Clashes erupt after funeral of black man who died in Baltimore police custody
Street clashes between police and civil rights protesters have erupted in the US city of Baltimore after the funeral of an African-American man who died last week in police custody after officers broke his spine.
The Baltimore Police Department announced on Monday afternoon that protesters pelted police with rocks and plastic bottles.
It added that at least seven police officers were wounded and one of them was “unresponsive”.
The officer was speaking as crowd attacked baton-wielding police with bricks and bottles and damaged at least one patrol vehicle, the department said.
The Baltimore Police Department called on state troopers for back-up, and a local university suspended classes amid rumors of more serious violence to come.
Violence broke out after the funeral of 25-year-old Freddie Gray, who died of severe spinal injuries on April 19, a week after he was arrested and detained by Baltimore police.
The tragic incident, which was captured by an eyewitness on his cell phone, shows an injured Gray being dragged into a van by police officers.
Gray’s death in police custody sparked protests over the weekend in the largely black city, and there had already been a large number of arrests and several police injuries before the latest incident of violence.
The demonstrators were carrying placards bearing the message “Black Lives Matter” and “Justice 4 Freddie Gray”.
They also chanted slogans against racial discrimination and police brutality in the United States, with many shouting “No Justice No Peace,” which has become a centerpiece of the persisting protests over the past week.
Police put out a fire caused by a teargas canister on April 27, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. (AFP photo)
The tragic incident was just one of a succession of fatal police brutalities in recent months.
In recent months, large-scale protests were held across the US after a series of high-profile incidents of white police officers killing unarmed African-American men, including Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri; Eric Garner in Staten Island, New York and Walter Scott in North Charleston, South Carolina.