Baltimore Protesters Promise to ‘Shut Down’ The City, Turn to Violence

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky
AP Photo/Patrick Semansky
Baltimore, MD

Since early last week protests over a man who died in police custody have continued in Baltimore, and even as the media keeps reporting that they have been “peaceful,” there has been violence. On Saturday that violence grew.

Protests briefly grew violent on both Thursday and Friday as police tried to arrest several demonstrators who got out of hand. Earlier in the week authorities became so worried over the rallies that by Friday Maryland’s Governor, Larry Hogan, had sent in 35 state troopers to help with crowd control.

The protesters have been criticizing police for the death of Freddie Gray, who died on April 19 from an injury suffered seven days earlier when police arrested him on a weapons charge.

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 claim that police “murdered” Gray, and they have been organizing protests since Monday.

By Saturday morning protesters were getting bolder and more vocal, with some saying the were going to “shut the city down” by stopping traffic downtown.

“Things will change on Saturday, and the struggle will be amplified,” Malik Shabazz of Black Lawyers for Justice threatened. “It cannot be business as usual with that man’s spine broken, with his back broken, with no justice on the scene.”

By Saturday afternoon, protesters advanced from brief scuffles with police and tough talk to outright violence when protesters descended upon the Camden Yards baseball stadium just before the Orioles game was to start.

“Protesters are now breaking windows and throwing items at us,” the Baltimore police department reported on Twitter. “We are asking everyone to remain peaceful.”

The protests don’t seem to be ending any time soon, and with Saturday’s evidence they are getting worse.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at