Fredrick Kunkle/The Washington Post)

Protesters in Chinatown (Fredrick Kunkle/The Washington Post)

The diverse crowd of mostly young D.C. residents carried homemade signs. Some said “Racism is the disease, revolution is the cure;” one said “White silence is violence;” and many said, “D.C. cops out of  Baltimore” — a reference to the Metropolitan Police Department personnel who are assisting in Baltimore.

“I’m out here tonight because change has to happen,” said Sherita Sweeney, 30, a D.C. native who now lives in Maryland. “Sitting behind your laptop, tablet or cellphone complaining — you’re part of the problem, not the solution.”

At about 7:40 pm, protesters began marching west on H Street behind banners for the Black Power National Black United Front and “Stop Racist Police Terror,” with the sound of Public Enemy’s “Fight the Power” playing on a loudspeaker.

-Fredrick Kunkle contributed reporting.

  • Julie Zauzmer
  • ·

Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony W. Batts did not say what the charges were, but he said 16 adults and 2 juveniles were arrested in Baltimore today, as of about two hours before the 10 p.m. curfew tonight.

He also said that police would consider prosecuting at a later date the people who were arrested on Monday and released without being charged this afternoon. “We’re not giving up on them. We’re just going to follow up,” he said.

At the press conference, he held up a rock to show the sort of objects that have been thrown at police this week. He also said that police found an “inert device” at the intersection of North and Pennsylvania avenues.

Wednesday has been mostly calm, he affirmed. He described the large march to City Hall as “extremely peaceful” and said he did not expect a problem enforcing curfew tonight.

  • Fredrick Kunkle
  • ·

A few hundred people gathered peacefully in protest against police brutality about 7 p.m. under the Chinatown gate in the District. Several speakers climbed into the back of a pickup in the middle of the intersection at 7th and H streets NW to address the crowd. People waved signs such as “Stop the War on Black America” and “‘Business As Usual’ Kills Black Americans.”

“This isn’t a riot, it’s an uprising,” said Eugene Puryear, a protest organizer with the group DCFerguson.

“I’m just frustrated and heartbroken about what’s going on,” said Olivia Byrd, 26, a Howard University student from Sacramento, Calif. “One of the things that needs to change is these police officers should be held accountable for their actions. How do we trust our justice system if it keeps allowing this to happen?”

  • Josh Hicks
  • ·

Gov. Larry Hogan on Wednesday pleaded with Baltimore residents for “another quiet night” and promised that every state agency is working to help the city recover from Monday’s riots.

Maryland State Police Col. William Pallozi and National Guard Gen. Linda Singh echoed Hogan’s remarks during a joint news conference at the Fifth Regiment Armory in Baltimore.

Singh said her troops are “ready to stand tall and make sure we are taking care of our city.”

Hogan said about 2,000 National Guard personnel and roughly 1,000 state and local police are in place to keep the peace in Baltimore.

“This combined force will not tolerate the violence or looting which has led to the destruction of property and put innocent Marylanders at risk,” he said.

Hogan also discussed his visit to Baltimore’s Sandtown neighborhood, saying he was “encouraged by the optimism and the amount of people helping out there.”

He acknowledged that the riots are still taking an economic toll, despite Tuesday’s relative calm.

“We’re losing dollars every day,” he said. “People are afraid to come into the city, and businesses are still closed.”

He added that his wife, Yumi, will meet with Korean-American owners of two businesses that were destroyed during the riots. The first lady is also Korean-American.

“We’re going to get back to that Baltimore that we all love,” he said.

  • Lynh Bui
  • ·

By about 6 p.m. Wednesday, many of the people who were scheduled to appear before a judge at the John R. Hargrove Sr. District Court building in Baltimore had made it through the churn of bond review hearings. Others were set for release after they managed to post bail on their own.

The quiet court hallways Wednesday evening stood in stark contrast to the activity this morning.

With an overwhelming number of arrests during Monday’s riots, the public defenders office scrambled to find representation for those still detained. Public defenders from other jurisdictions and private defense attorneys volunteered to help, with some racing to Central Booking at 7:30 a.m. to interview clients and prepare them for their hearings before rushing to court.

By the end of the day, the onslaught of stories from arrestees turned into a blur of similar circumstances. Men accused of filling bags with bottles from liquor stores. Women who said they were not at looted shops to steal but to track down their children amid the chaos. And alleged rioters who said they were on their way home but “at the wrong place at the wrong time.”

Through the back-to-back hearings, judges, prosecutors and public defenders argued: Should the court set bails high to prevent a repeat of Monday’s brick-throwing and window-smashing? Or should the court release people who were simply being opportunistic by snatching up a pair of stray shoes on the street?

At least one teen appeared before a judge Wednesday. She was charged with malicious destruction of property and burglary on Monday. The judge let her go. It was her first arrest and she didn’t have a prior record.

“She appreciates that so she can go back to high school,” said her public defender.

The teen, who appeared in court remotely through a television monitor, cheered and high-fived other women in the room with her after the judge said she could go.

One man was not so lucky. Accused of trying to take merchandise from a looted shop, the judge revoked his bond in one of the last cases of the day. The judge was worried the man would be a flight risk due to his extensive criminal record.

“No bail!” the handcuffed man could be heard yelling through the television screen. “What the f—?”

  • Keith L. Alexander
  • ·

Magician David Blaine said that he, along with his team of personal videographers, drove to Baltimore to “offer some nice distractions” to the people of Baltimore.

“I am not trying to resolve anything. I just want to be here, to let people know we care and to see people smile for a moment,” he said.

He performed several card tricks for guys wearing blue bandanas over their faces, with 40-oz. bottles of malt liquor at their feet.

One man, Al, wrote his name on an ace of spades and slid it in the middle of the deck. Blaine shuffled the cards. Al took the first card off the deck. It was his. The only card with his signature. “Damn,” Al said.

  • Rachel Weiner
  • ·

Baltimore City employees working at a municipal building along the protesters’ route to City Hall came down to watch and support the marchers, one of whom handed them flowers.

“To see this unity…it portrays to the world that what you see on TV is not what Baltimore is about,” said Jeanette Walker, one of the city employees. “To see these young people, and they understand what they’re here for.”

City employees show their support. (Rachel Weiner/The Washington Post)

City employees show their support. (Rachel Weiner/The Washington Post)

  • Julie Zauzmer
  • ·

In New York City and Boston, crowds are demonstrating tonight to protest Freddie Gray’s death. Protesters are planning to gather in Washington as well at 7:30 p.m. at the Gallery Place Metro station. They plan to march to the White House.

Here are some images of the gathering in New York:

And in Boston:

  • Matthew Zapotosky
  • ·
David Blaine entertains onlookers with card tricks near the center of unrest in Baltimore. (Matthew Zapotosky/The Washington Post)

David Blaine entertains onlookers with card tricks near the center of unrest in Baltimore. (Matthew Zapotosky/The Washington Post)

At a playground very near the intersection of Pennsylvania and North avenues, the famed magician David Blaine has attracted a crowd of about a dozen youths with some card magic.

His first trick only had about three watchers (including this reporter), but it was a good one. Pick a card. Watch multiple shuffles. Take a picture with the deck facing away from you. Your card shows up in the picture.

The shocked squeals more than quadrupled his audience.

Certainly he’s not going to make civil unrest or police misconduct disappear, but he’s giving a group of kids a happy diversion. Said one: “I watch your show all the time. I still can’t figure out what you do.”

  • Rachel Weiner
  • ·

Katrina Bell McDonald, a sociology professor at Johns Hopkins University, was shaking hands with a few of the police officers scattered along the protest marchers’ route. “The police have been pretty amazing, actually,” she said. The officer in charge of leading the group is a Johns Hopkins alumnus, she said, and told her he was proud to do it. “They’re just letting it be,” she said.

She is the faculty adviser to the black students union, which helped organize the march. She estimated the crowd to number thousands of people.

  • Rachel Weiner
  • ·

Protesters are marching from Penn Station to City Hall, chanting, “Tell the truth and stop the lies. Freddie Gray didn’t have to die.” The crowd stretches several city blocks.

Rachel Weiner/The Washington Post

Rachel Weiner/The Washington Post

Dee Collins was taking her two sons, 9-year-old Leke and 8-year-old Goje, to a Family League meeting near Penn Station about school closings. But they stopped to check out the protest march that was forming. Her sons were running around counting helicopters and news cameras.

“A lot of this problem has to do with schools,” she said, noting that the rioting started with kids who had to take buses to get to class. Her kids’ school, Arlington Elementary, is closing its middle school component, and she said several nearby schools are already closed.

“It’s beautiful,” she said of the racially diverse group of marchers. “It’s very important that people from all cross-sections come together so people understand it’s not acceptable, police brutality.”

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