US City under Curfew, Tensions Escalate over Black Teen’s Death
The mayor of Baltimore had announced to place the US city under curfew from Tuesday night after protests turned violent in the wake of an African-American’s death in police custody.
The Mayor declared a curfew across the city starting Tuesday and for the next week, from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. for adults and 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. for children aged 14 and younger.
Moreover, she drew a distinction between peaceful protesters and “thugs” she said engaged in rioting Monday intend on “destroying our city.”
“This preliminary curfew will last for one week and be extended as it is necessary,” she added.
At Rawlings-Blake’s request, Gov. Larry Hogan signed an executive order declaring a state of emergency and activating the Maryland National Guard.
However, the order did not affect citizens’ rights, but was required to activate the Guard and authorize federal assistance, Hogan spokeswoman Erin Montgomery said. It is not “martial law,” Maryland National Guard Adjutant General Linda Singh said.
The governor was sending 500 state troopers to Baltimore and requesting as many as 5,000 officers from neighboring states, he said in a press conference.
In addition, Baltimore police chief Col. Darryl DeSousa declared that 15 police officers were injured in a clash with school-age children that began around 3 p.m. and two remain hospitalized. He added that police had arrested 27 people.
Though, 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.
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.
Nonetheless, rioting erupted soon after Gray was buried — possibly spurred by a cryptic social media message declaring an after-school “purge,” street slang for random acts of lawlessness.
The tragic incident was just one of a succession of fatal police brutalities in recent months as large-scale protests were held across the US after a series of high-profile incidents of white police officers killing unarmed African-American men.