In Baltimore, Curfew Met with Little Resistance


The streets of Baltimore were relatively calm Tuesday night as thousands of police officers and National Guard troops enforced a new 10 p.m. curfew, one day after riots rocked the city.

The weeklong curfew was met with some resistance at first, reports The Baltimore Sun. The paper reports that a “small, defiant group of people” faced off with police in riot gear after the curfew went into effect, a few throwing rocks, bottles and smoke canisters toward police, who shot black pepper pellets at the crowd.

The conflict resulted in 10 arrests, said Police Commissioner Anthony Batts.

At the intersection where the conflict occurred, the corner of Pennsylvania and W. North avenues, television reporters and activists noted that after the curfew there may have been more media than protesters present.

Earlier in the day, there was a series of mostly-peaceful protests related to the death of Freddie Gray, who died on April 19, one week after suffering injuries to his spine while in a police van. He had been arrested for possessing a switchblade.

On Tuesday, many Baltimore residents began cleaning up from the previous night's riots. Popular local news blog Baltimore Brew wrote that for locals it was “a time to grieve; for global media, a sideshow.”

Throughout the day, there was a lot of finger pointing. Police blamed gangs, who held a press conference with local leaders to deny that claim. Members of the historically feuding Bloods and Crips said they called a truce to prevent disorder, not encourage it.

Politico reports that Democratic presidential contender Martin O'Malley cut short a European trip to return to the city where he served as mayor from 1999 to 2007. But the former Maryland governor faced tough questions while he toured the city, Politico reports, as activists pointed to O'Malley's “zero tolerance” policing strategy as a factor that contributed to the city's simmering discontent.

Meanwhile, The Washington Post reports that Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake are navigating delicate tensions. Hogan “reverted to shifting responsibility to Rawlings-Blake when reporters asked why he did not summon National Guard troops sooner,” the paper reports.

Rawlings-Blake was forced to play multiple roles overseeing the city's police force while showing empathy for residents infuriated by the death of Freddie Gray, who was injured while in police custody.

On Tuesday, the mayor repeated her defense of her administration's handling of the rioting. “We responded quickly to a very difficult situation,” the mayor said. “There is a delicate balancing act to respond but not over-respond.”

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