Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images(BALTIMORE) — About 20 people were arrested Saturday night as dozens of people violated the 10 p.m. curfew still being enforced in Baltimore, after a day of large, peaceful demonstrations where many called for the order to be lifted.
Over 1,000 marchers gathered near North Avenue and Pennsylvania Avenue, the site of looting and rioting earlier in the week in response to the death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man who suffered a spinal injury and later died while in police custody last month.
There were no clashes with police, unlike Friday night, when police enforced the curfew and arrested nearly 40 people.
The defiance of the curfew, which was put in place Tuesday, came after prosecutors announced charges against six police officers in Gray’s death, which was ruled a homicide. The six officers connected to the case faced a range of charges including several counts of manslaughter, second-degree assault, misconduct in office and false imprisonment, Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby announced.
The most serious charge is second-degree depraved heart murder, which only Officer Caesar R. Goodson, Jr., the driver of the police van, faces.
During demonstrations Saturday, many people called for the curfew to be lifted, but Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony Batts said more time was needed to make sure that calm has been restored in the city.
“We all want to get back to normal and have the city running in the right direction,” Batts said. “We recognize the concerns over the curfew. For tonight, for everyone’s safety, we’re going to keep the curfew in place.”
State Police Colonel William Palozzi said that the decision to keep the curfew in place was made out of safety concerns.
“We just ask for patience as we move forward and continue to move in a safer direction for a safer city,” he said.
People in the crowd at the large, peaceful protest in Baltimore said the demonstration was about bigger change, beyond the issue of the six police officers charged in the Freddie Gray case. They talked about employment opportunities and about the problems that kids are finding with alternatives to crime out in the street.
People circulated through the crowds and others set up a table with voter registration cards in an effort to get people to sign up to vote. Those encouraging voter registration told people that if they registered, not only would they have the opportunity to choose future leadership but they also would have the opportunity to serve on criminal juries.
The Baltimore Police Department also used the rally Saturday as a way to do community outreach. Officers said they found that as they circulate through the crowd they can have personal contact with people who in some cases have been mistrusting in the past. In that way, some officers said, they hope to build a new relationship with this community.
Although many people called the demonstration a “victory rally,” at least one Baltimore resident said that may be premature.
“I feel like it ain’t over yet,” Baltimore resident Brian Watts said. “We’ve still got a lot — a lot to go.”
Read More →
Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.