Baltimore continues with curfew as other cities join protest
N.Y., Boston, Washington join Baltimore in protesting police brutality
Protesters marched against police violence in cities from New York to Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, as troops stood by in Baltimore to enforce a curfew imposed after civil unrest over the death of a 25-year-old black man.
The marches were the latest in a string of demonstrations against racial profiling and police use of lethal force sparked by the deaths of unarmed African-American men in Cleveland; Ferguson, Mo.; New York and elsewhere in the past year.
Protesters in the mostly black city of Baltimore sought answers about the fate of Freddie Gray, who died after suffering spinal injuries while in police custody. Police are due on Friday to give their findings on Gray's death to prosecutors but they have said no information will be made public.
The Washington Post late Wednesday said it had obtained a police document in which a prisoner being transported with Gray said he was "banging against the walls" of a police van and "was intentionally trying to injure himself."
The prisoner, who is currently in jail, was separated from Gray by a metal partition and could not see him, the paper said.
The prisoner's account was contained in an application for a search warrant that was sealed by the court, the Post said. The prisoner, who is currently in jail, was separated from Gray by a metal partition and could not see him, the paper said.
The Post cautioned it was just one piece of information, and that it wasn't clear if that account was corroborated by any other information.
'Pretty big fault line'
In Baltimore, thousands of peaceful marchers converged on city hall, capping a day of calm in a city that two days earlier saw its worst rioting in decades.
"Can't stop, won't stop, put killer cops in cell blocks," chanted protesters in the biggest march in Baltimore since Gray died on April 19, a week after his arrest and injury. Some wore black T-shirts that said "Black Lives Matter" — which has become the slogan of a movement against police brutality.
Many of the protesters were college students, and a good portion were white.
A soldier was videotaping student protests, a police officer wisely told him to leave <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Baltimore?src=hash">#Baltimore</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/cbc?src=hash">#cbc</a> <a href="http://t.co/3rEBlYih5k">pic.twitter.com/3rEBlYih5k</a>—@cbcsteve
Jacob Kinder, a student at Goucher University in nearby Towson, Md., said Gray's death and the subsequent protests and riots have been a big topic all week on campus.
"I think there's a pretty big fault line between students who think that the protests are justified and the riots are justified and people who don't see race as a problem," Kinder said.
"This is for everyone who died wrongly at the hands of police," said Noy Brown-Frisby, a 35-year-old hairstylist who attended Wednesday's march with her young daughter.
But she recognized that high crime in the city of 620,000 people complicates relations with the police.
"There is so much tension. The crime is so high that when there is interaction between police and the community it becomes volatile," she said.
Report into Gray death won't be made public
Republican Governor Larry Hogan said protesters must respect the nighttime curfew, and that troops would not tolerate looting or rioting. Nineteen buildings and dozens of cars burned in Baltimore on Monday in a spasm of violence. Numerous stores were looted that day, and 20 officers were hurt by rioters throwing stones and bricks.
"I think they're extremely courageous," he said of the officers patrolling city streets. "And I think they've been standing tall."
Honored and blessed to stand with the family of Freddie Gray to call for justice and for peace. We are <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/OneBaltimore?src=hash">#OneBaltimore</a> <a href="http://t.co/tv8ER13Lpw">pic.twitter.com/tv8ER13Lpw</a>—@MayorSRB
In New York City's Union Square, helicopters hovered overhead as tensions rose between police and protesters who chanted "black man, no justice." Officials told protesters they could not get off the sidewalk, and arrested a few people who tried to march into the street.
Loud protesters also gathered in Times Square then moved north, blocking traffic on Seventh Avenue.
"The best (outcome) would be one where the officers were disciplined and officials realized what happened and owned up to their wrongdoing," said Larry Little, 22, a Baltimore resident who joined the march on Wednesday.
But police said on Wednesday that information would be turned over to the state's attorney's office and could not be made public because prosecutors still have to decide whether to bring charges.
The U.S. Department of Justice is conducting a separate probe into possible civil rights violations in Gray's death.
Return to normalcy — sort of
With police and National Guard troops patrolling Baltimore's streets on Wednesday, schools reopened and business resumed.
Baltimore's Major League Baseball team, the Orioles, played the Chicago White Sox in an empty stadium, a sign of the tenuous security situation, but the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra played a free outside concert around lunchtime, and dozens of people gathered and sang the national anthem as the orchestra played along.
Police have arrested close to 270 people since Monday, 18 of them on Wednesday. Batts said more than 100 people had been released without being charged, because officials could not keep up with the paperwork, but he said charges would be brought later.
Lynch, sworn in as attorney general on Monday, called Baltimore's riots "senseless acts of violence" that are counterproductive to the ultimate goal of "developing a respectful conversation within the Baltimore community and across the nation about the way our law enforcement officers interact" with residents.
The Baltimore neighbourhood that saw the worst of the violence was already filled with many burned-out buildings and vacant lots that had not been rebuilt since the 1968 riots that followed the assassination of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.
With files from CBC News, The Associated Press