As high school students were dismissed from school Monday afternoon in Baltimore, a violent and aggressive protest broke out in the streets, resulting in at least seven police officers being injured.
Referencing the afternoon protests, Maryland Criminal Defense attorney Kush Arora tells Breitbart News, “There have been reports over the weekend that these protests got violent and with violence comes a possibility of felony charges.”
Arora, who has ten years of experience as a criminal attorney, explained that simple assault charges can be a misdemeanor offense, but if a weapon is used or someone is injured, it can rise to felony charges.
“For the most part what we are talking about here is disorderly conduct – failure to obey an officer’s orders – things that are usually seen as misdemeanors,” Arora tells Breitbart News.
He added that if there is violence against police officers, the state must prove the police officer suffered an injury for a felony to be charged under Maryland law.
Gangs in Baltimore had threatened to attack police officers following the funeral Monday afternoon of Freddie Gray, who died earlier this month while he was in police custody.
On the streets, a group of juveniles were blocking traffic and throwing rocks at police officers.
“It’s a group of lawless individuals,” Baltimore Police Capt. Eric Kowalczyk said. “What we know is that they are a group of criminals with no regard for the people in the community.”
Police at the press conference also promised to put the criminals in jail.
“I think that it’s impossible to prepare for something like this,” Arora explained about the city preparations. “We sort of find out information really late as the general public and I think that’s what angers people more, as they are kind of learning about the situation and understanding it.”
Arora added that speculation can lead to mistrust of the authority figures that they may be protecting their own by not giving the public available information.
“I don’t think the city has done enough to be transparent,” Arora added.
Steve Klein, an attorney from the Pillar of Law Institute, also discussed the violence with Breitbart News. “Baltimore residents–including kids–can protest publicly and loudly. They can even do or say very offensive things when they protest, and the police cannot stop them,” Klein said to Breitbart News. “But protesters can’t hurt people or destroy public or other people’s private property.”
Klein went on to say there is a difference between a protest and a riot adding, “it’s not a civil rights issue when the police arrest participants for throwing rocks, even if those people are motivated by a strong sense of injustice.”