Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake activated an emergency headquarters, city school system warned students against violence and the Obama administration asked for calm as Baltimore waited for a verdict in the first trial of a police officer in the Freddie Gray case, the Baltimore Sun reports. Rawlings-Blake said she wants business to continue as usual but activated the Emergency Operations Center “out of an abundance of caution.” The move put representatives from the city’s police, fire, transportation, health and public works agencies in the same room, “coordinated to respond if needed,” she said.
Baltimore city schools CEO Gregory Thornton used similar language in a letter to parents, assuring them that the district is “taking every precaution” to prevent a repeat of riots that occurred in April. He warned students that “walkouts, vandalism, civil disorder, and any form of violence are not acceptable.” White House spokesman Josh Earnest urged peacefulness in Baltimore, and said the president was proud of the “forceful but peaceful display of concern” in Chicago after a video was released showing a police shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. The jury began to deliberate yesterday in the trial of officer William Porter, who is charged with involuntary manslaughter, second-degree assault, misconduct in office and reckless endangerment. Bmore Bloc, which has led marches against alleged police brutality, called for a protest if Porter is acquitted. “If Porter walks, shut it down,” the group said on social media.