Maryland Governor Larry Hogan sent a group of 32 state troopers with expertise in crowd control to Baltimore as protests over the death of Freddie Gray have continued to roil the state’s largest city.
“There’s raw emotions. People legitimately have concerns, and the community is out in force protesting,” Gov. Hogan said. “I want to thank the folks involved in that. So far it has been peaceful. We want to try to keep things under control. The last thing we need is more violence in Baltimore City.”
All week, protests have vexed the city after Baltimore resident Freddie Gray died on April 19 from an injury suffered seven days earlier when police arrested him on a weapons charge.
Protesters are most alarmed by claims that Gray was arrested without force on April 12 but emerged from a police transport van unable to breathe or talk. Police say it is unknown how Gray suffered a spinal cord injury while in transit.
Protesters have insisted that police “murdered” Gray, and they have been organizing protests since Monday. They are targeting the six officers identified as part of the team who arrested Gray and are demanding that the officers be arrested and charged with murder.
But police union President Gene Ryan is warning that the protests are turning into a “lynch mob.”
“They are calling for the immediate imprisonment of these officers without them ever receiving the due process that is the constitutional right of every citizen, including law enforcement officers,” the union chief said in the statement.
Many news outlets have painted the protests as “peaceful,” but by Thursday evening, police endured a cascade of objects thrown at them as they arrested several protesters who turned violent.
Protesters briefly turned violent on Wednesday, as well, when they objected to arrests being made.
So far, one officer has been suspended pending an investigation in connection with Freddie Gray’s death.
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